Glen Saville, Margaret Purcell and Lauren Purcell joined many other DENNY Foundation volunteers last week to raise awareness about mental health by wearing morph suits, and red and blue wigs.
They and a dozen other people donated their time on World Mental Health Day to serve sausages on blue bread for up to 100 young people in MacCabe Park as part of the DENNY Foundation’s outreach work.
They also walked through Crown Street Mall handing out chocolates to passers-by to help raise awareness about mental health.
The Purcell family know just how important the issue is after losing a member of their own family when he was just 25.
‘‘It is special for us because my brother, Denny [Dennis Purcell], passed away on October 1 [several years ago] so to have the whole month of October to raise awareness is good,’’ Lauren Purcell said.
The DENNY Foundation visits MacCabe Park with its Streetbeat vans every Thursday.
Margaret Purcell said it was not the first year they had tied that mission into Mental Health Month.
‘‘We did a little bit last year but we upped the ante this year because the stigma that is still around mental health is really quite strong,’’ she said.
The mother and daughter covered their faces, reflecting how mental health in the community was still often hidden.
Lauren Purcell said the fact that so many youth and passers-by did not know who was inside the morph outfits drummed home how anyone could be affected by mental health issues.
‘‘We want to help take people away from the stigma side and know it is about a whole spectrum of disorders,’’ she said.
That could range from postnatal depression to bipolar.
‘‘People don’t know who we are so we could be anyone in the community. It is interesting, if we do funny things in these outfits people don’t know how to take it.’’