CARE groups and services ran by the NHS set up stands this morning to talk to passers-by at Southampton railway station.

Services such as Southampton City Public Health, Steps2wellbeing, and Communicare were all in attendance at Southampton Central to mark Mental Health Awareness Week.

Workers spoke to residents about the importance of mental health, whilst looking for volunteers and offering their services to those who might need them.

Jill Ghanouni is the Community Involvement Officer for Hampshire, Southampton and Isle of Wight Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). 

She said: “They’ve got a really good multi-agency event taking place, I’m just part of the team that is here offering information on NHS health services, and listening to people’s queries, questions, or concerns.”

Daily Echo: Debbie Hendry of Carers in Southampton (right)Debbie Hendry of Carers in Southampton (right)

Abi Mason, 25, administrator for Southampton Mental Health Network and Coordinator for Communicare, said the event was "crucial" for the city’s long-term vision.

"We are here to raise awareness of who we are and what we do," she said.

"Communicare is a good neighbour’s charity, we are here to interact with anyone who might be interested in volunteering or being a service user.

"The Southampton Mental Health Network’s vision is to make Southampton a mental health friendly city, at events like this you realise how much [support] there is in Southampton, I think before I joined the network I didn’t realise how many services there were."

Rob Jarvis, 52, is the Peer Support Practitioner for Steps2wellbeing.

He knows first-hand just how important reaching out for help can be.

"I’m peer support, so I’ve been through the service and got better because of steps2wellbeing," he said.

"It’s really part of what I like to do is to get out and just share the message that it’s okay to talk, especially men of a certain age.

"I can’t emphasise enough how important it is to be open and honest about this stuff because a lot of people see it at weakness, but to me it’s a sign of strength talking about it.

"Get to your GP as soon as possible, speak to your GP or go online – steps2wellbeing is online – you can refer online, and you will get treated like royalty."

Mental Health Awareness Week has been an annual event since 2001.

Its aim is to raise awareness and address the steps that can be taken to improve mental health.

This year's theme focusses on tackling loneliness, with the event running until May 13. 

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