St Helens got into the spirit of Mental Health Week on Thursday with a community event at Break O'Day Community Stadium.
East Coast health organisations and service providers were on hand to discuss mental health with St Helens District High School students throughout the morning and early afternoon, before community members arrived in the afternoon for a barbecue.
Students were also kept busy with a promise wall, where they wrote mental health pledges to themselves.
St Helens Neighbourhood House manager Trish O'Duffy said while the day incorporated entertainment including giant games and live music, there was a serious message behind the event.
“We all have times in our lives that we're anxious or depressed so it’s important to be aware of what strategies you can put in place to prevent that and where you go to get help,” Ms O’Duffy said.
Wellways (formerly MI Fellowship) senior program worker David Wilkes, one of many health professionals to attend the event, said it was important to encourage people to be proactive about mental health.
“We're about social participation and encouraging people to participate in their communities and connect with something that's meaningful for them, whether it's study or work or a personal interest,” Mr Wilkes said.
“Some of the kids said to me today they're getting the message about talking to other people and not keeping things to themselves, which is a critical message to get across to young people.”
Students also received a visit from Break O'Day Council general manager John Brown, who was only too pleased to help spread the message of mental health awareness.
“Events like this are really important no matter where they are because they're building awareness of mental health and where assistance can be obtained,” Mr Brown said.
“Events like this are very much acknowledging that there is a need within any community and this is just one method of addressing the situation that does exist within communities.
“It’s great to see a number of local organisations like the school being part of it and the range of community organisations coming together to work on an event like this one, it’s great.”