“If we work together, mental wellbeing will become a part of everyday conversation and life.”
Avanti West Coast Community Champion, Laura Warwick, shares how she's supporting people's mental wellbeing in Runcorn.
21 March 2023
Avanti West Coast’s Community Champion, Laura Warwick, shares why she’s building connections with local groups and organisations to support people’s mental wellbeing in Runcorn.
Mental wellbeing is something we’re all passionate about and are working to raise awareness of – amongst the community here in Runcorn, and our colleagues across the west coast.
At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, myself, and some members of the team at Runcorn struggled with our mental wellbeing. Talking to one another got us through this daunting time.
However, there seems to be a stigma attached to the words ‘Mental Health’, which prevents people from speaking up and seeking help.
A close relative of mine attempted to take their life in the late 1990s but thankfully they recovered and were given the support and treatment they needed.
I remember the emotional distress, the feeling of not recognising the signs, the feeling of helplessness that my family and I experienced that night. My relative was diagnosed with PTSD and Bipolar. From that day I’ve supported them through their highs and held them through their lows. Talking is one thing that has helped over the years. We have a safe space where we talk about anything on their mind.
If we work together and squash the stigma, mental wellbeing will become a part of everyday conversation and life. People wouldn’t be ashamed, embarrassed, or too shy to reach out for help. For me, education is key.
So, when I learned of Train of Thought – a pop-up exhibition piece created by a self-help art group for adults with mental ill health – I arranged for to be displayed at Runcorn. The response was brilliant!
Being a great visual of how mental health can affect your daily life, it got people talking and thinking differently. It’s why we’re working to make the station a destination in itself – a space to meet and interact.
"We’re working to make the station a destination in itself – a space to meet and interact."
We’ve joined up with peer support group, It’s Good 2 Talk, to use the station’s community room to provide a welcoming environment for people to take time for themselves.
By making connections with local organisations and groups – particularly those associated with mental wellbeing – we hope to play our part to raise awareness, reduce the stigma, and get people talking.
Main image (Left to Right): Avanti West Coast Community Champion, Laura Warwick, with her colleagues at Runcorn station
Images (top to bottom): The Avanti West Coast team at Runcorn view the Train of Thought artwork; Train of Thought artwork on display at Runcorn; Train of Thought artwork