Mad Hatter Tea Party hopes to reduce stigma around mental health in a fun way

Headshot of Shannon Smith
Shannon SmithAlbany Advertiser
ABOVE: Eloise-Mae Varga and Lila Wenzel and, left, kids joining in the fun last year.
Camera IconABOVE: Eloise-Mae Varga and Lila Wenzel and, left, kids joining in the fun last year. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser, Laurie Benson

Mad hats are not just for fancy dress — they are also part of delivering mental health awareness in Albany.

The Mad Hatter Tea Party is organised by headspace Albany to bring together mental health services from across the region.

The event has a serious mission, according to headspace manager Andrew Wenzel.

“The idea is about reclaiming the madness as not necessarily having a bad connotation,” he said.

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He said Albany Town Square would become a hub where people could learn about the services on offer to people of all ages.

“If even one person can find out about a service they didn’t know about when they need help then it has been worthwhile,” he said.

“Agencies are often looking at the services they provide to make sure that they are useful — sometimes funding contracts come and go. Sometimes just because people know of an agency, the services that that particular agency offer might be different this year compared to last year.

“For example, headspace now offers support for people with eating disorders. Sometimes it might help jog people’s thinking if they are concerned about someone else in their life.”

Each agency will have a stall with an example of an activity that can help maintain mental health.

The event falls at the start of Mental Health Week and during school holidays so it can reach as many people as possible.

“It has always traditionally been the last Friday of school holidays so that families can come down,” Mr Wenzel said. “If people are concerned about the stigma around mental illness, and hopefully there aren’t too many of them now, this is a really visible event.”

The tea party will include a competition for the best mad hat.

The free event will run from 10am to 1pm on Friday, October 9 at the Albany Town Square.

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