We’re passionate about mental health here at Wild Goose. Mental wellbeing. Stress. Whatever you want to call it. Everyone has a mental health, it’s just that some people struggle with it more than others.
Saturday 10th October 2015 is World Mental Health Day. A day when there is a global effort to raise awareness of mental health issues. It gives people a chance to talk about what needs to be done to provide effective mental health care for people world-wide. This year’s theme is Dignity in Mental Health.
There’s loads of things going on around Yorkshire. The first ever Feardom Fighters Festival is happening in Leeds and promises to help people confront their fears and build support networks. Volition will running an event on Thursday 15th October where there will be stalls, information, entertainment and activities from mental health providers across the region. Love Arts Leeds is also a fantastic month-long series of events which use the arts to talk about mental health. There’s also loads of national things going on too. Time to Change lists events going on across the country, and a quick google search in your area will bring up loads!
There’s still a huge black cloud over the words “mental health”. I know from personal experience. Many of the people we work with also tell us that people treat them differently as soon as they mention the words. It’s time we took action. With stress now a significant reason for absence from work (Mind, 2015) and 1 in 4 people likely to have a mental health problem in any given year (Mental Health Foundation, 2015) it is more important than ever that we tackle the stigma, start talking and support people.
Wild Goose was founded because I had a bad patch about 4 years ago. I suffered from anxiety and horrible horrible stress and spent far too long on a waiting list for talking therapies – but I didn’t want to take medication either. I wanted to take control of my mental health myself. Over time, I started to realise that the things that made me happy had a common theme. I started to notice that I was my happiest when I was out walking my dog, going for a picnic or sketching the trees. They were all outdoors! I read loads and got trained in Ecotherapy, which work with nature to help people to feel better. And Wild Goose was born!
I share my story at all of our sessions. I think it’s important to talk about mental health. Talking about it helps to break down the stigma. Talking about it helps people know they have support. Talking about it helps people to know they’re not alone.
Our Campfire Conversations and Woodland Wellbeing programmes are free workshops that help people to manage their mental health. They’re designed to help people relax and spend time away from the situation that causes them stress. Research from Stanford University has proven that being outdoors is good for you and that it can lead to reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression.
We’re a social enterprise which means we use our profits to run free sessions to help people manage their mental health.
If you’d like to read more about the lived experience of mental health there’s two lovely people I’d like to recommend to you!
1. This blog by the lovely Liz Smith
2. And this one by wonderful Lauren Hayley.
We’ll be smiling and waving at the Volition event in Leeds on Thursday 15th Oct and The University of Leeds event on Monday 12th Oct so come and say hello!