Mental Health Awareness Week in Hackney

Councillor Tom Rahilly, Mental Health Champion
The Five Ways to Wellbeing are about really simple things that anyone can do to help keep themselves happy and healthy. In a world where we are increasingly juggling our responsibilities, it can be easy to neglect our own mental wellbeing. Stress is a massive factor for a lot of people and I hope that by including one or all of the Five Ways to Wellbeing during Mental Health Awareness Week, people will learn how to tackle and manage stress more effectively, simply through making small changes.
Councillor Tom Rahilly, Mental Health Champion

Hackney council is taking steps to help improve the mental wellbeing of residents as part of Mental Health Awareness Week, sharing some of the everyday ways local people can help themselves.

Mental Health Awareness Week, which will run from Monday 14 – Sunday 20 May, focuses on managing stress, which if left unmanaged can lead to more serious mental and physical health conditions.

The council is promoting the ‘Five Ways to Wellbeing’- a set of evidence-based messages which aims to improve people’s mental health and wellbeing (5 to Thrive is the local campaign funded by City and Hackney CCG). If you give them a try, you may feel happier, more positive and able to get the most from life. The five things that can help to boost mental wellbeing are: connecting, being active; taking notice, to keep learning and to give back.

Every day next week Hackney Council will be sharing ideas and tips on how you can boost your mental health and wellbeing by focusing one theme a day

(Monday) Give – People are being encouraged to do something for a friend or even a stranger, volunteer their time or join a community group. Volunteer Centre Hackney in Dalston offers a range of volunteering opportunities for anyone keen make a difference and meet life goals. People can also become involved with the Dementia Friends Network in Hackney, or pick a favourite charity to support.

(Tuesday) Be active - Going for a walk, run or bike ride, playing a game or even gardening; any form of exercise can make people feel good. The Council’s OneYou programme offers £1 fitness classes for people of all ages and abilities to exercise more. A brisk 10 minute walk every day can make a difference to people’s health by simply walking faster than usual, at a pace that gets your heart pumping. Start with a 10 minute brisk walk a day and then see if you can gradually build up to more.

(Wednesday) Take notice – Being more aware of the present moment, including your thoughts and feelings, your body and the world around you; this awareness is often called ‘mindfulness.’ During Mental Health Awareness Week, City and Hackney Mind will be running mindfulness group sessions and mindful yoga on Wednesday 16 May in Dalston Eastern Curve Garden from 6-9pm. Residents are also being encouraged to become more aware of their surroundings and take pictures of mysterious, odd, interesting or scenic points of interest across the borough.

(Thursday) Keep learning – Developing new skills can give people a sense of achievement and a new confidence. Hackney Museum and Hackney Archives bring local history to life for people with learning sessions on a variety of subjects using maps, objects and stories. Hackney Museum also works in partnership with Hackney Learning Trust to offer courses where people learning English can use the museum to develop their skills. Residents can also visit Hackney Archives to see historic manuscripts, photographs, maps and other information to learn about the Borough’s rich and diverse past.

(Friday) Connect – the fifth ‘way’ encourages people to connect with those around them, whether that be family, friends, and colleagues and neighbours at home, at work in school or in local communities. Building connections help support people in their everyday lives. Evidence shows that good relationships are important for people’s mental wellbeing and building strong and wide social connections can help people feel happier and more secure.

5 to Thrive is a series of events and resources which is being delivered by the Council and voluntary and community sector groups. Residents can get involved in any or all of the 5 steps by taking part in activities or creating their own. Activities include learning about mindfulness, taking part in free exercise classes, reconnecting with neighbours, family and/or friends, or finding out more about volunteering and mentoring.

For more information about the five ways to wellbeing - 5 to Thrive – go to http://fivetothrive.net/

Share your pictures, ideas and tips next week on how you practise wellbeing on social media using the hashtag #MentalHealthAwarenessHackney.