Mental Health Awareness Week and SpeakUpCIC in Thanet

Mental Health Awareness Week takes place 13th – 19th May 2024. The theme for 2024 is “Movement: moving for our mental health.”

 

This year, the Mental Health Foundation want you to move your way by finding something that moves your body and mind. In honour of Mental Health Awareness Week, we share a thought-provoking poem written by local resident and advocate of mental health services, Tracey Jacobs to find out more about the mental health support available in Thanet.

 

Can you tell us more about the poem you’ve written for Mental Health Awareness Week and how it reflects your experience?

As someone with mental health issues, I know that you need people around you that understand and take time to listen. I, and many others, have been made to feel like I am wasting people’s time if I try to talk to them; sadly, by professionals too, who are trained in this subject.

The message I’m hoping to get across is that time for people is more important than the errands we all have on our minds. An hour to you could be the world to them.

 

What are some of the key challenges individuals in Thanet face regarding mental health, and how do you believe awareness initiatives can help?

There is nowhere to go without it involving a very long waiting list (couple of years) and even then, you are either discharged straight away or sent on to somewhere else which was the case with me. I was sent to a support group who were on their last few weeks of operation. This is all to do with funding, which is a massive problem in Thanet. Where are people of Thanet meant to go?

Awareness weeks like this promote the groups that work and offer hope and support for those that need it. Raising awareness also helps the stigma often associated with mental health and can make some people feel less isolated or ‘different’.

 

Could you share some insights into the mental health support resources available in Thanet?

The new organisation, SUN, that is in preparation confuses me as to where it will be held and how I get on the list to join. The Beacon let me down continuously and I am not alone with how I feel about this so-called mental health place.

I was recommended to join SpeakUpCIC, who have proved to be the most continuously supportive and understanding organisation that I have joined. For the few months I have been going I have thoroughly enjoyed it and being around understanding people has really helped me.

 

The theme, as set by the Mental Health Foundation, for Mental Health Awareness week this year is “Movement: moving for our mental health”. In your experience, what are some effective ways for individuals to incorporate movement into their daily routines to benefit their mental well-being?

When I have been out of the house for a while it makes me appreciate my family and home even more. A change of scenery can help if you’re feeling a bit “stuck”.

A short walk or visiting a friend is all it takes for me to feel motivated and satisfied.

I love my walks – especially beach walks; they’re therapeutic and I love chatting to other people, dog walkers in particular. There are so many things you find when out and about. You stumble across nature trails and things like “fairy doors” that the schoolchildren have made. I also like to go swimming as it’s a low-impact exercise with high rewards, and I can have fun doing all sorts of gymnastics with the water supporting me. Being outdoors doing anything you fancy is good. I do appreciate that not everybody can do this, but getting out of the house is always good.

 

 

PRECIOUS FRIENDSHIP

It’s 5pm and I’ve not done much,

The day has been somewhat hard.

Can’t think about dusting, will not touch the ironing,

Not written in that birthday card.

I’ve not had a shower or prepared a meal,

For my family to enjoy tonight.

I’ve not been out walking,

Or called on my neighbour,

Well, maybe tomorrow I might.

I need to get moving, jogging, or swimming,

I know it will make me feel better,

Or a nice power walk, at my own speed,

And whilst I’m out, post that letter.

All I’ve managed to eat today

Is junk food, and I’ve drunk lots of tea.

However, I talked to my suicidal friend,

In his darkest hour, and he needed me.

So sod the dusting and big pile of ironing,

Who cares that I’ve eaten crap food?

Just over an hour of my life was not wasted,

Helping him re-set his mood.

I can tackle the ironing tomorrow,

While he makes us cups of tea,

My valuable friend now sees a future again,

That’s far more important to me.

Tracey Kathleen Jacobs

 

Tracey’s poignant poem captures the essence of prioritising human connection over daily tasks. Despite the struggles of the day, she finds solace in being there for a friend in need, highlighting the profound impact of simple gestures of support. As Mental Health Awareness Week emphasises movement for mental well-being, Tracey’s poem underscores the importance of emotional movement and the power of genuine human connection in navigating mental health challenges. Together, we can make a difference.


To find out more about SpeakUpCIC, visit their website. Find out more about the challenges facing local mental health services via Mind, and their #NoMindLeftBehind campaign.

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