United Response festival in Bognor Regis

Poppy Scott offers information about the well being project 14LAAUG29d-2
Poppy Scott offers information about the well being project 14LAAUG29d-2
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MENTAL health matters were to the fore at the first public festival of its kind in Bognor Regis.

Scores of members of the public went along to the event, held by the United Response charity.

They could find out more about services to help those with conditions such as depression or anxiety.

Present at the festival in the Regis Centre were organisations such as the Recovery College with its new concept of therapy in which clients enrol on courses which they choose.

Physical health was also looked after by the Arun Wellbeing team with its message of exercise and healthy eating.

One of those on the United Response team for last Friday’s event was Bognor resident Steve Ryman.

The 42-year-old was promoting the charity’s peer support work which he credited with turning round his life in the past year.

He self harmed and stayed in his flat due to a borderline personality disorder.

But that existence has gone.

He said: “Being with United Response has given me so much more confidence.

“I now have a network of friends and there’s support whenever I need it.

“I want to give something back and help others through shared experience.”

The day replaced previous festivals only open to those with links with United Response.

Vicky Arnell-Smith, service manager for community mental health services, said: “We want to raise the profile of our work and to de-mystify mental health.

“We want to get the message across that people with mental health problems are not ogres.

“They are just as valid and worthwhile as anyone else.”

The charity’s Sudley Road centre provided a central focal point for services for them, she said.

A cafe in the community was also being held from 10am-11.30am on Fridays in the Regis Centre.

“We are trying to make mental health services and support as accessible as possible,” she said. “A lot of people with mental health problems are hidden.

“We would like them to meet up and a have chat about their situation.”