It should be smiles all around in Parramatta’s Church Street Mall today, with health experts enticing people to relax.
Mental health professionals will be in the mall reaching out to shoppers and residents as part of a special event called Flourish Festival.
The event has been organised to raise awareness of mental health issues during Mental Health Month.
‘‘Over a million Australians a year are affected by a mental illness so it’s vital that we all make time for things which build up our personal resilience for when life gets tough,’’ NSW Institute of Psychiatry director Ros Montague said.
The theme for the month of health promotions is ‘‘Celebrate, Connect, Grow’’.
Dr Montague said the aim was ‘‘to encourage people to think about their mental health and embrace the relationships and activities that give their lives purpose and meaning’’.
Mental Health Minister Kevin Humphries said events this month were an opportunity for people to break the taboo around mental health.
‘‘Mental Health Month provides the perfect opportunity for people to reach out to one another and talk about mental health, and in doing so help to break down the stigma and discrimination that people with mental illness face every day,’’ he said,
Activities to promote wellbeing including yoga, drama workshops, drumming, Bollywood dancing and knitting will take place in the mall during the day.
Parramatta Eels players will also be at the event talking to people.