Mental Health Awareness Week

Mental Health Awareness Week

It’s Mental Health Awareness Week and this year’s theme this year is Loneliness. Over the last 12 months we’ve regularly worked with over 1700 people in our community. The last couple of years have seen many people experience loneliness for many reasons; living alone, having a long-term health condition or disability, being unemployed, a carer or an older person.

Social isolation and loneliness impacts on our mental health making it harder to connect and escape negative thoughts, especially as we deal with the aftermath of the pandemic.

We have certainly seen that reflected in the way people find themselves referred to us or find their own way to our activities.  However, there’s been a real change in how people feel in themselves and with others.  It’s amazing the difference coming together makes – across all our strands of our work Arts, Care, Movement and Play, we’ve seen how people are happier, feel part of their community and want to help even more people understand and improve their mental health.

We’re proud to help people on their journey, whether that’s bringing people together for a coffee, doing physical activity or creating art together. We’ll keep doing it and if you haven’t yet, do join us to have some fun and feel better!

In the meantime, here are some stories from our community highlighting how our work makes a difference:

Stories from our Community 

                                    

Mr Davis

Mr Davis lives alone in a one bed flat near Kings Cross. He attends Millman Street three days a week. Mr. Davis likes the discipline of waking up early for the Day Centre minibus and he says he enjoys coming here as there is always something happening. Mr. Davis is registered blind so he appreciates the practical support he receives from staff and volunteers at Millman Street with his lobbying of TFL.

 

 

 

 

Carer’s Art Group

Throughout the year we run a weekly art group for unpaid carers living in our community. Supporting between 8 – 12 people each week, the group provides a vital network for those attending, giving them the chance to come together with others who have similar experiences and share advice and ideas over a cup of tea. 

Alongside the social and supportive aspect of the group, termly art tutors bring a wealth of different creative experiences and skills. The use of art for self expression is valued by the group, with many saying that having ‘me time’ is so rare, and gives precious respite from their caring duties which can be emotionally and physically challenging. 

Alongside the weekly group our arts team regularly provide individual support and signposting to other services for participants, as well as checking in on those who may not be attending. 

“I went out for a run yesterday, first one since Xmas and I know it’s the engagement with the art class that has motivated me to engage more with myself. So I want to thank you again for not giving up on me, it really means the world.”

– Simon, participant

 

CRAZY: A Mental Health Arts Event

We love hearing about what our team are up to outside of work hours! Recently, our care-taker John who is an avid rock musician played alongside a poet at the event CRAZY: A Mental Health Arts Event (Allies Art Club) which was an evening of art, music and poetry around topics related to mental health.

The event also included a panel discussion with mental health experts discussing issues such as mental health stigma, mental ill-health, self-care and the importance of art and community for mental wellbeing. All profits raised from the event went towards the project to support people’s mental health through the arts. A huge well done to all involved!

 

 

 

Youth Arts for Wellbeing

We have worked with 22 young people aged 13-24 on our new Youth Arts for Wellbeing program led by a wonderful team of volunteers. Participants have explored different arts techniques such as lino-cut and mono-printing, textiles, illustration, acrylic painting and collage and clay sculpture, exploring their own identity and wellbeing through mark-making, colour and texture.

The group said that the sessions made them feel ‘calm’ ‘relaxed’ ‘excited’ and they have reflected on what they have got out of the process:

“It has improved my social skills and bettered my mental health as I have issues with anxiety and depression and this really helped”

“I learnt to show my emotions in artwork”

“Being happy with my art even though it’s not perfect”

‘To be able to use different mediums to express an image of myself”

Thank you to our fantastic team of volunteers who have supported this program: Helen McCormack (from Hands on Hearts, www.handsonhearts.net) who worked with the group to make their own bunting chain, to celebrate the importance of our community pulling together, Rhiannon Thornton who supported young people to design and sew their own face-masks and UCL Arts for Mental Health Project students who ran a 12 week creative program exploring mental health and identity.

 

 

Alan Spence

Alan lives on his own in a one bed flat in Bloomsbury. He likes to attend the centre, because he gets the chance to meet other people and socially interact with them. Living on his own, attending the Day Centre gives Mr. Spence the chance to go outside. With the patio at Millman Street, he enjoys strolling through the garden, looking at the flowers. Mr. Spence says that the Day Centre helps keep up his spirits and he appreciates all the help he gets from the staff and volunteers.