October 11, 2010

What an honour it was to spend World Mental Health Day with Olympic gold medallist Philips Idowu on our walk through Camden to the fantastic Time to Get Moving event at the N1 shopping centre in Islington. We were met on arrival by some great Bollywood dancing, which got the crowds active and the message across.

And I learnt some fascinating triva from Philips en route too - did you know that he can jump the length of a bendy bus?! His amazing athletic skills aside, it's fantastic to have Philips on board supporting Time to Change.

So many of us with lived experience got out there in Islington, engaging the public in a very positive way, slap bang in the middle of a busy shopping centre - we couldn't be ignored!  I could see the public taking a keen interest in an event that was entertaining as well as having a serious message. It was such a great way to spend World Mental Health Day - all united and out there in front of our audience. All the months of hard work paid off - a big well done to all the teams from Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust, Camden and Islington councils and PCTs, Arsenal in the Community, Terry from our Lived Experience Advisory Panel and all the Time to Get Moving team.

Later that day I headed to Brighton, for a 'Stamp out Stigma' walk led by Time to Change's Mind Out project at Brighton and Hove Mind. There was such a good turnout with some great staff, volunteers and supporters all out in force engaging the public at another really positive event - with good profile walking along the seafront. The Mind Out project does some great work around LGBT mental health and it's great to have this community behind us.

My last stop was Kent, where we ended World Mental Health Day with three mayors from the county adding their support - that's a first! Thanks to Janet Lloyd and her team at Kent and Medway Trust for making this happen.

The growing confidence that all involved have in talking to the public about mental health is obvious to me - and this comes from uniting under one banner and supporting each other. It was such a positive day - well done to everyone involved with events the length and breadth of England. Your efforts are starting to deliver tangible change.

Events are continuing this week - check out what's going on near you.

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