Bringing communities together to break down barriers surrounding mental health

6 November 2023

Local NHS mental health trust, Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, and St Denys Activity Group, who support mental health in the community, have come together for a second year running to jointly host a mental health awareness event in Southampton on Saturday 25 November. All are welcome to attend.

Following on from the success of last year’s event, St Denys Activity Group, supported by Southern Health, are continuing to support the local community to raise awareness and address cultural attitudes towards mental health. This event is designed to bring local communities together to break down barriers to talking about mental health and to encourage open dialogue in discussing mental and offer local support to those in need.

The event will be officially opened by The Sheriff of Southampton, Dave Shields, and will feature keynote speaker Lou Taylor, leader of Black History Month South CIC, spearheading various initiatives and events in the city. Under his leadership, Black History Month South CIC has flourished, becoming a beacon of cultural celebration and education in the community.

Lou Taylor says, “Black History Month South remains committed to promoting mental health awareness, providing resources, and supporting individuals within the Black community, it’s crucial that we continue to engage in open and honest conversations surrounding mental health and the unique challenges that individuals in our community may face."

Ron Shields, Chief Executive of Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, will set the scene for this event. He says, “I’m very much looking forward to welcoming people to this important event, raising awareness of the importance of mental health, talking about it and accessing the range of services we have in Southampton to support those experiencing mental health illnesses, whether it be from the NHS or local community services”.

Anne Cato, Founder of St Denys Activity Group, says, “Southampton has a diverse range of communities including those from Black and Ethnic Minorities, which have different understanding and opinions of mental health problems, often leading to them rarely recognised or spoken about. This event is a great opportunity for the communities to come together and discuss how they can support people experiencing mental health, start conversations and get access to support. We are really hoping to see as many people as possible.”

The event will also feature presentations on understanding medication from Dr Raj Shergill, Lead Pharmacist at Southern Health, hear from the enhanced mental health primary care teams working directly with GP practices to offer mental health support, as well as two carers from the St Denys Mental Health Carers Group will share more on the support they get from being involved in the carers group.

The event takes place on Saturday 25 November at The Victory Centre 154-156 Portswood Road, SO17 2NH from 09.30 – 2pm. To book a free place or for more information, either visit email:, or call: 07399 877 141

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