INTU Lakeside will be encouraging its visitors to stop and chat for Time to Talk Day (Thursday 6 February) as part of the national campaign to start conversations around mental health.
A new seating area outside Flying Tiger, Level 1 has been turned into ‘Chatty Chairs’ where visitors can speak to each other or Thurrock and Brentwood Mind about mental health.
Thurrock and Brentwood Mind are joining forces with intu Lakeside on Time to Talk Day, which encourages everyone to be more open about mental health, by meeting with visitors and staff and raising awareness about conditions such as anxiety and depression.
Visitors will also be inspired by some of the wellbeing and relaxation products by Rituals Cosmetics and Waterstones will have a selection of their health and wellbeing books available to view.
The Chatty Chairs area will host other mental health events at intu Lakeside during 2020 to encourage more conversations between visitors. The initiative is being launched at intu centres nationwide under intu’s strategy to raise awareness of mental health among its visitors and staff.
Howard Oldstein centre director at intu Lakeside, said: “This forms part of our commitment to reducing the stigma around mental health and encouraging more open and honest conversations around mental health and wellbeing.
“intu destinations sit at the heart of communities and reach more than half the UK’s population and so it is important that we support causes that really matter to our visitors and provide destinations that are truly accessible and welcoming for all. Working with important organisations on initiatives such as Chatty Chairs is one way we feel that we can make a real difference to the million people a day who visit our centres.”
As part of intu’s pledge to make its visitors happier, intu Lakeside is currently hosting The Light House Experience until Sunday 8 February, which includes three brightly lit houses that are free to experience and aim to use the psychological benefits of colour to help improve the wellbeing of visitors.
The Happy, Calm and Energise houses feature different colour effects to evoke three different emotions including happiness when walking into a rainbow, calmness when sitting in a silent soft blue-lit room and an energy boost when walking through a glowing, neon-orange charged room.
In December, intu’s chief executive Matthew Roberts signed The Time to Change pledge, a growing social movement run by charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness to transform attitudes to mental health in the workplace.