Last week, many of MHM’s services were busy running events and promoting their work as part of Mental Health Awareness Week 2017 (8th-14th May).
To mark the start of the week, CEO Helen Mackay shared a message exploring the theme for 2017, ‘Surviving or Thriving?’, reminding us that all MHM’s services base the support we offer around what our clients want out of life, encouraging them to use their talents, interests and experiences. Our clients are at the heart of everything we do, and we believe that enabling individuals to live meaningful and valued lives within their communities is key to thriving, not just surviving, with a mental illness. (You can read the whole introductory message from Helen here.)
Many services had a rolling programme of events throughout the week. The South Tyneside Advocacy service ran three workshops across the local area, organised by Donna Apicella, teaching the public about Self-Advocacy. The sessions focused on gaining the skills and confidence to be your own spokesperson when faced with life’s challenges.
Staff from The Recovery Hub in Staffordshire, in partnership with Making Space, were also out and about every day of the week spreading information to the public and ensuring their service is visible across the region – visiting Stafford, Cannock, and Codsall to name a few, plenty of the team got involved (and enjoyed sunny days as a reward!) By setting out their stall in the town centres and near commonly used buildings, they were able to involve many members of the public in discussions about the Recovery Hub and other services could help them to thrive by maintaining good mental health and support networks. Thanks in particular to Belinda, Sam, Kymm, Nick, Michelle and especially to Gurpreet Bains for organising the days.
The Helpline team provide an invaluable service that enables many people to survive and thrive with their mental health, so it was fantastic that some of the team were able to get out of the office and promote the service to the public in Warwickshire and Gateshead. On Wednesday, they set up their stall in the entrance to Gateshead College, promoting the local Helpline to students. This is a particularly important time to remind students of the mental health support available in the area, with the exam season just starting and deadlines looming, leading to stress and unhealthy habits.
Mike and Heather, who work on the Helpline, spent some time at Gateshead College, talking to students, tutors and anyone who passed by their promotion table set up in the foyer of the College. Lots of people took an interest in the service we provide on the Helpline. Over the day they gave out various pens, highlighters pens, mints, sweets, cakes and leaflets with the MHM logo, and the volunteers handed out every card they had with our helpline number on it! They spent all day talking with the students about MHM, the Talking Matters 365 helpline itself, and the support MHM can offer.
Student services also took some of the small carry cards, and posters to display in certain areas of the college to raise further awareness of the service in the Gateshead area.
MHM teams in Easington and Warrington also had informative pop-up stalls – in Easington at the Healthworks centre where they are based, and in Warrington at various venues including the Warrington Carers Centre.
On Thursday the Gateshead Out of Hours service trialled a new type of event, an ‘open evening’ to encourage people to try out the service and see if it might help them – with a free buffet, live music, and demonstrations of some of the crafts and activities which the GOOH group get up to, it’s no surprise that this event was really well attended! Several of the new attendees were encouraged to refer to the service themselves, and we look forward to welcoming them and supporting them on their journey to recovery.
The Head Office team at also got involved with the week’s events. If you happened to visit the office, you may have noticed our ‘wellbeing tips’ board in the lobby, where staff from the Central and Helpline teams were encouraged to share advice which helps them through difficult times. The team also made the most of the sunshine on Thursday afternoon by going on a lunchtime walk, hoping to promote wellbeing among the staff and encourage people to use their lunch break in a healthy and productive way.
We hope that during this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week you got a chance to reflect on how we can all ensure that we are looking after our own mental wellbeing, and that you were encouraged to seek the help you need to thrive. If you think any of MHM’s services could help you, please take a look around the ‘Our services‘ section of our site, and get in touch if you have any questions about how we can support you or a loved one.