Local charities prepare for World Mental Health Day

Mental Health Charities across Devon are hosting events for World Mental Health Day next week (10 October).

The International event supported by the World Health Organisation aims to raise awareness of mental health problems as well as the support services available.

Mind Exeter and East Devon is among charities hosting events with an open day at its Haven Centre on Honiton High Street next Tuesday (8 October).

At the event people can learn more about the services offered and try free taster sessions of reflexology and Tai Chi.

Ruth Wells, director of Mind Exeter and East Devon said: “there are people experiencing mental health problems across the UK.

“We want people to know there is a message of hope, as many people go on to live happy lives and engage with society.

“Over a quarter of people will experience a form of mental health problem at some point in their lives but some people still have this image of mental health care which just isn’t the case.”

There will also be a larger event at the Exeter Phoenix on 10 October with a number of services which provide help with mental health problems providing workshops and guidance.

World Mental Health day is an annual event which highlights a different aspect of mental health care each year.

This year’s event focuses on Mental Health care in older people.

The world population of people over 60 is now over 800 million larger than ever beforeand is expected to rise above 2 billion by 2050. People over 60 face special mental health challenges as they can begin to lose the ability to live independently and experience personal loss.

This is as well as a much higher risk of conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Local efforts saw Devon County Council launch a new support service with the Alzheimer’s Society this year to help those affected by the disease and their families with advice and aid.

Councillor Stuart Barker, the Council’s Cabinet Member responsible for adult social care said at the time: “The new Dementia Support Workers work with people from first diagnosis to advise them and their families about help that’s available locally, and help make those important links.”

“I am especially pleased that we can make this extra provision at the same time as our investment in extra care housing for people with a dementia and also the investment in creating care homes which will be centres of excellence for people with dementia.

“Ultimately our homes will be a local focus for community services to support the work that the Alzheimer’s Society will be doing in those communities.”

Ben Bradshaw, MP for Exeter has called for further support for Dementia care in the South West. He said:“Dementia affects over 820,000 people in the UK, according to the organization Alzheimer’s Research UK, and over half of dementia sufferers in the South West are undiagnosed.

“Early diagnosis for dementia sufferers can help patients not only get the treatment they require, but can lend support to a patient’s family or carers. Rural areas, especially, are hurt by cuts in government funding for health services, which have led to wide variation in services for dementia patients across the country.

“Charities such as the Alzheimer’s Society do a great deal to help advocate and provide support for carers and family of patients however the Government must take action to end the gap in service provision for dementia patients."

Further information:

The Alzheimer's Society - http://www.alzheimers.org.uk

Alzheimer's Research UK - http://www.alzheimersresearchuk.org

Mental Health Foundation - http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/our-work/world-mental-health-day/