It’s Mental Health Awareness Week this week (14th May) and the theme this year is Stress.
Homelessness and mental health problems can be a vicious cycle. Sometimes mental health problems can lead to homelessness and the danger, stress and violence of life on the streets can eventually lead to mental ill health too. A 2009 report from Crisis found that homeless people were almost twice as likely to experience a mental health problem as the general population. This is why it is so important for people affected by homelessness to be supported with their health and wellbeing, not just with their housing and money issues. Here at Providence Row we run activities to help people ‘recover’ and ‘progress’ from homelessness, as well as mental health and substance misuse issues. This week we're holding a series of sessions and activities to raise awareness of mental health and start conversations with people about their mental health and wellbeing.
The Mental Health Foundation (who run Mental Health Awareness Week) have produced a wealth of resources this year, with some fantastic tips on how to beat stress and improve your mental health. We wanted to share some of these tips with you in this blog, as well as explain how we’re also using them here to help our clients reduce their stress levels.
1. Talking about your feelings
Talking to someone can really help relieve stress. With this in mind, we have recently launched a counselling service for our clients, every Wednesday morning.
2. Taking a break and having a change of scene.
When people come to our centre they can get a cup of tea and relax for a while in our courtyard garden. We find this can really help people experiencing stress. We also offer Relaxation sessions every Monday morning to help people learn techniques to deal with stress and anxiety. Our gardening club every Tuesday is also a great way to do something different, get a change of scene and improve your wellbeing.
3. Keeping a healthy diet
What you eat can have an impact on your wellbeing. Providence Row provides lunch for people taking part in our learning and wellbeing programme and our chef Simon takes the time to make them as filling and as healthy as possible (sometimes even including 5 of your 5 a day of fruit and veg).
4. Reducing drug and alcohol use
Substance misuse can have a significant impact people’s health and wellbeing. Providence Row’s Reset service is a free service for people in Tower Hamlets who want to reduce or stop their substance misuse.
5. Enjoying yourself
Taking the time to participate in activities you enjoy can make a big difference to your wellbeing and reduce stress. The Learning and Wellbeing Programme activities (including Art, Music, Film, table tennis and much more) gives the people we work with the opportunity to do something fun, reignite old skills and discover new talents. It’s also a great way to connect with other people and build new confidence and friendships.
6. Doing something for someone else
Doing something good for someone else is also a great way to boost your own wellbeing. We run a peer mentoring programme here at Providence Row, giving people who have used our services in the past, and those with lived experience of homelessness, an opportunity to use their knowledge, skills and experience to help people experiencing similar circumstances. Our peer mentors often comment on how they enjoy helping others.
Find out more about our learning and wellbeing activities.
For more information on Mental Health Awareness Week and to download resources visit. www.mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/mental-health-awareness-week/resources