World Mental Health Day Round-up

At SIG, World Mental Health Day was celebrated in a number of ways throughout the group.

The first SIG virtual Tea and Talk was held on Thursday 8th October. Great conversations were had, with topics ranging from family dynamics during lock down to coping with the different demands on our time. All agreed that it was good to talk and compare notes, which reinforced that we are all just still finding our way and that there is no ‘right’ way to be.

At Biscot House, a creative event was held on Friday 9th October. During the event, Service Users discussed the pros and cons of the different types of mental health support they have received especially during COVID-19, and how their mental health has been. They drew images as a reminder and a visual keepsake that they can look at from time to time. Everyone enjoyed the activities and stated that painting/writing calms them.

Bridge House held an ‘Afternoon Tea and Time Out’ on Friday 9th October. The ladies contributed to the cakes and one resident baked a pizza.

Discussions centred around emotional wellbeing and anxiety caused by the pandemic. All current Service Users have small children and are or have been pregnant during the Pandemic.

This is what they had to say:

“It has been difficult for me during the pandemic sharing accommodation, but we have felt like one big family getting through it together at times.”

“I was anxious being pregnant and did feel alone as I had to give birth alone with my first child. But I knew my support was on the phone.”

“I was scared at the beginning of COVID and returned home to my ex-partner. It wasn’t my best decision and so I came back to Bridge House and was welcomed back by staff. I feel safe here with my children.”

staff and Service Users from Holman House decided to host an activity, tea and talk day. This was held at 12 pm on Friday 9th October in their updated lounge and was thoroughly enjoyed by all. Conversation flowed amongst staff, Service Users and guests, whilst enjoying delicious cakes and pastries, generously donated  by local vegan cake shop, The Vardo.

This was followed by a keenly contested Nintendo Wii ‘competition’ amongst the lads.

All agreed that the event was a resounding success and had helped them to focus on something positive for a change.

Residents at Focus celebrated the day on Saturday 10th October.

Many residents had expressed that they use music to help them cope with their mental health, hence the decision was made to paint a musical instrument as a symbol of hope on World Mental Health Day.

The main event involved our amazing staff supporting residents to use the opportunity to participate in dub poetry, drumming and soundscape art.

Sound samples were used and divided into two genres. One was related to human emotional expression using music and the other related to environmental sounds. The residents chose different coloured paints that matched their mood, to create and finish the guitar art project. Residents had a great time drumming and laughing as they expressed their musical creativity with pride.

The day was filled with fun and laughter, with plenty of food and refreshments. The residents remain the proud owner of the masterpiece acrylic guitar painting and all their artistic contributions were rewarded with praise and encouragement from staff.

The New Hope service recognised the day with several planned activities. These  included; making decorations, preparing finger foods with Service Users and a quiz. One of the Service User also contributed by baking a cake, which was decorated in green and yellow. The food was laid out in the lounge and Service Users collected it individually to observe social distancing.

Penrose Synergy hosted their event for Service Users and staff at their  Office in Luton, on Thursday 8th October.

Mindfulness

There were mindfulness sessions for Service Users to attend  on a pre-booked one to one basis with Support Worker Nadine Morehen and Synergy Support Lead Jaqueline Forsyth. Service Users were received in a tranquil setting with scented candles and lanterns and comfortable cushions.

Talk Table

A ‘Talk Table’ was covered with quotes, images and other artwork about mental health. Staff engaged Service Users in  a ‘Talk’ which involved reading  mental health quotes and sparking discussion with them around their thoughts and feelings about their own mental health or mental health in general. The main discussion focused on the significant isolation that COVID has had on many people which has led to deterioration in mental wellbeing. Coping strategies were discussed, and Service Users were informed about external services that offer weekly social and welfare telephone calls.

Service Users and staff wrote thoughts and quotes on blank papers which were placed on the Mental Health Day Bunting. There were some wonderful, thought provoking quotes from all who attended.

The day was a resounding success and reinforced the importance of taking the time to commemorate  World Mental Health Day.

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