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New mental health campaign rocks

A pebble painting trend which has taken the world by storm has arrived in Fenland with the launch of a new campaign aiming to raise awareness of mental health

Richmond Rocks

Richmond Rocks was launched by March-based mental health charity Richmond Fellowship earlier this month to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week, with support from Fenland District Council's Active Fenland team and Everyone Health.

The idea is to paint pebbles with messages or images letting people know it's ok to be open about mental health. The pebbles are then hidden in local parks for others to find. Anyone who finds one is encouraged to take a photo and post on social media with the hashtag #RichmondRocks, before re-hiding it.

The first rocks were hidden during the charity's mental health awareness walk in West End Park, March, with some already being found and re-hidden.

The rock-painting craze has already proved popular elsewhere in Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Essex, as well as America and Australia.

A new weekly walk has also been launched by the charity and Active Fenland as part of the campaign. Walk & Talk allows individuals to talk about mental health issues without judgement and get active at the same time. They are held every Tuesday between 11.30am to 12.30pm from the Richmond Fellowship offices in Dartford Road, March.

Clare Huntley, Peer Support Co-ordinator at the Richmond Fellowship's Fenland Wellbeing Service, said: "We hope people feel inspired by #RichmondRocks and get involved by painting pebbles to spread uplifting messages and images, and going on walks to find them.

"We'd also encourage people to join our Walk & Talk events. Walking is a great for improving wellbeing. It is a well-known fact that exercise reduces anxiety and depression, relieves stress and improves sleep.  Walking as a group also promotes interaction and discussion for everyone and helps to reduce isolation."

Heidi Lemmon, Physical Activity Locality Co-ordinator at Fenland District Council, added: "The great thing with the Richmond Rock campaign is that anybody can get involved in finding and re-hiding one of the rocks. Plus it provides a sustainable activity as the rocks continue to be hidden somewhere new each time. The weekly Walk & Talk walk is open to everyone, run by a friendly volunteer walk leader who will take you on new routes each week- you might even find a Richmond Rock on your journey!"

For more information and support with mental health difficulties contact the Richmond Fellowship Wellbeing Service on 01345 654715 or visit www.richmondfellowship.org.uk

Article added June 6, 2018