DEPRESSION and anxiety is high on the list of children’s concerns.

Social workers and councillors heard of youngsters’ mental health struggles at the launch of a new pop-up shop in Swindon town centre.

The Brunel Centre shop will host around 30 organisations over the next week, with a programme of activities aimed at relaxing people and promoting positive mental health.

At a launch event, 16-year-old Lucy Neate read a poem documenting her own struggles with anxiety.

The Bradon Forest School pupil said: “I wrote it based on my own personal experiences with mental health. I just thought of everything that’s gone on in my life.”

North Swindon girl Lucy has suffered with anxiety for a few years. She found that talking to people about the problem helped. She had a message to other youngsters facing similar feelings: “Just reach out to people who are there and be honest about how you feel.”

Dozens of young dancers from the PQA performing arts school bopped to upbeat pop music at the event. Principal Dee Thompson said: “They feel very strongly about mental health. They wanted to support the event.”

The upbeat dance routines had been choreographed with mental health in mind. Dee said: “The teenagers are all going through all sorts of things. They come to PQA as a sort of release. They can come and relax and have fun.”

Running until Sunday, the pop-up shop has been coordinated by Swindon Borough Council. Volunteering manager Charlie Paradise said: “We’re here all week from Tuesday to Sunday afternoon. We’ve got 30 different organisations involved, running different activities each day.

“We’ve got everything from table tennis to free poetry sessions to free writing sessions with the library, People are coming down here doing arts and crafts like making bird boxes.

“It’s all about being active or doing things you like, things that take your mind off the stresses in your life. They’re all positive activities to encourage people to look after their health. Everything has mental health and it’s important that people look after it.”

Councillor Brian Ford, cabinet member for adults health, said: “Mental health is often swept under the carpet. It’s an illness the same as if you had cancer or a broken leg. It’s an illness and it needs to be brought out into the open.”

Attending the event with Swindon Libraries’ book bike, librarian Leon Flower said: “What we can do to as a library service to support mental health is quite a lot. If people are looking for information about absolutely anything we can point them in the right direction.” The library stocks a number of self-help books, he said: “We don’t know everything, but we do know where to find the answers.”

Where is the new pop-up shop?

The Headspace Pop-Up Shop is in the Brunel Shopping Centre, next to Buzz Gym, until Sunday, May 20.

What's happening and when?

Tuesday, May 15

1pm-4pm. Supported Employment and IPSUM. Free arts and crafts session themed around nature; paint a bird box.

4pm-6.30pm. Family Head Space. Learn about mental health in a child-friendly space. Free.

Wednesday, May 16

9.30am-1pm. Lift Psychology. Free stress and relaxation courses with trained staff from Lift.

1pm-4pm. Swindon Advocacy Movement. Computer club for SAM service users. Volunteers on hand to explain how SAM can help those with learning disabilities' mental health.

5pm-6.30pm. Swindon Libraries. Free drop-in writing workshops and story time sessions.

Thursday, May 17

9.30am-11am. Active and Inclusive. Table tennis and other activities.

11am-1pm. Baby Steps and Family Nurse Partnership. Advice session on looking after your baby's wellbeing.

1pm-4pm. Open Door. Volunteers on hand to talk about how they support people with learning disabilities.

4pm-6.30pm. Threshold Housing. Free poetry workshops.

Friday, May 18

9.30am-1pm. Phoenix Enterprise. Learn about what Phoenix offers, including their back to work programme and help with benefits.

1pm-4pm. Swindon Mind. Free interactive games and activities linked to the 5 Ways to Wellbeing.

4pm-6.30pm. Teen Head Space. Interactive session aimed at teenagers or parents worried about mental health.

Saturday, May 19

9.30am-1pm. Citizens Advice. Free advice and support.

1pm-4pm. Swindon Circles. Drop-in session to find out more about the charity.

4pm-6.30pm. Threshold Housing. Free poetry workshops.

Sunday, May 20

1pm-3.30pm. Health Ambassadors. Meet the health ambassadors, who can book free one-to-one support for anyone over 16 registered with a GP.

For a full programme of events, visit: