‘A very deliberate message’ the view of the head of the University of Cumbria’s department of health Dr Louise Nelson speaking at the start of a two-day festival of mental health.
The event, held at the Lancaster campus on Wednesday 10 October – World Mental Health Day – and on Thursday 11 was organised together by the university’s mental health teaching and support staff and is thought to be the first of its kind.
“It’s not about mental illness but everyday mental health and we need to recognise what helps keep people resilient,” Dr Nelson said.
As well as talks and demonstrations, a showing of the film One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest is planned while top comedian Rob Gee who will be bringing his production Forget Me Not which highlights Alzheimer’s to the university.
“We’re passionate about mental health and have drawn together a wide ranging programme which we hope will raise awareness of the issues individuals face across their lifespan, and what we can do to maintain our own wellbeing,” Steve McCarthy-Grunwald, senior lecturer mental health nursing studies, said.
Visitors enjoyed walks in nearby Williamson Park to highlight the benefits of fresh air to mental wellbeing.
Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, More Music in Morecambe and Ulverston’s Manjushri Kadampa Meditation Centre were among organisations to support the event which was also endorsed by broadcaster, author, parliamentarian and honorary fellow of the University of Cumbria Lord Melvyn Bragg.
Paying tribute to staff for organising the event and the range of exhibitors who took part Dr Nelson added: “On this World Mental Health day we feel this is a very positive stance and it’s really exciting that the government has appointed a minister for suicide awareness and prevention. It’s exactly what we need.”