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Market to Raise Awareness of Mental Health

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Market to Raise Awareness of Mental Health

While much public awareness work has been done to de-stigmatize mental illness, there is a new focus in health promotion to look at mental health, wellbeing and flourishing, and consumer network Awareness is involved in just that.

Awareness is an network of people who have personally experienced distress related to mental illness or addictions issues, who work on projects to systemically improve things for others using health services or experiencing distress.

“Until now, we have focused mainly on service improvement work - writing submissions on health policy and sharing our stories to effect change, so to be getting more involved in mental health promotion is really exciting” says Sal Faid, chair of the network.

The group is currently organising a market for December 2nd at Riccarton House and Bush to raise awareness of mental health, and create opportunities for people to buy and sell goods and share information about support available in the community.

The market will be a free event for both stall holders and people coming along. “We wanted to organise this as a chance for people to connect” says Kelly Pope, coordinator for Awareness.

“People have contacted us about having a stall and have shared their own stories of mental health and resiliency. For some people, this is the first time they are having a stall at a market, and it’s great to be able to provide that opportunity in a positive and supportive environment.”

The group’s work is being supported by MHAPS, a local organisation that provides peer advocacy and peer support in mental health and addictions and works with Awareness on joint projects.

MHAPS plan to have a stall at the market, along with about 20 other support organisations, individuals and small businesses.

“We hoped to organise an event with a balance between stalls selling things, and information tables from support organisations and so far have about ten of each confirmed” says Pope.

One of the event organisers, Wendy Quigley runs Junk2Funk, her own t-shirt business, and many of her designs have positive mental health messages. She plans to have a stall on the day, along with others selling jewelry, art, fudge and clothing.

“It’s the beginning of summer and we wanted to make this a fun, family event” says Quigley.

The group is organising a lolly scramble and bouncy castle for the kids, and has been in touch with local musicians who have volunteered their time to perform on the day.

“We have been blown away by the support from the community. Businesses have donated resources and individuals have volunteered their time. Taste Events at Riccarton House and Bush have been particularly amazing, helping us out with a venue” says Pope.

The market will be held alongside the regular artisans market at Riccarton House and Bush, on Sunday 2nd December from 10am till 2pm and all are welcome to attend.

More information can be found at the group’s Facebook event page or at!/events/471503992883294/


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