Positive signs for World Mental Health Day

Health / Mon 3rd Oct 2016 pm31 02:48pm

Mental Heath OctMONDAY 10th October is World Mental Health Day and Harlow Council’s Mental Health Champion Cllr Ian Beckett says it’s time that we saw the day as a day of celebration.

“I’m pretty sure that celebration is probably the last word that springs to mind for most people” says Cllr Beckett, “but the whole basis of the campaign day is about changing attitudes. That includes the attitudes of people with mental health problems, their support workers and family, the general public and the media”.

Next Monday, Cllr Beckett will be speaking at “A Celebration Around Mental Health and Well-Being” at Sawbridgeworth Memorial Hall. One of the key themes is stimulated by sentences beginning with the words “I feel better when…”. The event is organised by The Centre of Well Being which provides the space and the contacts to enable people from all walks of life to pursue their personal ideal of complete wellbeing.

This kind of positive approach built around a community hub is something Cllr Beckett is keen to support and promote. “It’s something that’s also evident in the mission statement of Mind in West Essex” say Ian, “It says that they ‘support people affected by mental ill health to make positive changes in their lives and to improve their emotional resilience’ – again a really strong emphasis on positivity”.

Mind’s mission is reflected in many of the services they offer such as Friendly Faces, Social Spaces: inclusive community groups for those on their journey of recovery from mental ill health providing friendly, sociable activities and events; Keep Growing: a new volunteer project providing opportunities for gardening, and working on a vineyard in a beautiful, peaceful rural setting; and Befrienders: enabling people to do the things they want to do that will help improve wellbeing, offering conversation and companionship, and helping people to feel included in their community.

Cllr Beckett has spent the summer getting to know some of the individuals and organisations providing mental health support and services in and around Harlow and trying to help build network between them. “I’m also really keen to educate myself about the complex areas of mental health. I’ve completed a twelve week distance learning course about Dementia and hope to do one focusing on Autism in the New Year” says Ian, “and next month I’ve signed up to do Mind’s ‘Mental Health First Aid course’ which teaches people how to identify, understand and help a person who may be developing a mental health issue. In the same way as we learn physical first aid, Mental Health First Aid teaches us how to recognise those crucial warning signs of mental ill health and signpost people to the appropriate support agencies”.

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