Mindfulness chocolate eating sessions and making stress balls were among activities when council staff took part in World Mental Health Week.

Three Rivers District Council celebrated World Mental Health week by organising wellbeing events for its staff on October 8.

Among other activities, staff had an opportunity to take part in mindful chocolate-eating sessions where the staff were encouraged to relax and shut their eyes, listening to soothing music, whilst holding a chocolate and being present with the taste and feel of the treat.

Other sessions included making stress balls, mindfulness colouring, physical MOTs and the chance to dress up to take pictures with the selfie frame.

Later that week the staff were also offered massages and tai chi sessions to help them relax even further.

Gary Cook, mechanical & electrical engineer, said: “I enjoyed taking part in the mindfulness session. Colouring-in helped take my mind off work and relaxed it - an interesting discovery. I just concentrated on the colours, forgot my surroundings, and was just present in those moments. Completely relaxed, exploring my senses and enjoying the colouring come to life.”

Mental health awareness has become a worldwide movement with people being more aware and more likely to look after their own mental health and understand other people who are struggling.

Lara Crisp, mental health first aider, said: “I am a mental health first aider because I want to help people and increase mental health awareness. I am non-judgemental and recognise the signs and symptoms of mental issues. It is important to spot any signs of colleagues departing from their usual behaviour and be there for them.”

Cllr Sara Bedford, leader of the council, joined the sessions. She added: “There are many diverse challenges facing people from family relationships to social pressures. The mental health first aiders are effectively raising awareness plus guiding and supporting staff through any mental health issues. We are offering knowledge, skills, care and support to our staff which they in turn can use on their family and friends.”