‘I’m a Service User- Get Me out of Here! - World Mental Health Awareness Week
Published by Kerrie Beck for Longhurst Group in Care and Support and also in Communities, Education, Health, Housing
"I'm a service user- Get me out of here!"- National Mental Health Awareness Week
World Mental Health Awareness Week was earlier this month! Eager to spread awareness of mental health issues, Friendship Care and Housing’s (Friendship) Wellbeing Centres across Warwickshire organised fun workshops entitled ‘I’m a Service User- Get Me out of Here!’
A four foot long Corn Snake called Voldemort and a three foot long Indian Ball Python named Monty were there to help people to confront their fears and develop new ways of dealing with stress and anxiety.
People visiting the events had the opportunity to handle the snakes - even some of those who were afraid of them were brave enough to give it a go! The workshops also involved a mystery game in which individuals were challenged to put their hand inside a box and describe what and how they were feeling. In response to their emotions, advice was given on how to process anxiety, and remain calm in stressful situations.
“Often the best way to deal with fears is to meet them head on!” said Gary Bromley, a care service manager in Warwickshire. “So we thought World Mental Health Awareness week would be a great opportunity to encourage people to come along and learn new ways of dealing with stress and anxiety.”
Friendship staff also spent mornings in libraries in Bedworth, Nuneaton and Atherstone, offering advice on mental health issues and promoting books on prescription for various illnesses including eating disorders, anxiety and self-esteem.
During the week staff challenged visitors to make a Wellbeing Pledge, and encouraged them to do one thing during the week to improve their wellbeing and make them feel happier. Staff also showcased the ‘Five Ways to Wellbeing’, developed to increase positivity and promote a healthier lifestyle; Connect, Keep Learning, Be Active, Give and Take Notice.
The week ended with a session on relaxation, during which people were taught effective breathing techniques. With the help of some calming music, these can be put into practice when feeling anxious.
“Many people surprised themselves with their own bravery, especially those who came into contact with the snakes!” says Gary. “Everybody is going away having learnt a new way to deal with stress in a positive way.”