PAINTED pebbles are being hidden for people to find in a bid to “brighten their day”.

In a project to promote mental health, people are being invited to paint rocks with positive and uplifting messages and hide them for others to find.

Occupational therapists are backing the scheme and running art classes where they and their patients are painting pictures, words or inspirational quotes on the pebbles.

The rocks, called OT rocks, are being hidden around hospitals and the wider community.

The luckiest pebble-hunters who find special golden rocks around Sussex Partnership hospitals will win a prize.

Louise Vinton, professional lead occupational therapist for West Sussex, said: “The idea is very simple, search for hidden painted rocks and re-hide them somewhere else.

“You can also paint your own rocks and write #OTRocksSPFT on the back for others to find.

“We hope that when people find these rocks it will help to brighten their day.”

Approximately one in four people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year.

In England, one in six people report experiencing a common mental health problem – such as anxiety and depression – in any given week.

According to mental health charity Mind, the number of people who are self-harming or have suicidal thoughts is increasing.

A recent Freedom of Information request revealed more than 1,500 students at the University of Sussex are attending counselling.

It also showed the number of people coming forward with general mental health difficulties has quadrupled in four years.

This week is Occupational Therapy Week, which aims to promote the value of the profession across the UK.

Occupational therapists provide practical support to adults and young people who have a range of physical and mental health conditions.

Their work facilitates recovery and helps people continue to do the activities and jobs that are most important to them.

This year’s theme is “small change, big impact”.

Organisers say it highlights and celebrates the “huge impact” that occupational therapists can make to the lives of patients and communities they work with.

To look at the pebbles which have been painted and hidden so far, search #OTRocksSPFT on social media.

Sussex Partnership provides specialist mental health and learning disability services for all ages across Sussex, and for children and young people in Hampshire.

To find out more about its services go to www.sussexpartnership.nhs.uk.