by Hannah Chamberlain, Enablement Lead, Inclusion Barnet
World Mental Health Day takes place on 10 October, and for 2021 we will be highlighting “mental health in an unequal world”.
The relationship between unequal access to advantage and mental ill health is complex. Social disadvantage and mental ill health chase each other in a vicious circle. Inequality not only exacerbates the disadvantages inherent in managing a long term condition, it can cause the onset of mental ill health. At Inclusion Barnet, the issues of disability in a world that is intrinsically unequal is something that interests us on a local, national and a philosophical level as we seek to represent the values of radical inclusion.
Inclusion means not just opening the mainstream fold to people who have been traditionally excluded. It means removing barriers to inclusion that come from inequality, deprivation, disability, poverty, addiction, marginalisation. It removes those barriers in order to provide the same privileged access that the majority have. There are instances where inclusion means to create more open access and privileged pathways to people who have traditionally been excluded than those who are already included. Inclusion can mean creating unequal access opportunities in order to level the playing field.
Let me give you an example.
As a DDPO (Deaf and Disabled Persons Organisation) we are led and staffed by peers and people with experience of disability, long term conditions and mental health conditions. We privilege and value their lived experience, and this is reflected in our hiring processes where candidates are specifically asked how they will apply their lived experience of disability or marginalisation in the role.
This selection process means that we are best able to represent people who have been marginalised or less privileged due to disability, mental health and inequality. The insight we have gained as a staff body, via our lived experience of disability and marginalisation is an asset, not a weakness. Turning those lived experiences into strengths is what Inclusion Barnet, and its sister consultancy, Inclusion Unlimited, does on a regular basis, by working with people, using their insights, harnessing their voices and expertise.
Just because the world is intrinsically unequal shouldn’t mean that we as individuals, as social groups, and as politically engaged citizens, don’t seek to level the playing field. Smoothing an access ramp for a wheelchair is a political act. One that seeks to create a more equal society. Campaigning for a fairer disability benefits system, a mission we are currently engaged in, likewise levels the ground.
We can seek for equality – and for positive discrimination – in the realms of race, sexuality, disability, gender, education, housing, addiction, and mental health. We gain as a society by including expertise and lived experience from people who have learnt the hard way that mental health is harder in an unequal world. We gain – we all gain – advantage from it. The way to do that is to privilege the people who are most commonly disadvantaged. It is not only the mental health of others which will benefit from this. Radical inclusion benefits us all.
World Mental Health day events:
Date: Friday 8th October
Time: 11am to 3pm
Venue: The Meritage Centre, Hendon, London, NW4 4JT
During the day they will be sharing stories from people who have faced challenging times with their mental health, and things they have done to promote recovery. They also have wellbeing activities which can help us all with mental health.
Registration for this event is required, as they will be operating within a Covid friendly environment.
www.Kooth.com offers free, safe, anonymous, online, same-day mental health support, advice and counselling for 10-18 year olds. They work alongside you to provide an alternative means of support, an ‘out-of hours’ ‘safety net’ and community that anyone can benefit from whether they’re already receiving emotional wellbeing support or not.
Kooth are running an intro workshop with their new service for over 18’s – Qwell.
. Sign up & find out more here
Thrive LDN’s World Mental Health Day 2021 activities [beginning 27 Sept]: To mark World Mental Health Day 2021, Thrive LDN is organising a festival of activities co-developed with young Londoners called Never Alone LDN. Young people are encouraged to come together for a range of film screenings, live music performances, creative workshops, and panel discussions, all held at Rich Mix, east London. The activities look at how young Londoners can come together to overcome the challenges we face and reflect on the experiences of young Londoners during the pandemic. The programme will see four separate free-to-attend events and highlights will also be streamed through Thrive LDN’s YouTube channel on WMHD.
- Walking Out of Darkness charity walk: On World Mental Health Day, Thrive LDN is a supporting partner for mental health charity CLASP’s Walking Out of Darkness event. The charity walk will start at 10am from Battersea Park, London, on Sunday, 10 October 2021. Participants can choose a charity of their choice to fundraise for or simply just join people, walking in unity across London.
- Free bereavement and loss webinars: We know that through your role you may be supporting those who are bereaved. In light of the pandemic this may be more common, and you may find it hard to find the right words or know what to say. To support you and anyone in a community/frontline role, Thrive LDN is working in partnership with Cruse Bereavement Care to deliver free, one-hour webinars on Bereavement and Loss Awareness during September and October 2021.
- Tools, ideas and inspiration for better wellbeing: A new space on Thrive LDN’s website to help promote good mental wellbeing or to find out how to support others, all designed around those factors we know protect mental health. Whether you’re looking for yourself, or to help a friend or others in your community, explore simple tools, ideas and inspiration to help improve wellbeing.
- #ZeroSuicideLDN campaign – a big thank you!: More than 250,000 Londoners have accessed suicide prevention training since the launch of #ZeroSuicideLDN citywide campaign two years ago. A huge thank you to everyone who has supported the campaign – reaching this milestone is a collective achievement. Over the coming months, the refreshed campaign will see a greater focus on Londoners supporting young people across the capital, including universities and education settings, plus aspirations of working with London’s night-time economy.
Support for faith and belief communities: London’s digital wellbeing service, Good Thinking, has been working with a diverse range of faith and belief communities across London to provide tailored wellbeing content and support. This includes collaborating with local councils, CCGs, charities and other organisations.