FAMS annual event at Strathclyde Park helps get people chatting about mental health

Lanarkshire charity FAMS held its annual flagship event at Strathclyde Park on Sunday.

The Let’s Walk and Talk About Mental Health event coincided with World Mental Health Day for the first time.

In previous years the FAMS event has been held a month earlier on September 10; World Suicide Prevention Day.

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Those attending braved the somewhat chilly autumn weather to listen to a variety of speakers, some of whom shared their own mental health struggles with issues such as alcohol and drug addiction, or who had suffered abuse. Others had struggled to come to terms with the loss of a loved one.

FAMS co-founder Ann Marie Cocozza, left, with MSP Clare Adamson
(Image: FAMS)

Among the speakers were television presenter Amy Irons who lost her partner Wayne Ewer to suicide; Gillian Urquhart, director of the Moira Anderson Foundation; footballer David Cox; and Wiktoria Orlicka, Member of the Scottish Youth Parliament for Wishaw & Motherwell;

Motherwell and Wishaw politicians Monica Lennon and Clare Adamson were also among those in attendance.

FAMS co-founder Anne Marie Cocozza explained the thinking on the change of date this year.

She said: “As the crisis in mental health support deepens , this global event was about raising awareness to a whole new level.

The event coincided with World Mental Health Day
(Image: FAMS)

“The speakers were all great and there for the right reasons, to help other people. Giving up a Sunday afternoon at short notice.

“David is so open about his battles.

“Amy lost her boyfriend Wayne to suicide in 2018. She spoke about helping Wayne with his fight with mental health issues, and her own battles after he died.

“We decided to have it on this date as mental health is the precursor to lots of issues including suicide and addiction.”

MSP Monica Adamson, left, with Wiktoria Orlicka, MSYP for Wishaw & Motherwell who was a speaker at the event
(Image: FAMS)

FAMS was originally formed in Wishaw but now operates from a permanent base in Orbiston Street, Motherwell.

The charity was initially set up to support people and families affected by suicide and murder but more recently broadened its network to help anyone. It raises awareness of mental health issues and has its own FAMS.chat service for those in distress.

Speakers at the FAMS event
(Image: FAMS)

It provides compassionate, non-judgemental, unique, free and confidential “lived experience” peer-support and is manned by specially trained volunteers.

FAMS can be contacted at 01698 717424 or email: info@fams.chat

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Daily Record – Motherwell