Richmond Council has joined charities and support groups from across the region in raising awareness of mental health issues as part of World Mental Health Day.

The council is encouraging people to take part in a number of training activities designed to help give more insight into the symptoms and treatment for mental health problems, as well as raise more awareness of the symptoms and support to help treat those with suicidal thoughts.

Piers Allen the lead member for Adult Social Services, Health and Housing, and Chair of the Richmond Health & Wellbeing Board, said:“We all have mental health, and just like physical health, sometimes it’s good and sometimes it’s not.

“But unfortunately, attitudes and behaviours towards mental health can vary and can make it difficult for people with a mental health problem to tell their family and friends – even if they may want to.

“No matter what you’re going through, it’s okay to talk and there’s lots of help and support available to you across Richmond.”

According to mental health charity Richmond Borough Mind - Richmond has the fourth highest rate of self-harmers who are aged between ten and 24 and, at least 15,000 residents have experienced a common mental health issue within the past week.

There are around 15 per cent of people at work who already have symptoms of an existing mental health condition and most mental health problems are established in around 75 per cent of people who are 21.

A spokesperson for Richmond Borough Mind said: “We are a charity, but we work closely with the NHS’s Richmond Wellbeing Service which offers support to people living with anxiety and depression.

“We [Richmond Mind] can offer services, support and information as well as point service-users in the right direction.”

According to healthcare charity NICE at least 57 per cent of people aged over 75, live with three or more health conditions and are three times more likely to be diagnosed with depression.

When asked about how disability and mental health are linked - Alan Benson, a trustee of disability support charity Ruils, said: “It’s a hidden epidemic which is invisible.

“You can look at someone in a wheelchair and know what is wrong with them but that is not the case for mental health.”

“We [Ruils charity] run a number of local groups which give people living with mental heath the opportunity to get out socialise, learn new skills, attend one of our art or choir groups or to learn new skills and get peer support.

Richmond Council also supports both the new ‘Staying Safe’ training, which was launched to help people make free personal safety plans, as well as the training offered by Zero Suicide Alliance.

For more information about the free training, visit: and