08 October 2015

Bath's Mayor and MP speak out for World Mental Health Day celebration

Bath WMHLJoin in with some free fun this Saturday 10 October as groups across Bath and North East Somerset come together with the support of the Bath's Mayor and MP to celebrate 'positive mental health and living with dignity'.

This unique celebration - which will be featured on BBC Radio Bristol at 8.40am on Saturday - takes place from 10am until 3pm at venues in Bath, Paulton, Midsomer Norton and Radstock. Taking part is free and everyone is welcome. The lives, strengths, achievements and successes of local people affected by mental health issues will be celebrated, and information and advice will be available.

The day is supported by the Mayor of Bath, Councillor Will Sandry, who has made mental wellbeing the theme of his year in office. The Mayor has spoken openly of his own battle with depression in a move to destigmatise mental illness.

He said, "Many of you will know that I have endured a torrid few years in the grips of depression. I am truly grateful for the support of medical professionals, neighbours, friends and family during that time.

"I am one of the 800 or so people in Bath and North East Somerset who in the past 24 months who were sufficiently unwell to require an assessment under the Mental Health Act. Just under half of that number - three hundred and seventy three - were subsequently admitted to hospital. I was one of those.

"I'm personally aware that the prejudice and intolerance that can sometimes be directed at people with mental illness can be just as damaging as the illness itself. It is good to see the organisations that contribute to the mental wellbeing of the City as a whole are collaborating to celebrate World Mental Health day with an event that aims to start conversations and reduce stigma."

Join the fun at the following venues:

Friends Meeting House, 2 York Street, Bath
The central event runs from 10am until 3pm and features wellbeing activities, food, local bands and local groups talking about mental health.

Old Bond Street
The Eat, Talk, Think gazebo will feature the Walcot State choir from 10.30am, 'so far, so good' discussions, free wellbeing cakes, the Mind apple tree and much more. The Human Library invites you to be a human book alongside Bath MP Ben Howlett, who will become a book entitled 'Help Before It's Too Late'. The Chronicle will be dropping by to photograph Ben and Bill Bruce-Jones, AWP's BANES clinical director.

Ben says, "I am passionate about mental health issues and in my role as MP, I am committed to ensuring mental health services enable those in need seek treatment.  I have recently lost a friend to suicide and recognise how many people with mental health issues do not seek the help they need until it is too late.

"Since my election in May I have met a surprising number of constituents with different mental health issues, so much so I am looking to run a surgery 'hub' with a mental health specialist so people can drop in and have their needs assessed and be issued with a form of 'social prescription'. I recognise many mental disorders are caused or exacerbated by social factors so sometimes a social solution can be more effective than a medical one. Do come and talk to me about how an MP may be able to help before it's too late."

The community bus
Drop in to the community bus for mental wellbeing information and resources. The bus will be at:
Paulton Tesco at 10.45am
Midsomer Norton Sainsbury's at 12.45pm
Radstock Cooperative at 2.30pm

Radstock Victoria Hall
If you've ever wondered what it's actually like to search for a needle in a haystack, this is your chance! The Worry Disposal Unit will be shredding people's worries and building a haystack outside Radstock Victoria Hall - and Megan from Creativity Works would like your help to search for the needle in the haystack!

Saturday's events are supported with funding from Bath Building Society and AWP's charitable funds and have been organised by: AWP; Bath Mind; Creativity Works; New Hope; Sirona; Soundwell; St Mungo's Broadway; Wellbeing College BANES.

For more information about the celebration visit www.newhopebanes.org or you can follow @BathWMHD on Twitter or search 'World Mental Health Day Bath' on Facebook.

Image: Steve Hedley

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