A North East business dedicated to supporting those affected by mental health problems is encouraging people to push the issue to the front of their minds.

Advent Advocacy, based at Darlington’s Lingfield Point, is hosting a ‘#TimeToTalk’ event to raise awareness and share tips and advice about how people can improve their mental health and support others.

The event, taking place at Lingfield Point on Thursday, February 7, is part of the nationwide ‘Time to Change’ campaign, which aims to combat stigma associated with mental health issues.

Lindsey Martin, operations director at Advent Advocacy, said: “We want to get people talking about mental health the same way that they’d talk about physical health.

“For instance, you wouldn’t think twice about saying to someone “I’m not feeling well, I’ve got a bit of a cold and it’s been hanging round for a couple of days” but you’d be less likely to say “I’m not feeling very well because I’ve got anxiety”.

“The #TimeToTalk event is about bringing together individuals, employers and businesses to destigmatise mental health, to get it into the narrative and language so it becomes casual and people feel empowered to be able to disclose mental health difficulties and get the support and the understanding that they need.”

The event will take place from 10am until 5pm on Thursday, February 7 in suite 16 at Lingfield House, Lingfield Point.

Eddie Humphries, estate manager at Lingfield Point, said: “Our business park is home to more than 50 businesses that collectively employ more than 3,000 people.

“The sad reality is that, according to statistics, one in four people will suffer from a mental health related problem at some time.

“The work Advent Advocacy does is hugely important and we’re delighted to support such a vital initiative.”

The event’s main sessions will be held at 11am and 3pm but people are encouraged to drop in whenever suits them.

The advocacy team will also be fundraising throughout the day, with snacks and drinks available to purchase and fun quizzes. All money raised will be donated to Darlington Mind, which provides support and recovery services to people suffering from mental health problems.

Lindsey added: “Our work involves visiting everywhere from hospitals, residential units, schools, universities and the wider community. We’re delighted to bring people together to help give them a voice.

“We want to encourage as many people as possible to come along, find out more about mental health and help us on our mission.”

Advent Advocacy was launched in 2007 and delivers nationwide independent advocacy to a range of vulnerable people, including those with learning disabilities and people who are detained under the Mental Health Act.

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