Volunteers and users link up for mental health day
A MEETING of minds from a mental health charity and Swindon Council marked World Mental Health Day yesterday as people formed a human chain.
Setting up shop at the Wyvern Theatre throughout the day, the team from Swindon Mind joined the LIFT Psychology team and ambassadors from the council to launch the Time to Change campaign in Swindon.
Service users were invited to see the benefits of the national campaign, including the Five Ways to Wellbeing, which act as markers to a more settled life for people with mental health issues.
Volunteers and service users formed a chain across the Wyvern bridge to show their solidarity with the campaign and others around the country.
Mark Smyth, CEO of Swindon Mind, said: “Swindon’s Time to Change is about engaging with people and talking about mental health without stigma and discrimination.
“It is from the National Economic Foundation and is an evidence-based idea that these five steps are the way to well-being.
“Connect means connecting to other people and being active, to keep on learning and take up something new. That can be as simple as fixing your bike or starting a college course. Giving can be as small as giving yourself to a friend or family member when they are in need. Ways to recovery at Swindon Mind include volunteering to help give something back.
“To take notice is sometimes quite a difficult one to get across to people, but it is about being able to reflect on what is going on around you.”
On the day people were encouraged to share their experiences through writing, drawing or just talking to someone new.
“We are encouraging people to draw and write about mental health,” Mark added. “It can be poetic but mainly just thoughts about people’s experiences of their own mental health.”
Frances Mayes, public mental health ambassador with the council, said: “These events are absolutely brilliant. We have supported the event fully.
“We know that if you have a mental health problem you are far more likely to be a victim of crime than a perpetrator of it.
“There are over 30,000 people with mental health problems of some description in Swindon at the moment.”
Vicki Angood, volunteer event director at Swindon Mind, came out of hospital early so she did not miss the event.
“I had a breakdown in January, and having gone from that to today is really emotional for me,” she said.
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