SIGBI Programme Director’s Blog October 2019

Mental Health and Wellbeing

Well what a year! Having a targeted focus with President Sue’s theme, “Think on It”, has had such a positive impact on the work our clubs have been involved in. It is rewarding to read so many reports that illustrate a steady increase in the number of clubs helping adults of all ages and young people suffering from complex Mental Health problems, making an important contribution in supporting both sufferers and carers in a range of community settings.  Planning is vital if we are to demonstrate how we can make a difference and you have done this so well.  Activities have been discussed with health and social care providers so local needs have been identified. This collaborative approach demonstrates how we can be a powerful force when we target our efforts and work with others to maximise positive client outcomes and enhance service provision locally.

Two examples amongst many of using this approach are demonstrated in the following:

  1. Working with the Befrienders Charity, support was provided to a gardening project at Yarlswood Immigration Centre to enhance the mental wellbeing of detainees who increasingly have behavioural and mental health problems. Prior to starting the project it had been reported the number of women in the centre being sectioned under the Mental Health Act during the previous 12 months had increased from 2 to 14. The improvement of the detainee’s mental and physical health by starting a gardening project was quickly identified. The women were involved in the planning, planting, growing, harvesting and selling vegetables and herbs alongside growing small nontoxic flowers and plants. This project empowers and educates women about all aspects of growing and small crop management giving them skills that are transferable either in this country or other countries if the women are removed and enables them to earn a living.
  2. Sponsoring and running two forums in support of WHO Mental Health Awareness Campaign in San Fernando to both help increase awareness and reduce the stigma of depression in the community. The Project provided both parents and young people with a forum where they were presented with information and professional advice on where and how help could be found. Students used social media to disseminate information to friends to increase awareness of depression and to advocate seeking help.

Quotes from beneficiaries:

  • “All teenagers should be aware of depression.”
  • “This was a helpful opportunity because this helps me deal with my depression.”
  • “I think these forums should be widespread across the country…”
  • “Enlightening, to say the least. Informative.”

Each year on 10th October countries around the world join together to take action on World Mental Health Day. This year raising awareness of the scale of suicide around the world and how to prevent it was launched as the targeted theme on 10th September on World Suicide Prevention Day with the messages being carried through to World Mental Health Day when we are asked to take “40 seconds of action”.

Did you know that?

  • Every 40 seconds someone loses their life to suicide
  • 800 000 people die due to suicide every year.
  • Suicide knows no national boundaries: it is a serious public health problem in high-income countries, and even more in low- and middle-income countries where nearly 80% of suicides occur.
  • Adolescents and young adults are highly vulnerable. Suicides among young people account for nearly a third of all suicides globally, and suicide is the second leading cause of death in the 15 to 29 year age group
  • Suicide rates can be highest in people over the age of 70 years; men are about twice as likely as women to die by suicide.

Visit https://www.who.int/news-room/events/detail/2019/10/10/default-calendar/world-mental-health-day-2019-focus-on-suicide-prevention to find out more and see what you can do as an individual or as a club

It is clear our clubs are playing an important part in promoting improved Mental Health and Wellbeing in our communities ~ what may seem a small activity in a club becomes a big step when the joined-up picture across the federation is seen.

Ladies keep up the good work, when we work together and with other likeminded people we really can make a difference to lives of women and girls.

Rita Beaumont
APD Healthcare & Food Security

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