06 Oct BLOG: Make Mental Health and Wellbeing for All a Global Priority
“I would like to emphasize that every one of us matters. We all have a voice – let’s use it to make the world a better place.” – Professor Gabriel Ivbijaro MBE, Secretary General, WFMH
This year’s theme for World Mental Health Day on Sunday 10th October is ‘Make Mental Health and Wellbeing for All a Global Priority’ set by the World Federation of Mental Health (WFMH). The day provides an opportunity to increase conversations surrounding mental health; how to look after ourselves and others, how to spot the signs and symptoms, and most importantly how to be more inclusive and reduce stigma within our community.
According to Dr Nasser Loza, President, WFMH, “In high income countries over 75% of people with depression have reported that they do not receive adequate care and in low and middle-income countries over 75% of people with mental health conditions have received no treatment at all.”
At Oakleaf, we feel it is incredibly important to relay the message that no matter what, support is out there. Help is always available, whether that be through Oakleaf, your GP, friends and family, crisis lines or emergency support services like the Guildford Safe Haven. However, as individuals and a society as a whole, we can always be doing more to raise awareness and help prevent mental ill-health in our communities.
Moreover, we would like to dedicate this article to recognising, celebrating and sharing the stories of four wonderful individuals who have gone above and beyond to support the Oakleaf community.
As part of the Oakleaf Community Awards 2022, our award winners: Jon, Jacki, Marina and Jacqui are clients who have been nominated by both clients and staff members for their outstanding contribution towards achieving Oakleaf’s objective of improving the lives of people managing mental ill-health in Surrey.
Jon Davies – Outstanding Volunteer Award:
“I took up counselling with Oakleaf because there were some issues going on for me at the time. I had gone through a particularly rough patch. The help and support that I’ve received from Oakleaf has been absolutely fantastic. The thing I love best about being on reception is just meeting new people. Every week, there’s always somebody different coming through the door, and it’s my job to try and make them feel at ease.”
John has a lot of patience and he’s really understanding, two qualities you need to have on the reception desk. At Oakleaf, we have a lot of vulnerable clients coming in and calling on the phone, and John is always there supporting people. He shows up week in and week out and is very willing and happy to help out whenever and however he can.
“I don’t do volunteering for the recognition of it, I do it because it gives me an immense amount of satisfaction. But it’s always nice to receive recognition for the work that you do, and it makes me want to carry on and do even more.”
Jacqui Mckenna – Mental Health Peer Support Champion, Employment:
“I have been here for quite a few years now and I have been doing IT. I also joined the employment project where Mike Over [Oakleaf Employment Advisor] has helped me so much with getting qualifications, interview skills and all those things. I now have a part-time job in a care home.”
Jacqui is extremely supportive of others. She makes time to help clients in our IT department with logging on, understanding the questions, helping some people contact tutors to get the right answers. She has put others ahead of herself on many, many occasions.
“Winning this award means a lot to me. I was really shocked when they said I had won because I didn’t know that I had done anything specific here to help others, but I do try to help others all the time, even when I don’t really know I am.”
Jacki Pantera – Mental Health Peer Support Champion, Wellbeing Activities:
Jacki supports clients during our online wellbeing activities. The reason she won is that a lot of clients nominated her because she had supported them in the sessions. To be a peer support champion you need to be kind, caring and empathic. You need to have a real understanding of the importance of listening to others and to not put your emotions in front of them, and Jacki shows a real willingness to help and support others and to be there for them.
“Coming to Oakleaf is just what I needed to help with my anxiety and my loneliness. I felt very isolated and joining Oakleaf changed that. I’m just being me, and I like helping people. If I can give advice from my own experience and it helps them, then that’s even better – something good comes out of something bad. So, I’m more honoured than anything else about winning this award.”
Marina Harkins – Oakleaf Community Hero Award:
Marina has been a fantastic help with the wildlife activity that we run online. Traditionally, she was a part of the activity as a client, which she would attend weekly. It then became apparent that she had previously been a teacher in wildlife and so as a part of building up her confidence, she offered to start volunteering and running these sessions.
“I just pick a different topic each week; I started off with birds of prey which is the subject that I know most about, then I did something on snakes and something on bats. It’s important for everybody to get outside and get into nature because you can lose yourself in it and of course, with the world as it is nowadays, more and more people need to be aware of how wonderful our wildlife and the natural world is.”
She’s welcoming to everyone but also really informative – people usually go away each week with random facts about foxes or hedgehogs or something. Marina has been really fundamental in building up that sense of enjoyment through nature and sharing that with others.
At Oakleaf, we always encourage clients to share their stories to remind others that they’re not alone in the challenges they’re facing.
You can view the full videos of our clients’ stories here.
The premise behind #WorldMentalHealthDay also aligns with Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England’s hopes to create a society where everyone’s mental health matters. MHFA is an internationally recognised training course which teaches people to spot the symptoms of mental health issues, offer initial help and guide a person towards support. Oakleaf provides MHFA training both in-person and online. To find out more, please click here.
If you or someone you know is struggling, please make use of the resources below:
SABP Crisis Helpline: 0800 915 4644
Samaritans: 116 123 (24 hours)
Mind: How to Find a Therapist
Citizens Advice: 03444 111 444 (Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm)
Surrey Safe Havens: 6-11pm, 365 days a year
Here at Oakleaf we will continue to do all we can to improve the lives of people managing mental ill-health in Surrey, to promote awareness and to create a stigma-free community where mental health matters.
If you are able to make a donation to Oakleaf and help fund vital mental health and wellbeing support, please click here. To all those who already support Oakleaf – we can’t thank you enough.