Worthing Mental Health Awareness Week hailed a success

Worthing Mental Health Awareness Week continues to grow and organisers have been delighted with the turnout this year.

Thursday, 25th October 2018, 2:01 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th October 2018, 2:05 pm
The launch of Worthing Mental Health Awareness Week, which was attended by the Royal Navy Combined Cadet Force at Northbrook MET

Nearly 700 people attended the various activities held at Offington Park Methodist Church from October 8 to 12.

This sixth annual awareness week has been hailed a success by the organisers, stand holders and visitors, with more than 60 groups and organisations represented, either at the ‘information centre’ or at a workshop.

Bob Smytherman, who co-founded the week, said: “I delighted to see so many people attending the various sessions, being signposted on to appropriate care and also enjoying themselves at the art, drumming, singing workshops, and also at the film night.”

The Rev Dawn Carn welcomed more than 100 people for the launch, when a peace candle was lit by the mayor’s chaplain, the Rev Gaz Daly.

Worthing mayor Paul Baker gave a moving personal speech to declare the week open and Val Turner, executive member for health and wellbeing on Worthing Borough Council, gave an update on social prescribing.

The main focus of the first morning was caring for veterans, their carers and families, with a keynote address by Steve Hinton, who launched the Worthing Veterans Drop In Centre in the summer.

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Carol Barber, organiser, said she was delighted there was so much local support for our veterans. She said it was fitting to focus on veterans, as 2018 marks 100 years since the Great War ended, and it was good to see members of the Royal Navy Combined Cadet Force at Northbrook MET attending the launch.

World Mental Health Day featured a suicide alertness training session, called safeTALK, delivered by Grassroots Suicide Prevention.

Carol was thrilled to see 34 people from all walks of life had signed up for the training, including deputy mayor Hazel Thorpe and Coastal West Sussex Mind chief executive Katie Glover.

It is Carol’s dream to see Worthing recognised as a suicide-safer community, which means having concerted, strategic approaches to suicide prevention.

Cheryl Dennis, member pioneer at The Co-Op in Broadwater, was in attendance all week and thanks to a generous donation from the store, lunch was provided on two of the days.

The week concluded with a rousing concert, organised by Karen Simporis and compered by Guild Care trustee Percy Nowell. This was attended by 132 people and the retiring collection in aid of Coastal West Sussex Mind raised £310.39. Many of the musicians chose to talk about their own experiences of mental illness during the evening.

Plans are already underway for the next Worthing Mental Health Awareness Week, which will be from October 9 to 14, 2019.