Independent mental health support organisation SpeakUpCIC held an event on Tuesday (May 16) to mark Mental Health Awareness Week (May 15-21).
The event was attended by more than 40 people with lived experience of mental health illness and took place at the Margate Media Centre where SpeakUpCIC hold peer support groups and activities to help improve people’s health and wellbeing.
The theme of Mental Health Awareness Week this year is ‘Anxiety’ and the event included art and craft activities to promote the positive benefits of mindfulness, helping to better manage anxiety.
Activities included a doodling workshop led by Rachelle Francis, creator of the ‘With and Without Diana’ project as a legacy to her mother who used doodling to help manage her mental health.
Other activities included beaded bracelet making, poetry reading and a postcard competition where participants shared their feelings in words and pictures to depict what anxiety means to them.
Participants also enjoyed the opportunity to meet and talk with each other to share experiences and personal coping methods. Peer support plays a highly effective role in improving mental health by connecting people with others to reduce social isolation and the feeling of being alone while enabling them to give as well as receive advice and support from those who understand.
Deputy Mayor of Margate Rob Yates and council deputy leader Helen Whitehead attended the event and enjoyed chatting to SpeakUpCIC members to gain a better understanding about peer support groups and creative activities and the important role they play in respect of helping people to better manage their wellbeing.
Managing Director and SpeakUpCIC Founder Maggie Gallant said: “We are really pleased with the number of people who were able to join us to mark this important week. “Unfortunately, anxiety affects so many people and impacts heavily on people’s wellbeing, not just mentally but physically too.
“We have noticed a marked increase in the number of people experiencing higher levels of anxiety, especially since the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown period, which has impacted on us all.
“Thanks to everyone who joined us and shared their experiences and to our volunteers for their help in running activities; it was lovely seeing everyone enjoy themselves.”
As well as providing a wellbeing support service, SpeakUpCIC represent the service user voice by collecting and taking forward feedback based on experiences about mental health services to help improve and shape service provision.
For further information about SpeakUpCIC please contact:
email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Tel: 01843 448384 or 07543 977670
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