NHS staff and volunteers used last night’s Bury St Edmunds Christmas lights switch on to highlight their Time for Change mental health awareness campaign.
Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) and Suffolk VASP (Voluntary and Statutory Partnership) for Mental Health set up a Time to Change Village in the heart of the event’s charity fayre.
About 40 NSFT staff, carers and service users volunteered to help at the event and served free teas and coffees and other refreshments, as well as wrapping up Christmas presents for free.
Those visiting the village were also able to meet two pets as therapy dogs and drop in to a special surgery run by staff from NSFT’s Wellbeing service for advice on a range of issues, such as low mood, anxiety and stress.
The initiative was arranged as part of the national Time to Change campaign, which aims to reduce stigma and help people understand that good mental health is everyone’s business.
Chris Hedges, Suffolk Lead for Imroc and Recovery with NSFT, said: “We wanted the event to appeal to as many people as possible. We had conversations with people who knew nothing about mental health and simply wanted to find out more as well as talking to others who were concerned about themselves or someone close to them.
“We hope that we helped to break down some of the stigma which exists, normalise the subject and get the message across that good mental health is everybody’s business.”