THE focus was very much on mental health in Newbury last week, as organisations gathered in the town centre to increase awareness of the subject.
People were able to stop and chat about the issue at a stall in Northbrook Street last Thursday, to tie in with World Mental Health Day 2017.
Representatives from organisations such as Healthwatch West Berkshire, Brighter Berkshire, Open for Hope and Eight Bells for Mental Health engaged with members of the public offering advice, help and support.
Healthwatch West Berkshire chief officer Andrew Sharp said: “We were really, really pleased.
“We were joined by a number of organisations that have some interest in mental health, who want to try to do things to break the stigma.
“We were talking to the public about how they felt, if there was any issue that they wanted to raise with us and we came across a variety of things.”
As well as engaging in discussions on mental health, passers-by were asked to indicate their mood on a ‘mood map’ to help make the discussions more interactive.
Mr Sharp said: “I think the important thing, and what hopefully this will do, is getting people talking about their mental health – be it good, bad or well-balanced.
“Because what actually is ‘good’ mental health?
“We have a fairly good understanding of what poor mental health is, but I think the language we use is important – probably you’d say a better description of ‘good’ mental health should actually be well-balanced.
“We need to make people aware of what language we are using, such as people use the word mental as a standard parlance.
“If we were talking about racism or sexism we wouldn’t be using words like that.
“The importance of us being on Northbrook Street with all sorts of charities, we just need to very much get it into the standard parlance that talking about mental health issues is so important and it must be taken more seriously.”