Mental Health Awareness week has been hailed as a success, with more than 1,300 people directly interacting with events, organised by Halton Borough Council and partners.

Events included a UK first with an innovative #SidewalkTalk project never before seen in the country.

Halton hosted a number of FREE events showcasing some of the many services and organisations around Halton which can provide support for achieving good mental health.

Halton’s Mayor at the time of the events and attended several, Cllr Ged Philbin, said: “It was great to see so many people getting into the spirit of the event and we really hope it has had a positive effect on people’s lives, here in Halton.

On the opening day at Runcorn Shopping Centre he officially opened this year’s event.

The team from Halton Borough Council’s Health Improvement and Runcorn Shopping Centre were supported by Citizen’s Advice Halton, Venus Charity, Anita Morris and Murray the Owl from Hackback, Mental Health Outreach team, Kooth, CAMHs, Child Bereavement, IAPT, Papyrus, Amparo and SEND Partnership.

There were lots activities and information for people to come along and talk about mental health and wellbeing.
They were at Runcorn Shopping Centre every day Monday 8 May to Friday 12 May.

On Monday 15 May there was a FREE Family social event at The Studio in Widnes, featuring music and drama.
Local support services were on hand at the event to support the Health Improvement Team. The team at The Studio provided free hot food on the night.

More than 20 local primary schools entered our Great Halton Bake Off contest, encouraging pupils to bake one of our healthy treats with their parents or carers.

Each school chose a finalist who baked their treat at the live final at the Select Stadium, which was judged by the Mayor.

Baking is a great way for children and adults to share time together and talk about how they are feeling so it was seen as a wonderful way to encourage our schools and children to take part in Mental Health Awareness Week.

Later that week they were at Widnes Indoor Market on Wednesday 17th May and Thursday 18 May, again supported by local organisations and encouraging people to come along have a chat and discover the range of support available.

For Mental Health Awareness Week in 2016 we launched our #maketimehalton campaign. Based on the five ways to wellbeing, it gives you loads of ideas to help you to maintain and improve your own mental health and wellbeing. Something as simple as going for a walk, a chat with a friend or relative or doing something nice for someone can have real benefits to your mental health.

You can find more information about the Maketime campaign here:

In support of Mental Health Awareness Week Riverside College students and teachers (on the counselling degree course) organised Community Listening events in Runcorn and Widnes. Community Listening involves taking chairs out into the community and inviting members of the public to just sit and talk – about anything they choose.

Listeners do not give advice or make judgements, they just listen with empathy, listeners may also sign-post people to Mental Health services if there is a need.

Students joined together with a USA based charity called Sidewalk Talk that is a community listening project that started in 2014. The goals of Sidewalk Talk are to promote positive mental health through community listening events.

Watch this space for more information for further developments.