‘Positive feedback’ on plan to make Sidmouth a mental health friendly town

The initial meeting, hosted by WHAT. Picture: Di Fuller

The initial meeting, hosted by WHAT. Picture: Di Fuller - Credit: Archant

Organisations are coming together to make Sidmouth a mental health friendly town, where young people in particular are able to ask for and receive help.

Di Fuller, chairman of Sid Valley Help. Picture: Di Fuller

Di Fuller, chairman of Sid Valley Help. Picture: Di Fuller - Credit: Archant

The aim is to create a community in which young people feel confident talking about mental health problems and there is widespread awareness of the support available.

The initiative has been started by the Wellbeing and Health Action Team (WHAT), part of Sid Valley Help.

Di Fuller, chairman of Sid Valley Help, said: "Sidmouth is a dementia-friendly town, and a lot of businesses and organisations underwent training in being dementia-aware so that they could support people.

"We can do exactly the same to support mental health and wellbeing."

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"We are asking the wider community in the Sid Valley to help us provide support across organisations that have contact with young people.

"These might be sports groups, clubs like Guides or Scouts, or businesses."

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The plan was announced at an open meeting hosted by WHAT at Sidmouth Sailing Club on Thursday, October 3.

Nearly 50 people attended, including representatives from primary and secondary schools, Scouts, churches, a GP practice, businesses, charities, the town's gig and sailing clubs, and the police.

"We got a lot of positive feedback, a lot of people saying they wanted to be involved," said Mrs Fuller.

There will be another meeting on Thursday, October 17 to discuss the way forward.

Mrs Fuller said: "We will look at what we would like to do, how they can help, what they think they could offer, and how we're going to put together a plan. We're not going to do this overnight."

It also emerged from the initial meeting that there are local sources of support for young people that are not widely known about.

Several of the attendees were already professionally involved in mental health and wellbeing, and said they would be glad to help the project.

Mrs Fuller said: "We discovered things I didn't know were available, that are happening.

"We want to bring all these things together and make sure everyone knows what is available, so that they know who to contact if they know a young person who has a problem."

Anyone planning to attend the next meeting, at 6.30pm at the sailing club, is asked to email wellbeinghealthat@gmail.com to let the project team know.

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