Inspiring hope across Wigan Borough

Inspiring hope across Wigan Borough

World Suicide Prevention Day 2021-1

L-R: Alison McKenzie-Folan (CEO), Coun Keith Cunliffe (deputy leader), Coun David Molyneux (leader), Coun Yvonne Klieve (Mayor of Wigan Borough), Prof Kate Ardern (director of public health in Wigan Borough)

Today is the start of a four-week drive to encourage open conversations about mental wellbeing in Wigan Borough.

The ‘Month of Hope’, which is being supported across Greater Manchester, bridges 10th September (World Suicide Prevention Day) and 10th October (World Mental Health Awareness Day).

Wigan Council has teamed up with the local community to inspire conversation and to signpost to the variety of support available to those who are struggling with poor mental wellbeing.

The local authority has planted yellow flowers in Believe Square to raise awareness about suicide prevention and a number of walks have been arranged throughout the month, delivered by the Be Well service and the community, encouraging people to meet others and take in the rich heritage of the borough.

Wigan Borough Armed Forces HQ has also installed a sign using poppies on its frontage and The Brick will create an inspirational sculpture spelling out the word ‘HOPE’ made from different materials.

The idea is to use the displays as a visual representation of the support the services can offer the borough’s residents.

Leader of Wigan Council, Coun David Molyneux said: “In 2020 we launched our Be Kind movement, which encouraged local people to spread kindness across the borough from sending letters to those who are isolated to donating to food banks or checking in on someone who is having a tough time.

“Everyone has challenges – you won’t always see or know what they are but by being kind, we can show compassion to others.

“I think we should extend this to ourselves too. The last 18 months or so have been overwhelming for everyone in different ways. Recognising this and easing the pressure on yourself where possible will go a long way in supporting your own mental wellbeing.”

Throughout the Month of Hope, the local authority is holding a number of ‘Connect 5’ training sessions online, which are open to all residents to learn more about how to openly talk about mental health.

Topics include:

  • Understanding the language around mental health, wellbeing and mental illness.
  • Become more confident in offering wellbeing advice and support in everyday conversations.
  • Understand how to help individuals make lasting changes that have a positive effect on wellbeing.
  • Learn about local services and self-help resources available.

Councillor Molyneux added: “Connect 5 takes the position that we don’t need to be mental health specialists to support those who are experiencing emotional and mental health problems.

“By normalising mental health conversations, we can encourage people to gain the confidence to reach out for support, whether that’s as simple as a trusting ear, or more specialised intervention.”

Residents are also asked to share their favourite ways to stay mentally well. To take part, use the hashtag #BeKindToYourMind and #MonthOfHope across social media.

To keep updated with the latest activity across the Month of Hope, follow @WiganCouncil on Facebook and Twitter.

There are two Connect 5 training events taking place in September:

Posted on Thursday 9th September 2021
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