Mental Health Awareness Week

As it is Mental Health Awareness Week I wanted to share something with you.

As many of you may well know, I have suffered with mental health issues for many years and have undergone numerous therapy sessions.

My condition worsened a year ago which resulted in a suicide attempt, a long period in hospital and a period of rehabilitation which is ongoing.

I have experienced a transformational period in the last few months having joined a peer to peer mental health support group as a volunteer. It’s been a life changing experience, chatting to a diverse group of people with a range of issues.

We have a diary of activities which include cooking, arts and crafts, computer skills and quizzes. It’s all very ‘easy going’ and some participants choose just to sit and chat and listen.

With a life spent in hospitality I have been able to share some of my cooking skills with the group and to consume the food we prepare for a friendly lunch.

It’s a drop-in centre at Wallace House in Evesham operating on a Monday morning and offers help, support and advice for those in a more immediate crisis. In general, it provides a vital and welcome service for many. Most importantly, I suppose, it’s a hugely cohesive and supportive group.

As part of the experience I have completed Mental Health First Aid training and now have some experience in one-to-one mentoring.

Sadly, we have learnt recently, that funding from our current source is to be suspended with effect from the end of this month.

We have been considering options for a way forward because we are very determined to find a solution to continuing the group and the future is appearing less bleak! We have been offered space at Evesham and District Mental Health Service, in Church Street, Evesham for the same time on a Monday. It has the space to carry on our various activities. We truly want to make this work but as you may have guessed, there are financial issues which will need to be resolved ongoing and we need to source a longer term funding solution.

One of the group attendees has put forward a title – C.A.M.E.O. – Come And Meet Each Other – which, to me sums up the group.

Looking forward, we will be looking for volunteers for the group and, once we have settled in we will be welcoming new visitors.

We currently have visitors to the group from Mental Health Services. Our group is viewed by them as being a shining example of ways to assist those with mental health issues and it is very much hoped our success will provide an inspiration to others.

So it’s all about support, creating awareness and funding.

1 in 4 UK adults suffer from a mental health problem each year. Part of the reason for writing this might be there’s a high chance someone reading, in the area, is directly suffering or is close to someone who is.

Please contact me if you would like to support this important issue in any way.

Thanks for listening.


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