World Mental Health Day – ‘Mental Health in an Unequal World’

World Mental Health Day

The World Health Organisation recognises World Mental Health Day on 10 October every year. 

The theme of this year’s World Mental Health Day, set by the World Federation for Mental Health, is ‘mental health in an unequal world’. Research has shown that, since the beginning of the pandemic, some of the people struggling the most are those who were already facing considerable challenges in their lives.

World Mental Health Day is an opportunity for us to think about, talk about and share our experiences of mental health. 

In our projects we encourage participants to reflect on the things they can do for their own wellbeing as well as sharing the things they have been struggling with, offering creativity and relaxation techniques in a safe environment, and supporting participants to become active agents in their own recovery and wellbeing. We work in a  person-centred way, allowing individuals to go at their own pace. We offer different arts activities to help participants process their emotions and learning, to express themselves, to have fun and to gain a sense of achievement. We work in a collaborative way with the aim of increasing participants’ self awareness, self confidence, social and communication skills.

Some of our Creativity for Wellbeing groups have been exploring and expressing their thoughts on the mental health and inequality theme this week and they wanted to share their thoughts with you in their own words and pictures:

Mental Health in an Unequal World

When you are in hospital with a broken leg or pneumonia you get visited 

by family and friends, you get lots of get well soon cards, maybe even flowers.

When you are on a mental health ward, you may not even get a phone call for days, 

visits are even rarer, and you never get cards.

You are made to feel that being ill is your fault when it is not.

Family and friends may feel ashamed or afraid to help, 

afraid of doing or saying the wrong thing.

Different diagnoses bring different amounts of help and different stigma and stereotypes. 

If you have money you can pay for your own counselling or psychiatrist, 

if you do not you have long waiting lists, you have to fight for help and it may take years.

The benefits system keeps people in fear with endless assessments 

and the threat of benefits taken away as soon as any improvement is made 

instead of supporting people to work in a limited capacity.  

I long to be able to return to work, 

I long for freedom from fear and worry, 

but in an unequal system it often seems impossible.

Sarah

Mental Health In An Unequal World

Having a mental health illness in an unequal world means we face many challenges, so many barriers to overcome. Some of us are already facing inequalities because of our race and ethnicity, sexual orientation and gender identity. This along with the stigma of having a mental health illness means we fight to be heard, to be seen, to be accepted, to receive help and be treated. 

I dream of a world where everyone is treated equally, where discrimination doesn’t exist and individuals don’t have to fight for equality. A place where race and ethnicity is celebrated, sexual orientation accepted and gender not judged. 

I dream of a world where all countries come together like a helping hand. A hand that provides the help so many desperately need. One that enables people to get the support and acceptance, without judgement. One that provides a platform to enable individuals to achieve their hopes and dreams. 

A world where is support is provided for all those with mental health illnesses, as well as their families and carers. Where stigma and discrimination has diminished. A world where human rights are respected and each person is seen as being unique and special. A place where mental health does not affect educational opportunities or job prospects. Where governments across the world provide the funds needed to pay for the mental health treatments so many need, closing the gap between those who are wealthy and those living in poverty.

These shouldn’t be dreams they should be reality. Making a change today, is a small step towards having an impact. An impact on reducing inequalities and improving mental health services to provide treatment and support for all. 

No one should be left behind. 

Rhiannon

These projects have been made possible with thanks to our invaluable funding and support from Ty Canna Mental Health Outreach Services, Cardiff Council, Mental Health Matters, The Baring Foundation, The Moondance Foundation, Mental Health COVID Response Fund, BAVO, InterLink RCT, Llynfi Afan Renewable Energy Park Community Benefit Fund, and The National Lottery Community Fund.

‘Beyond the Label’ Project, World Mental Health Day ‘Diamond’ Film Launch

Blue bird flying high

We are so proud to launch our project ‘Beyond the Label’, working creatively and using Arts for Wellbeing with funding from The National Lottery Community Fund and working  in collaboration with Ty Canna Mental Health Outreach service in Cardiff.

Over a period of three months, from May to July 2020, service users met weekly online to create artwork and writing for an animation that reflects their lived experiences of mental health conditions.

The extra challenges of lockdown meant that collaborators weren’t able to meet in person, but this was overcome to produce this rich and wonderful collection of work, a selection of which was used by Jane Hubbard to create the animation.

As well as this, contributors worked with composer and sound artist John Rea to create individual sound pieces of themselves reciting their poetry, sometimes singing and playing instruments.

Many thanks to contributors: Jen, Judith, Nick, Sarah, Mandy, Maddy, Ellie, Kate

Special Thanks to Lewis Rigley and Ty Canna Mental Health Outreach Service

Facilitators: Katja Stiller and Sarah Featherstone

Animator: Jane Hubbard

Composer and Sound Artist: John Rea

We would like to thank the Lottery for financially supporting this project. 

Community Fund