World Mental Health Day: charity Lancashire Mind turns local landmarks including Blackpool Tower blue

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On Monday, Lancashire Mind is out to redefine the term ‘feeling blue’.

In recognition of World Mental Health Day, the North West-based charity is set to cast landmarks across Lancashire - from Blackpool Tower to the Ashton Memorial in Williamson Park, Lancaster - in blue light to highlight the importance of looking after our own and others’ mental health.

With one in four people in the country experiencing mental health difficulties and one in six children aged five to 16 having been identified as having a probable mental health condition, Lancashire Mind is encouraging people to open up and speak about how they’re feeling. As a symbol of their work, they will be lighting up landmarks from Blackpool Tower to the Ashton Memorial in Williamson Park, Lancaster.

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"This year, more than ever before, we want to stand up for better mental health and let people know they are not alone,” says Lancashire Mind’s Helen Fairweather. “There’s so much pressure and stress on people at the moment – the cost-of-living crisis is undoubtedly impacting people's mental health and that’s compounded with the aftereffects of the pandemic.

(From left) Meera Rambissoon, Tommy McIlravey, and Emma Bateson(From left) Meera Rambissoon, Tommy McIlravey, and Emma Bateson
(From left) Meera Rambissoon, Tommy McIlravey, and Emma Bateson

“Poor mental health can make work harder and worrying about money can make your mental health worse; it can feel like a vicious cycle but there is help out there,” adds Helen. “Much of the work we do is about prevention and helping people before they reach crisis point. Raising awareness and talking about mental health openly is a good starting point.

“We’re going blue because blue is the colour of Lancashire Mind [and because] it can also be associated in a negative way and used in terms such as ‘feeling blue’,” continues Helen, with Lancashire Mind encouraging people across the North West to wear something blue for World Mental Health Day and spread the word on social media with #BlueForLancashire.

“We want to challenge and change those thoughts - for us, blue represents a powerful movement of volunteers, supporters, staff, and trustees committed to better mental health for all. We want to get schools, workplaces, and community groups involved and create a wave of blue right across the county.”

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Two people who’ll undoubtedly be donning anything azure come Monday will be best friends Fiona and Jenny, who recently walked the 192-mile Wainwright Coast-to-Coast, raising nearly £1,500 for the charity in the process. Having chosen to support Lancashire Mind in memory of Jenny’s late husband and a close friend of Fiona’s, the Chorley pair completed the mammoth hike across 13 days in September, calling it ‘an experience we’ll never forget.’

Lancashire Mind fundraisers Jenny and FionaLancashire Mind fundraisers Jenny and Fiona
Lancashire Mind fundraisers Jenny and Fiona

“I can’t thank Fiona and Jenny enough for their passion, commitment, and perseverance,” says Emma Bateson, Lancashire Mind’s Fundraising and Communications Lead. “They’ve seen the impact that poor mental health and wellbeing can have on people they care about. It’s not easy to fundraise in memory of a loved one but knowing you are helping others is the driving force for supporting the work we do.

“We simply couldn’t help people the way we do without people like Fiona and Jenny,” adds Emma. “As a charity, we rely on the support of people and businesses across Lancashire; demand for our services continues to grow and income through fundraising is at the heart of us being there for anyone experiencing a mental health condition.”