Peace candle lighting launches Worthing Mental Health Awareness Week

The launch of Worthing Mental Health Awareness Week at Offington Park Methodist Church. Picture: Kate Shemilt ks180492-1
The launch of Worthing Mental Health Awareness Week at Offington Park Methodist Church. Picture: Kate Shemilt ks180492-1

More than 100 people attending the launch of Worthing Mental Health Awareness Week.

Offington Park Methodist Church, in South Farm Road, is the ‘information centre’ for the week, with lots of interesting displays from charities, organisations and groups.

Worthing mayor Paul Baker lit a peace candle there yesterday morning to set the ball rolling, along with Val Turner, Worthing Borough Council’s executive member for health and wellbeing, the mayor’s chaplain the Rev Gaz Daly and the week’s co-founder Bob Smytherman, acting as master of ceremonies.

A talk on supporting carers in the Armed Forces community followed, with support and outreach worker Steve Hinton leading this year’s key note presentation.

The aim of the week, which runs until Saturday, is to challenge the stigma around mental health and provide good-quality information in a safe and non-judgemental environment.

Mr Smytherman said: “This year, we have more than 60 local organisations, charities and groups who will have displays in the ‘information centre’ and there will be a variety of workshops and talks designed to promote positive mental health throughout the week.”

Activities today and Friday include ways of promoting self-care and emotional resilience, and the opportunity to paint pebbles as part of Coastal West Sussex Mind’s anti stigma campaign, West Sussex Rocks.

The week will once again conclude with a free charity concert, tomorrow at 7.30pm, with a retiring collection in aid of Coastal West Sussex Mind.

Worthing Mental Health Awareness Week is now in its sixth year, with a new website, thanks to a crowdfunding campaign.

Mr Smytherman explained: “Gifts in kind were recognised by the Worthing County Local Committee, who then generously awarded a grant to cover the cost of the website. It is the first grant in the Worthing area to be awarded under West Sussex County Council’s new funding scheme.

“The website was designed by Worthing website creator Stacey Church from Lime Pixel who has worked tirelessly in order to get the website up and running in time for the annual Worthing Mental Health Awareness Week, which coincides with World Mental Health Day on October 10.”

Visit www.worthingmentalhealthweek.co.uk for the 2018 programme.

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