Chairman calls on residents to help end the stigma attached to mental health

Residents are being urged to join the Chairman of Malvern Hills District Council in pledging to challenge the stigma attached to mental health as he completes a 130mile fund-raising trek.

Cllr John Raine will finish the final leg of his ten day Hike for Health and Happiness on Saturday (10 September) when he arrives in Malvern Town Centre about 1.30pm.

As well as addressing visitors to The Greater Malvern Show, being held in the Lyttelton Rooms in Church St, he will also urge people to sign the Time to Change pledge, setting out how they will play their part in ending the stigma and discrimination attached to mental health.

Cllr Raine started his journey last Thursday (1 September) with the aim of covering every ward in the district. The challenge is not only designed to raise money for three Malvern based mental health organisations – Jigsaw, Positive Thoughts and Link Nurseries – but also to raise awareness of the subject and challenge perceptions around it.

Cllr Raine, Chairman of Malvern Hills District Council, said: “Incredibly 9 out of 10 people with mental health problems experience some sort of stigma or discrimination. We all have a role to play in creating a society where people are not ashamed to speak out about their problems and are not left wondering where to turn to for help.

“That’s why I hope as many people as possible will join me on Saturday to pledge to do their bit in ending the stigma and discrimination around mental health.”

Cllr Raine’s wife Susan, fellow councillors, council staff, police and friends have joined him on the journey as he stopped off at various landmarks around the district, came face to face with some angry cows, played an organ recital or two and popped into local schools to speak to pupils.

On Saturday (10 September) Cllr Raine will be joined by an unusual walking partner in the form of Jim Trainer, the mascot from Freedom Leisure who runs the council owned leisure centres in the district.

Dave Pugh, Freedom Leisure Area Manager, said: “The Chairman’s Hike for Health and Happiness is a great event because it not only supports a very worthy cause but also highlights the many benefits of physical activity. Walking is a very simple way to keep active and as operators on behalf of the council, of three leisure centres in Malvern, we are proud to support John as he hikes past Sport Dyson Perrin Leisure Centre on Saturday – Jim Trainer will have free fitness passes for local residents joining that leg of the walk, to help encourage people in Malvern to keep active.”

To see pictures from some of Cllr Raine’s adventures to date, follow @Hiking4Health on Twitter or check the Malvern Hills District Council Facebook page.

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