CHELSEA FOUNDATION TACKLES MENTAL HEALTH STIGMAS

Stamford Bridge opened its doors to local residents to mark World Mental Health Day with a fun afternoon in west London.

Fans from across the borough visited the Bridge to take part in the World Mental Health Day event, which included workshops, discussions, street dancing, Zumba and Capoeira classes.

There was also an exhibition of art created by members of mental health charity MIND in Hammersmith and Fulham, as well as live performances from local school children and bands.

'We were offering a variety of different activities that would engage the local public,' explained Michael Cole, London development manager.

'We wanted to get people in by enticing them with these activities and then give them the information on mental health issues. Hopefully they have learned something they never knew before.'

Workshops on the stigma attached to mental health took place throughout the afternoon and attracted a lot of attention from local fans. They discussed how stigmas surrounding mental health can affect peoples' lives and society as a whole.

'There are lots of misconceptions about what exactly mental health conditions are,' said MIND mental health officer Jon Redmond.

'There is also a lot of fear in society about mental health conditions, so we're trying to get people to talk about it, normalise it and show how it's quite common for all of us to have some level of mental health issues at some point in our lives.'

Organised by volunteers from Chelsea's Kickz project, the event included a speech from Alex Tambourides, chief executive officer from Hammersmith and Fulham's MIND.

'This event has been incredibly important because every single one of us has mental health,' said Tambourides.

'In one way mental health problems arise from the fact that people don't actively manage their mental health. World Mental Health Day is about getting that basic message out there that everyone has mental health and some people have mental health problems.

'Hopefully everyone has enjoyed the afternoon and had a good time. It's vital to get this message across and working with Chelsea gives us a chance to bring a big message to a big crowd.'