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Woodwork . . . Timaru Mental Health Support Trust general manager Juliette Stevenson (left) and woodworkers Lorraine and Jonny are preparing for the trust's Mental Health Awareness Week open day on September 26. PHOTO: GRETA YEOMAN

by Greta Yeoman

Activities abound for Mental Health Awareness Week next week.

The Timaru Mental Health Support Trust is set to host an open day on Thursday, September 26, at the trust’s King St address.

Trust general manager Juliette Stevenson said the open day, which would begin at 9am, would include woodwork, sewing, craft and arts projects – all of which the trust generally offers to clients at Victoria House.

There would also be a display of work created by clients, Mrs Stevenson said.

This year’s Mental Health Awareness Week theme is “Explore your way to wellbeing”, which tied in nicely with the trust’s work encouraging people to pick up new activities, Mrs Stevenson said.

It would be a chance for people interested in being referred, or self-referring, to the trust to come along and see what it was about, as well as opening the facility to the wider public to see what went on, she said.

There would also be a free lunch, which people had to pre-register for by calling (03) 688-8889.

Arowhenua Whānau Services is also set to host an event, on Wednesday, September 25, at Arowhenua marae.

Activities will include Warrior Princess workshops – which would include journalling exercises, focus on social skills, Maori games and mindfulness activities – as well as harakeke (flax) creations with weaver Sally Reihana, and MindfulMe exercises with Christine MacFarlane.

Representatives from He Waka Tapu trust in Christchurch would also be attending to talk about their services, including Hey Bro helpline for men who feel they will harm a loved one.

There will also be rock painting, colouring in and other crafts – plus kai.

Mrs Stevenson said the Timaru Mental Health Support Trust was “pretty steady” with its numbers of clients, but it kept them “pretty busy”.

She said Mental Health Awareness Week was a good time for the wider community to examine ways to improve their own mental wellbeing.

“As a community we’re getting better at recognising mental illness .. and the stigma is reducing,” Mrs Stevenson said.

The events at Arowhenua marae will run from 9.30am to 2.30pm on September 25, while those at Victoria House will be available from 9am to 3.30pm on September 26.