WET weather conditions failed to dampen the spirits of about 200 people who turned out to support the mental health wellness open day in Savusavu Town yesterday.
The event, aimed at spreading awareness of mental health diseases and healthy coping mechanisms, was a collaborative effort of the Ministry of Health, stakeholders and volunteers.
AusAID volunteer and occupational therapist Andrea Herwig said there was a need to work together to spread the gospel of mental health awareness to educate people on the illness.
"This is the first event of its kind to be held in the area and we have collaborated with relevant authorities to reach out and educate people on the illness," Ms Herwig said.
"With the lack of mental health facilities here in Vanua Levu, it's only proper for relevant authorities and the public to come together and discuss ways of controlling the illness.
"At least, this open day will bring about a change on people's mind-sets towards treating patients of mental health."
Ms Herwig said they also filed surveys to know the community's baseline knowledge, attitude and practice because it pertained to mental health and wellness.
"Screening for non-communicable diseases was also conducted; biscuit decoration was also an activity provided, which allowed for stress relief through creativity and also diabetes awareness discussions.
"We hope to have more of this sort of event in future because this is one way of helping the Health Ministry increase its awareness on mental health."