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World Mental Health Day to raise awareness

The theme of this year’s World Mental Health Day, which is taking place on Monday 10 October, is “psychological first aid”. Many people who suffer from psychological and mental distress and personal crises can benefit from receiving psychological and mental health first aid from professionals and the general public.

As a partner charity of the Heads Together campaign, we will be joining their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Harry, and invited guests at the London Eye to raise awareness of mental health. The event will be an opportunity to hear the stories of people have been affected by mental health difficulties and to thank those who played a supportive role in their lives. Jessica Parker, who is involved with our participation work, will be sharing how her mother supported her through an eating disorder. Other guests involved with the Centre through the Family School will also be attending.

Watch for live updates, photos and comments from the event across our Facebook and Twitter accounts (@AFNCCF). There, we will also be sharing expert mental health first aid tips from clinician David Trickey, who draws on his experience of working in immediate crisis response settings and on-going therapy. A full commentary piece offering context to these tips will follow early next week and will be shared across our social channels.

We will also be releasing the latest podcast in our Child in Mind series, focusing on therapy. In this episode, BBC Radio 4’s Claudia Hammond discusses therapy options and their respective benefits and limitations with our Chief Executive, Peter Fonagy, and Maisy, a 19-year old who has tried various therapies for post-traumatic stress and obsessive compulsive disorders. Peter and Maisy have also written accompanying blogs that we will share next week. To tune in to their conversation, head to our iTunes and Soundcloud channels.

On the evening of World Mental Health Day, our participation officer, Nicholas Morgan and a group of our Youth Panel members will be at City Hall for the ‘Into My Escape Event’ presenting their recent project work and hosting a stall celebrating the role of arts and creative expression amongst those with mental health difficulties. Images produced from our recent co-creation project with Poached Creative and Wac Arts, based in Hampstead, will be on display, many of which have also been included in our rebrand. The Centre is commited to working collaboratively and in participation with service users, to make sure that our services address the needs of those we aim to support through effective and innovative approaches.

As Nadia Shah, the Mayor of Camden’s chosen Charity of the Year, we will also be working locally to promote mental health awareness across the borough, with coverage in local press and several events engaging the local community on Monday and over the coming months. Speaking of our work, Nadia said: “The Centre provides vital services to disadvantaged children and their families and encourages the community to be more aware and to talk about mental health”.

We will also be launching our unique, evidence-based toolkit to measure and monitor mental wellbeing amongst school-aged children. The first of its kind, the toolkit, which has been commissioned by Public Health England, contains easy to use interventions to help school and college staff recognise and measure mental health and gives real life examples of how these have been implemented in schools to date. For those keen to learn more, Dr Tanya Lereya, a key member of the team who developed the toolkit, will speak about the resource at a Schools in Mind event on 8 November held at Camden Town Hall, London. The toolkit will also be freely available to download from our website’s resources page.