Broadcaster, author, parliamentarian and honorary fellow of the University of Cumbria Lord Melvyn Bragg has offered his support and endorsement for a Festival of Mental Health which is to take place at the university’s Lancaster campus next month.
In what is thought to be a first, organisers say the event is aimed as a celebration of mental health and will bring together performing arts as well as mental health messages.
“We want it to be a guide to what and who can help rather than go over the same ground and statistics that are often discussed when it comes to mental health and well-being,” Charlotte Pearce, lecturer in mental health and one of the event’s organisers, said.
Using a network of contacts from across the university and collaborating with groups as diverse as Ludus Dance, the Morecambe-based More Music group and Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, the two-day event begins on Mental Health Day, October 10.
“We’ve brought together a wide range of activities, games and workshops; from showing how folktales can be used to build resilience to paramedic and nursing simulation,” Emma Fitch, technician and event organiser, said.
Among the events planned is a debate and showing of the 1975 film One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest and an appearance by performer Rob Gee, a comic, poet and writer 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.
With children, adolescent and adult mental health care the focus of day one, older person care and dementia is highlighted on October 11.
Other universities have already shown interest in learning more about the innovative event. The university has a track record in mental health welfare, recently recruiting new specialist staff to add to the work which has been cited in Parliament as a good example of care.
Speaking in support of the event, Lord Bragg said: “Mental health plays such an enormous part with so many people’s lives in today’s society. It is crucial therefore that we start to recognise its importance as equal to our physical health needs, and look for ways to build on our resilience, whilst strengthening our overall wellbeing. Having known depression and mental stress myself and being President on MIND for fifteen years, I thoroughly endorse what the University of Cumbria is doing to raise awareness of this subject to its staff and students and welcome this campaign.”
For more information contact https://www.cumbria.ac.uk/about/events/university-events/lancaster/festival-of-mental-health.php