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Swimmers gather at Marine Lake for a cold-water swim

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Dawn til dusk celebrations mark World Mental Health Day

At 6.15am on Wednesday 10 October in Clevedon, a crowd of around 50 swimmers gathered at the Marine Lake for a cold-water swim. The dip marked the start of the Warriors of Wellbeing’s Dawn til Dusk event to celebrate World Mental Health Day.

Warriors of Wellbeing is a collaboration between Avon & Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust (AWP), North Somerset Council, Second Step and other local charities supporting mental health and wellbeing. Their aims are to raise awareness of mental health issues, reduce the stigmas attached, promote wellbeing and encourage those who find themselves struggling to seek help.

The dawn swim, hosted by Swim Pigs and Swimmable, highlighted the health benefits of cold-water swimming as well as treating the hardy participants to a perfect sunrise over the Clevedon skyline.

The day culminated in a mindfulness meditation on Clevedon Pier as the sun began to set. The value of relaxation for supporting good mental health has long been established. The amassed group, now well in excess of the 80 who participated in the mindfulness, began a lantern-lit parade from the pier to the Salthouse Pub, kindly led by the Ambling Band. The parade gathered interest and more followers as it made its way along Clevedon seafront.

The day was rounded off with a seminar on the history of mental health at the Salthouse Pub led by AWP’s Consultant Psychiatrist, Dr Tiff Earle and AWP Involvement Co-ordinator Steve Budd.

Dr Earle, who took part in the swim said: “Jumping into a cold lake in the early morning of an October day is not something I ever thought I would do, but I have to say it was exhilarating and certainly gave me a boost.

“We wanted the events in Clevedon to give people the chance to boost their wellbeing and to think about their mental health, whilst enjoying the activities. It was great to see so many people join in and I hope we have helped to raise the profile of mental health conditions and help to reduce the stigma associated with mental health.”

Cllr Jill Iles, North Somerset Council’s assistant executive member with responsibility for public health, said: “I’m delighted so many people took part in the Dawn ‘til Dusk events, particularly those hardy souls who braved the Dawn Dip on a cold October morning! Events like these, and others run by the Warriors of Wellbeing, are so important for raising awareness about the issues of mental health. The more we can talk about mental health and the ways in which we can help each other, the quicker we can end the stigma associated with having a mental health diagnosis and encourage more people who find themselves struggling to reach out and ask for help.”

Warriors of Wellbeing would like to thank all those involved, in particular the Salthouse Pub for being so accommodating.

Warriors of Wellbeing is a collaboration between North Somerset Council, Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership  and local charities supporting mental health, who want to change how the wider community view mental health. They now have over 20 partner organisations and recently celebrated Mental Health Awareness Week  in May with the Feelgood Festival held in  Weston super Mare. The festival is already booked for Saturday 18 May 2019 to return bigger and better. They have raised more than £3,000 for local mental health charities.