THE COUNCIL’S social care provider Optalis is aiming to raise mental health awareness by hosting a free wellbeing conference.

The event will take place on World Mental Health Day on Wednesday, October 10 at Cantley House in Wokingham.

Workshops and speakers will provide information about the range of services for mental health support available across Wokingham and Berkshire.

Donna Morgans, employment service manager at Optalis, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for people to find help, support and information from experts in their field.

“As a Mental Health First Aider I know how important it is for people to talk about mental health issues in a supported environment.

“I am pleased that Optalis has been able to contribute funding to support this important initiative.”

The conference will be hosted in partnership with the Wellbeing in Wokingham Action Group.

Events around the globe celebrating World Mental Health Day will focus more specifically on young people’s mental health issues.

Currently it is estimated that 7.3 per cent of young people in Wokingham have mental health disorders.

Two per cent of adults report long-term mental health problems and more than eight per cent reported suffering from anxiety or depression.

In September the West Berkshire Clinical Commissioning Group, which includes Wokingham health services, met at their annual general meeting.

The body is said to be an “area of good practice” for its children’s mental health services after more young people received access to services faster.

However, Chief Officer Cathy Winfield said the authority is trying to reduce the number of mental health patients who are on placements which are out of area by improving its services within West Berkshire.

She said: “We want to have a market for locally based services.

“It would be much better for patients and their families if they are at home.”

The health organisation’s plans for the upcoming year included a greater focus on improving mental health services.