Local support for World Mental Health Day

Published October 10, 2016 at 14:53

Blackburn with Darwen Council is supporting World Mental Health Day, taking place on Monday October 10.

Organised by the World Health Organisation, the theme for this year’s day is ‘psychological first aid and the support people can provide to those in distress.’

A host of events and activities are being organised locally around the day to raise awareness of mental health and the support available locally.

The Mall Blackburn is hosting a ‘Happiness Stop’ in association with Lancashire Mind from 8am-6pm on World Mental Health Day. Drop in to connect and share what makes you happy, find out how being active moves your mood, take notice and check your happiness levels and learn tips and support to boost your wellbeing.

In Witton Park, volunteers have been knitting and crocheting 20cm squares or flowers to transform a set of artwork in the park into colourful creations.

The Your Support Your Choice store in Blackburn Town Centre will be hosting a few sessions linked to improved physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. From 9.30am-5pm, the Community Wellbeing Service will be available to talk through emotional support and talking therapies; the Disability Information Service will have information for those affected by disability from 12pm-2pm and from 1-3pm you can find out how to improve your quality of life and social and emotional wellbeing through volunteering.

Locally the Wellbeing Service is crucial to signposting local residents to support on a range of issues including mental health and an online resource – Big White Wall – provides 24/7 peer and professional support with a supportive community, information and self-help resources and trained counsellors online at all times. Access is easy, simply go to www.bigwhitewall.com and enter your postcode.

The nationally-recognised ‘fiveways to wellbeing’ (be active, take notice, keep learning, connect, give) also provide practical steps to take to improve mental health.

Locally you could get some natural daylight and fresh air with a lunchtime walk in one of the borough’s parks; take advantage of the leisure available in Blackburn with Darwen with a beeZ card; help others through volunteering whether it be through official channels or just helping your next-door neighbour or elderly people along your street.  You could also learn a new skill or take up a hobby – Blackburn with Darwen’s libraries are a great source of information to help you learn more; or get a head start on your New Year’s resolution as there’s plenty of support available to help you quit smoking or lose weight among other things.

Councillor Brian Taylor, Assistant Executive Member for Health and Adult Social Care and mental health champion, said:

It’s brilliant to see so many events going on to raise awareness of mental health throughout the day and beyond. There are lots of support services available across Blackburn with Darwen for people living with mental health issues and it is important to showcase these in case any of our residents ever need them.

Dr Chris Clayton, Clinical Chief Officer at NHS Blackburn with Darwen, added:

Just like physical illness, early diagnosis is really important in the treatment of mental illness, so don’t ignore something you think might be an issue. Your GP practice is the front door to many other services and if you think you might have a problem, even if you’re unsure, you should book an appointment. Very often, people talk themselves out of going to see a doctor, and this is the opposite of what is needed.

Residents can contact Wellbeing Service staff direct at: (01254) 682037,www.refreshbwd.com/change or wellbeing@blackburn.gov.uk and GPs can also refer people in to the service.

To access the help available, you just need to be over 16 and live, work or have a GP in Blackburn with Darwen.