VIDEO: Residents unite to challenge the stigma of mental health

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A pop-up village featuring entertainment and a cinema took over Blackpool town centre to help raise awareness of mental health issues.

The event was organised by Time to Change, England’s biggest mental health anti-stigma campaign, and saw hundreds flock to find out more about those issues as well as enjoy the entertainment on offer.

The "Time to Change" event in St John's Square, Blackpool. The flash mob co-ordinated by Urban Dance.

The "Time to Change" event in St John's Square, Blackpool. The flash mob co-ordinated by Urban Dance.

Fire eaters and stilt walkers encouraged members of the public to pay a visit to the event, which took place on Friday.

Karen Machin, Time to Change regional coordinator for the North West, said: “We’ve been really amazed by the enthusiasm of so many different organisations in Blackpool, all wanting to get involved in this event to challenge stigma and discrimination. It’s great to see everyone working so well together and it made for an exciting and successful day.”

All of the areas of the pop-up village were specially designed so that people without mental health problems could enjoy the activities and learn more about mental health from people with a personal experience.

A pop-up cinemas showing films about mental health disorders also formed part of the day’s activities, while a notice board was also posted up so members of the public could leave suggestions as to how best the stigma over mental health could be tackled.

The "Time to Change" event in St John's Square, Blackpool. The flash mob co-ordinated by Urban Dance.

The "Time to Change" event in St John's Square, Blackpool. The flash mob co-ordinated by Urban Dance.

Among the performers on the day was a flash mob of 70 people, organised by the Urban Dance project.

Urban Dance’s Michelle Ramsey said: “It went amazingly and it was a really good turnout.

“We got everybody up dancing with us.”

Coun Ivan Taylor, Blackpool Council’s cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “Mental health problems affect many people in Blackpool and stigma and discrimination is sadly a very real issue. We want to tackle this and feel that this event, which encourages social contact between people that do have mental health problems and people that don’t, is a fantastic way of dispelling the stigma.”

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