Institute of Health Community Mental Health Festival Award

A UNIVERSITY of Cumbria event to raise awareness and support for mental health and well-being won a major award.

The Mental Health Festival is one of the 2020 Educate the North award winners.

The awards celebrate, recognize and share best practice and excellence in the education sector in the North of England.

The winners were announced at a specially broadcast event. Initial plans for an in-person awards ceremony have been disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Winner of the Community Engagement Award (University), the Festival of Mental Health is led by the nursing team from the University’s Institute of Health.

It is a celebration of wellness and offers help and support to all through its range of workshops including gardening, mindfulness, yoga and the creative arts. There is also an art festival, conferences and a “market” of local charities, organizations and institutions.

Raising money for local charities, the festival’s sponsor is Wigton’s author, broadcaster and peer Melvyn Bragg, honorary university member and past president of the national charity Mind.

Coinciding with World Mental Health Day each October, the Mental Health Festival strengthens the role of the University of Cumbria as a leading provider of training for healthcare and nursing professionals in the region and beyond.

Festival volunteers included students from the university.

Two of the mental health nursing professors at the university’s Institute of Health, Steve McCarthy-Grunwald and Charlotte Pearce, developed the festival in collaboration with local partners.

Charlotte said: “The Mental Health Festival has proven to be of regional significance. We must thank our student volunteers, the public and all the local charities and organizations, artists and schools who gave of their time to join us for this event. It’s about raising awareness and finding practical tools for wellness, creatively and socially, and creating inclusive and mentally healthy communities. As an institute, we are delighted and as the team of nurses leading this event, we are proud of our recognized achievement.

A registered mental health nurse himself, Professor Brian Webster-Henderson, Assistant Vice Chancellor (Health, Environment and Innovation), said: “Congratulations must go to our team of mental health nurses. We are delighted and proud to see this truly impactful festival being recognized for its commitment and involvement in the community.

“Taking care of our mental health and well-being is so important to all of us, now more than ever as society grapples with the impact of the global Covid-19 pandemic. This festival raises awareness of the impact poor mental health can have on people’s lives and provides a network of practical help and support to resolve issues that arise. It is important to note that he also shares ideas, activities and methods that we can all adopt to take care of ourselves and the well-being of others.

“This is a shining example of how, as a university, we work collaboratively with partners to develop and strengthen skills, expertise and relationships in our region, helping individuals and our communities to prosper. “

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