HUNDREDS have taken part in a walk across the city to mark World Mental Health Day.

The event, led by Mind, was attended by Brighton and Hove charities as well as individuals who have been affected by mental health problems. Walkers gathered at the peace statue at Hove Lawns yesterday at 11.45am, to walk to the Unitarian Church in New Road, Brighton.

Danika McElroy, 28, a volunteer for Mind, said: “The walk raises awareness of how mental health impacts on individuals and the stigma they face. We were promoting local services that are available in the area. I have lived with depression. It started ten years ago. I was on holiday in Greece when I suffered a panic attack.

“My head was swelling, I couldn’t breathe and I thought I was dying. I was in hospital in 2014 and received ECT treatment. I had worked in a corporate environment and it was adding to my stress.

“Since I started volunteering at Mind two years ago I have learnt to accept what has happened to me.

“I am now a mental health worker at a care home. Open communication is very important to people with mental illness.”

Michelle Barton, 67, from Portslade, said: “I had a nervous breakdown due to anorexia in 1967. When I was a teenager I wanted to be perfect.

“In those days they didn’t understand what anorexia was, they called it the ‘slimming disease’.

“I was in the hospital for two years. I was admitted to Maudsley Hospital in London where I received shock treatment.

“The staff looked after me really well. I got better but the shock treatment left me with depression.

“I was sent to another hospital but it was very antiquated. I’ve escaped before and once you were sent back there again they punish you. They take away privileges like occupational therapy. I recovered in 1969.”

Marc Edwards, representing The Royal British Legion, said: “We’re supporting people in the Army who are going through post-traumatic stress disorder and trying to re-adjust to society.”

Helen Arnold-Jenkins from Parent Carers’ Council (PAC) in Brighton, said: “I’ve suffered bipolar for 30 years and my 21-year-old son lives with depression. The family fell apart, my son left home seven years ago because he didn’t want to live with me and my younger son.

“I’ve worked really hard to bring the family back together. My son and I are talking now. He says his experiences have made him the man he is now. He has plans to build a career in helping young people with mental health problems.

“PAC pushes for adults who are looking after children with mental health problems. I was behind a project that trialled putting mental health support workers at primary schools. It became a success and now schools across Brighton and Hove are following this model.”