People from across the district joined the South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust in a Festival of Wellbeing to celebrate World Mental Health Day.
Hundreds of people attended the events to show their support and learn about ways to keep their minds healthy. Events were held across two weeks to promote wellbeing and tackle the stigma that surrounds mental illness. Festival events in Kirklees included arts and crafts sessions, complimentary therapies and a wide variety of sports activities. There was also plenty of entertainment including a performance from the national Reach 4 Dance group and a football tournament. Information was available at each event helping people understand the importance of looking after their own mental wellbeing and the daily challenges people with mental disorders face. Information for families and carers was also available. Equality and inclusion development worker Lynn Fowley said, "The events were ideal for raising public awareness about the stigma people face. The great attendance and support proves many people feel passionate and want to help dispel mental health myths, which can leave people feeling hurt, diminished and socially isolated." Nearly 200 events were held as part of the festival over 18 days across Calderdale, Kirklees or Wakefield, designed to mark world mental health day 2009. Events and activities covered the themes of ‘Get moving, get creative and get involved’, which have all been found to boost mental wellbeing. The Trust’s chief executive, Steven Michael, said: “The festival was an ideal opportunity to raise awareness of mental health issues, reduce stigma and promote wellbeing. We know that creativity, physical activity and social inclusion all make a big difference to wellbeing so our festival concentrated on these areas. The fact that so many people, including members of our organisation turned up to events, shows their commitment to and enthusiasm for the mental health agenda. There has been such a vibrant atmosphere and it is a great approach to tackling stigma.”