Every year, World Mental Health Day is held on 10 October and is a chance for people to talk about mental health in general, how we need to look after it, how important it is to talk about things and get help if you are struggling.
The theme for this year, as set by the World Federation for Mental Health, is ‘making mental health and wellbeing for all a global priority’ and we couldn’t agree more.
Of course, we don’t just raise awareness of mental health and wellbeing for one day on 10 October. Here at Launchpad, we are constantly raising awareness of the work we do to support the mental health issues of our residents.
Many of the residents living at Launchpad’s three houses in Newcastle, Liverpool and Durham present with mental health issues, ranging from anxiety to service and non-service-related PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder). Some need help with addictions such as gambling, alcohol and drugs.
We have specialist case workers at each house who are trained to help residents with their mental health and provide one-to-one support. We encourage residents to talk about problems and issues they are experiencing, and to take part in activities that support their mental health and wellbeing.
We work with lots of partners who specialise in providing mental health and wellbeing support such as Change Grow Live, Crisis Skylight, Project Nova, Op Courage, Talk Liverpool and The Life Rooms to name but a few. We are very grateful for their support and the work they provide to our residents.
We have also engaged with Northumbria and Sunderland Universities, where we invited Occupational Therapy students, as part of their degree courses, to undertake 6-10 week work placements at Avondale House and Hollyacre House. They worked with the veterans by involving them in several activities such as breakfast clubs, nature trail walks and baking and spending time engaging with them for chats, which they appreciated.
Mindfulness, arts projects, music lessons and outdoor sports and recreation are just some of the programme of activities we encourage residents at all three houses to participate and engage in to improve their mental health and wellbeing.
Examples of activities that have been organised include cycling, white water rafting, alpaca trekking, fishing, veterans’ breakfasts, walks, quiz and games nights, visits to the gym, day trips to various attractions, gardening and working in the allotment.
David Shaw, CEO and Founder of Launchpad, said:
“It is important to talk about mental health and it’s good that there are global campaigns such as World Mental Health Day and Mental Health Awareness Week, which helps to keep this important issue at the forefront of people’s minds.
“The mental health and wellbeing of our veterans is of utmost priority, and we encourage our residents, in an environment they are comfortable with, to talk about how they are feeling. Our specialist case workers and project co-ordinators play a very important role in engaging with residents to support them and encourage them to participate in activities to keep them active and positive. The feedback we get from the residents is really positive and they often comment that having a chat over a cuppa or participating in the activities and events are stimulating and good for their mental health.”