No Kingston events planned for Mental Health Awareness Week

Kingston locals have been left “shocked” at the lack of events taking place during this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week.

Over 120 events are currently due to take place across the UK throughout the week but Kingston’s nearest event is seven miles away in Richmond-upon-Thames.

Ryan Cook, a second year student, said: “I think it’s unacceptable that people who are struggling, who often don’t have anyone to turn to, are forced to suffer in silence because Kingston isn’t doing enough to help them.

“I know there is a lot being done across the country to help people who suffer but these can often feel quite remote.

“Most of the time you just need a friendly face and someone to listen, and I feel that if Kingston was doing what’s being done in other parts of the country then it could really help people in the area.”

Kingston currently has no events planned for Mental Health Awareness Week
Kingston currently has no events planned for Mental Health Awareness Week

The awareness week, taking place between 16-22 May, will focus on the importance of relationships on health and well-being.

A spokesperson at the Mental Health Foundation, the non-profit organisation behind the week, said: “Relationships with family and friends are one of the most important aspects of our lives yet we can often forget just how crucial our connections with other people are for our physical and mental health and well-being.

“People who are more socially connected to family, friends, or community, are happier, physically healthier, and live longer and with fewer mental health problems than people who are less well connected.

“It’s not just the number of friends you have, and it’s not whether or not you’re in a committed relationship, but it’s the quality of your close relationships that matters. Living in conflict or with toxic relationships is more damaging than being alone.”

Local resident Sally Watkins agrees, and hopes Kingston can arrange some events before the week starts.

The 52-year-old said: “I think it’s really important to raise awareness.

“Mental health sufferers need to know where the support for them is locally, and they should get the chance to meet other sufferers too.

“I hope we can set up some events in Kingston, I think it sends the wrong message if we don’t.”

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