19 September 2016
A picture of Kent festival to shine a light on mental health

A festival to help raise awareness about mental health and well-being is being held in Kent.

The Kent Mental Health Festival, which runs from 11am to 4pm on Tuesday 11 October, at Folkestone’s Leas Cliff Hall, will play host to stalls from mental health charities, organisations and other agencies.

Organisations taking part include Sanctuary Supported Living (SSL), Mind, Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust (KMPT), Porchlight, Shaw Trust and Speak Up CIC, among dozens of others.

Workshops and talks at the festival, which has no entry fee and is open to all, will cover subjects from mental health well-being for schoolchildren to mindfulness sessions.

The Live It Library will be on hand to give people the opportunity to tell their own mental health story on camera in a secure, friendly environment, which will then be edited and put online. Slots to record a story are limited and advance booking is encouraged.

A number of activities such as face painting, raffles and tombolas will be on offer during the day, with proceeds being donated to the county’s mental health crisis cafés.

The cafés are open at weekends and offer people support during mental health crisis episodes in a friendly setting, at a time when other services will be closed.

More than 30 agencies have already confirmed their involvement and attendance for the event, but slots are still open for organisations to host their own stall or provide sponsorship.

SSL local service manager Jo Miller heads up the working group of organisations that have worked together to prepare the event.

She said: “With one in four people experiencing a mental health problem every year and an ever-increasing focus on how to tackle the issue among politicians, celebrities and the media, there has never been a better time to talk about mental health.

“The Kent Mental Health Festival is about removing the stigma, showing people they are not alone and that there is support out there, should they need it, as well as helping everyone, regardless of background, to manage their mental well-being.

“We’d encourage everyone to come along, see what’s on offer and learn about the great strides being made to tackle this most pressing of issues.”

For more information on getting involved with the festival or to enquire about filming your own story in the Live It Library, email kentmentalhealthfestival@sanctuary-housing.co.uk

To book a stall, download a booking form from the Live It Well website and return it to the email address above.

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