Around 200 people turned out for a Shepway street party to support World Mental Awareness Week.
The What’s Normal? Shepway Mental Health Awareness event, which leading supported housing provider Sanctuary Carr-Gomm helped to organise, sawRendezvous Street in Folkestone, Kent transformed into a bustling haven of fun and festivities.
The event, which took place last Thursday, was held to give people with an interest in mental health issues the opportunity to speak to expert providers of mental health services. It was organised by the Shepway Local Planning and Monitoring Group, an organisation made up of statutory and voluntary agencies which support people with mental health needs.
Gary Lashko, Sanctuary Carr-Gomm’s Director of Supported Living said: “We were delighted to welcome the whole of the Shepway community to join forces to raise awareness of mental health and break down some of the barriers and stigma attached to mental health issues.
“The day had a serious message, with plenty of information on hand for people who were concerned about their own or a loved one’s mental health and wanted to find out more about the help available to them. There was also fun for all the family with live music and other entertainment.”
Folkestone’s Town Mayor, Councillor Mayor Tom McNeice, who officially opened the event said: “I would like to thank everybody who was involved in making Shepway Mental Health Awareness Day such a success.
“It was great to see the whole community come together and help challenge the stigma associated with mental illness. By breaking down the barriers we hope more people who are worried about their mental health, feel able to ask for help if they need it.”
The event, held in partnership with NHS Eastern and Coastal Kent, Signpost Kent, and Mental Health Matters, with funding from Kent County Council, started with live entertainment from DJ Lucci. There was also music from well-known local bands including Liquid Jacket, James Kirby and Alan Lawrence and the Singing for Health group, as well as face painting, hair braiding and charity stalls, including four legged friends from The Kent Greyhound Rescue Trust.
There were talks in The Home Ground on The Old High Street on issues surrounding mental health and the pathways back into employment.
Sanctuary Carr-Gomm would like to thank Folkestone Town Centre Management for enabling it to use this area of Shepway for the event and also the Creative Foundation for the loan of the stalls, John Parry from Moda in Rendezvous Street, Emily Hartridge in The Home Ground, Keith Holland from Googies in Rendezvous Street and Sheila Baynham from Rainbow Bridge Crystal in The Old High Street and the Talking Truck Company who all supported the event.
Organised by the Mental Health Foundation, World Mental Health Day is an international campaign for mental health awareness and aims to promote greater public understanding of mental health and mental illness.