11 December 2018

Spreading festive cheer to help those affected by mental health difficulties



Staff from wards and offices across North Somerset, Bristol, South Gloucestershire, Bath and North East Somerset, Wiltshire and Swindon have been getting festive in a bid to help those affected by poor mental health.

On Friday 7 December, Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership (AWP) NHS Trust held its first 'Mental Elf Day' where staffed dressed in festive attire to raise awareness and de-stigmatise mental health issues, as well as raising money for the Trust's official charity, Headlight.

More than 200 staff took part dressing as elves, in Christmas jumpers or with sparking festive accessories. So far over £2,000 has been raised, with donations continuing to come in.


Mental Elf Day was organised by Headlight as part of efforts to provide festive treats and care packages for inpatient and community services users across the Trust, recognising that the festive season can be a particularly challenging time for those with mental health issues and that small touches can make the biggest difference in bringing cheer to someone's Christmas.

Headlight's Fundraising Manager, Tia Shortall, said: "At this time of year the outside world is feeling festive, so we want to do what we can to bring that Christmas glow into our hospitals too. Christmas is a major event in the Headlight calendar each year, and we spend over £10,000 on festive extras for service users of the Trust. All the support we receive from the community to make it happen is greatly appreciated, and we are so grateful for everyone who donates or participates."

At a special event at Bath NHS House organised by Local Involvement Coordinators, staff shared mince pies and memories with carers, service users and volunteers to thank them for their contributions to the wider Trust over the past year.


How you can support Headlight

The charity is looking for donations towards winter care packages for service users who will be spending Christmas as inpatients or alone in their communities. 

Warm winter accessories, toiletries, sweet treats or preserves and small games, puzzles, colouring books or family friendly DVDs will all go a long way to making someone's Christmas special. If you can, please place donations into one of the Donation Stations at:

Bath NHS House, Woodside, Callington Road, Bristol, Green Lane Hospital, Devizes, Victoria Centre, Swindon, Heathwood, Fountain Way, Salisbury and Petherton Resource Centre, Bristol.

Or you can help by contributing directly to Headlight's JustGiving Appeal page here:



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