Caritas Anchor House

Working at the heart of homelessness

Marking World Homeless Day and World Mental Health Day

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Marking World Homeless Day and World Mental Health Day

11th October 2018
On 10th October, Caritas Anchor House marked World Homeless Day and World Mental Health Day with a variety of awareness and wellbeing activities.

This year's theme for World Mental Health Day focuses on younger people and the impact of daily stresses, and how the early years progressing into adulthood can impact on mental health. The World Health Organisation (WHO) stated that 50% of all mental health difficulties begins roughly at age 14, highlighting the potential and importance of early intervention.

Research shows that there is a strong presence in mental health problems among the homeless population. At Caritas Anchor House alone, at least 40% of our residents report support needs relating to their mental health.

Activities on the day included a Tea and Talk morning, which was particularly popular amongst the residents and staff, as they were able to enjoy some delicious cakes whilst discussing the links between mental health and homelessness. Throughout the day, staff and residents were encouraged to discuss ways to implement positive thinking and improve mental health.

There were two drop-in sessions organised for the day, on the topics of domestic abuse and cannabis use, and how these are linked to homelessness and mental health. The groups discussed how domestic abuse can lead to homelessness and anxiety, and how young people are becoming more exposed to drugs at an earlier age, as well as the risks of misusing such substances.

Residents were invited to take part in an arts and crafts session, to bring a creative element to the day. Here, they were able to make and decorate their own snow globes out of simple materials including bottles, glitter and their own artistic freedom. The exercise was a great team building task and residents were able to comfortably open up to each other about their own personal difficulties. It brought out a different side to residents, especially those who have an artistic flair or used the activity to express their feelings in a different way.

Those who participated were asked what their snow globe meant and many shared that the top of the snow globe was a symbol of freedom and a better version of themselves. Some expressed that the mixture of materials at the bottom of their snow globe was a combination of their thoughts and hardships through life and they can see a positive light at the end of it.

Overall, the day was light hearted, fun, engaging and brought a sense of togetherness in the Caritas Anchor House community. It was also acknowledged that World Homeless Day and World Mental Health Day are not just about understanding and raising awareness of homelessness and mental health, but celebrating the progress residents had made towards their next chapters.

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