Albany Mad Hatter Tea Party to promote important mental health message

Headshot of Sarah Makse
Sarah MakseAlbany Advertiser
Headspace's Carl Heslop, Connie Ruffo, Natalie Jarvis, Jorgie Stonham and Esther Scott.
Camera IconHeadspace's Carl Heslop, Connie Ruffo, Natalie Jarvis, Jorgie Stonham and Esther Scott. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser

The Albany community will dust off their wackiest hats this Friday to celebrate mental wellness and put a spotlight on the local services available to help people experiencing mental health challenges.

The seventh annual headspace Albany Mad Hatter Tea Party will bring local services together in Albany Town Square from 10am in a bid to reduce the stigma of talking about mental health and reaching out for support.

Marking Mental Health Week, the free community event will feature live music, activities, free cupcakes and a best mad hatter competition.

Headspace Albany manager Andrew Wenzel said since the service started 12 years ago, the team had seen a gradual increase in the annual number of young people seeking help.

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“We know the hardest part of getting mental health help is that first step, whether that is ringing someone or going into an agency to ask about what they do,” he said.

“The event is a really easy way for someone to come down and find out what is available, whether that is an individual thinking about wanting to get some mental health help or families worried about a family member.”

Mr Wenzel said the event was about reminding the community to take care of their mental wellness especially during a time when COVID-19 was adding pressure to everyone’s daily lives.

“The other really important part of it is to celebrate mental wellness and the things we can do as individuals to maintain good mental health,” he said.

“We are aware of what things we need to do to maintain good physical health, like exercise and eating well, but sometimes people aren’t quite as aware of the kind of things we can do to maintain good mental health.

“This is really about trying to promote mental wellness and reduce the stigma associated with having mental health concerns and reduce the barriers to seeking help.”

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