People across Cumbria struggling with their mental health are being reminded today that they are not alone, as the county marks World Mental Health Day.

It is an international initiative designed to promote more open discussion of the wide range of mental health issues faced by every kind of person, and a number of events are taking place today to support this message.

Schools in the county are playing a part in promoting awareness of mental health issues.

Kingmoor Nursery and Infant School is holding a non-uniform day, and encouraging donations to mental health charity Mind, as well as Carlisle Reivers Pan Disability Football.

Another school encouraging donations is Rockcliffe CE Primary School, which is today raising money for youth mental health charity Young Minds.

Also getting involved in the fundraising for Young Minds is Andy Wilson, whose three children - twins Jacob and Noah aged five, and Freya aged nine - attend Rockcliffe school.

Having heard about the school’s fundraising plan, he decided to take on a fundraising challenge himself.

“There was a letter sent out by the school last week about raising awareness for World Mental Health Day,” he said.

“I was kind of aware of the day, but not in too much detail. I think a lot of people are like that.

“I decided to do a fell walk last Saturday with a friend.”

The pair hiked Helvellyn and Striding Edge in the Lake District. Andy’s colleagues were generous in their support.

“I work at Crown on James Street, and with the support of the staff here we’ve raised £389,” he said.

Andy added that he thought events like World Mental Health Day are important for promoting awareness of an issue that is often hard for people to talk about.

“I think as time goes on people are beginning to realise that mental health issues can affect anyone - not just adults but children too,” he said.

“World Mental Health Day helps raise awareness that anyone can suffer as a result of mental health issues.”

Coinciding with World Mental Health Day, Public Health England in partnership with the NHS today launched a new platform, Every Mind Matters.

Designed to help show people steps that can be taken to better prepare for the all-but-inevitable mental health struggles everyone will at some point face, the platform will enable people to created a personalised action plan, guiding them through a set of self-care actions to deal with stress, boost their mood, improve sleep and feel more in control.

Commenting on its launch, Dr Rebecca Wagstaff, deputy director for Public Health England in the north west, said: “In our lives we all have moments when we experience difficulties where we feel stressed, anxious

or low and it can affect us all differently.

“It’s so important that we all recognise those times when we do need additional support and how we can look after our mental health.

“We would encourage everyone to use the resources from this campaign and take action with simple, practical ways they can look after their mental health, improve their mental wellbeing and support others to do the


Paul Farmer, chief executive of Mind, added: “We all have mental health just as we all have physical health, and it can vary from good to poor.

“Most people know how important it is to look after their physical health and more and more people are understanding the need to look after their mental health as well, but lots of us don’t know where to start.

“That’s why Mind has been helping develop Every Mind Matters, to empower people with the tools they need to deal with everyday causes of stress, anxiety, low mood and trouble sleeping.”

The University of Cumbria is also doing its part to promote awareness of mental health in the county.

Mental health nursing lecturers Steve McCarthy-Grunwald and Charlotte Pearce have organised a festival of mental health to help foster dialogue on the issue among the university’s student population.

Mr McCarthy-Grunwald said: “We’re passionate about mental health and have drawn together a wide ranging programme which we hope will raise awareness of the issues individuals face.”