SOUTHAMPTON Master Chef winner Shelina Permalloo shared some of her celebrated dishes at an event to encourage people to talk more openly about mental health.

The event was part of national Time to Talk Day with the theme this year of ‘Recipe for a good conversation’.

Partners in the Anti-Stigma Group Southampton - including Time to Change; Solent Mind, Radian Homes, No Limits, Samaritans, Southampton Voluntary Services, Carers in Southampton and Southampton City Libraries – shared information about services that people can access if they have concerns about their mental wellbeing. Last year, the council signed up to the Time to Change Employer Pledge to show its support for mental health and wellbeing among staff.

Shelina, who runs the Lakaz Maman restaurant, said: “Talking to others about mental health can sometimes be tricky. Food is a great way of bringing people together. That is why I’ve put together some delicious recipes for people to share and have a chat with each other about mental health and get some free advice from the charities,”

Cllr David Shields, cabinet member for community health and wellbeing, said, “Mental health and wellbeing is now a national priority. It is important to ask your friends ’how are you doing?’ if we sense something is wrong, and be a good listener.

Angela Etherington, of Time to Change said: “When we think about the ingredients of a good conversation, listening and being open are essential. For someone who may feel isolated and alone, a chat with a friend can make such a difference and that is why Time to Talk Day is so important.”