In their efforts to achieve this, the Chorley-based charity advocates for a Lancashire in which people are supported in their mission to improve their mental health. And that means two things: access to support and the eradication of the pervasive stigma which still lingers around mental health.
One key facet of Lancashire Mind’s work is prevention. By supporting children from a young age, the charity seeks to instil resilience and to normalise the concept of mental self-care so that everyone can better appreciate the importance of mental health and care for themselves when times are tough.
“At Lancashire Mind, we believe that there should be no barriers to people achieving good mental health and wellbeing,” says Tommy McIlravey, CEO at Lancashire Mind, which recently marked Mental Health Awareness Week. “We work continually to break boundaries and lead a mental wellbeing revolution.
“It’s important for us to help start discussions about mental health and wellbeing, and Mental Health Awareness Week is a great opportunity for us to do that,” he adds. “The money we raise really is important and enables us to support all of those affected by mental health conditions.”
The statistics are unignorable: one in four people in the UK experience mental health conditions every year, whilst one in six children aged five to 16 were identified as having a probable mental health problem in a 2021 study - a huge increase from one in nine in 2017.
In order to promote their message of good mental health for all amidst such circumstance, Lancashire Mind staff recently marked Mental Health Awareness Week by wearing fancy dress in an effort to embody their message of ‘step up and stand out’ whilst also raising funds for the charity as part of their annual Breaking Boundaries campaign.
“As the county's leading mental health charity, we’re all about raising awareness and helping to facilitate conversations and change around the challenges those with mental health issues face on a day-to-day basis,” says Emma Bateson, Lancashire Mind’s fundraising lead.
“This year, we asked people to raise funds by doing something outside of their comfort zone and choose a fundraising activity that challenges them in different ways,” adds Emma. “We wanted people to have a bit of fun - challenges don’t have to be daredevil feats like jumping out of an aeroplane!
“It could be something as simple as giving up chocolate or promising to brew up for everyone in your office all week, shaving your head, or a social media detox,” she continues. “Dressing like this was certainly a challenge for me. I did the school run, the weekly shop, meetings, everything dressed like this.
“But it’s all about spreading awareness, raising funds and showing people the support and understanding there is in Lancashire around mental health, and I know it will certainly start some conversations!”
Looking ahead, the charity recently spoke to hundreds of people across Lancashire to get their views so as to ensure their five-year strategy is effective.
"Everyone deserves the right to good mental health and we cannot deny the massive impact of Covid-19 on people’s lives and mental health over the past two years,” says Tommy McIlravey. "In these extremely challenging times, people are looking for more support.”