Caritas Anchor House

Working at the heart of homelessness

Mental Health Awareness Week 2018

Our News in Brief

Mental Health Awareness Week 2018

22nd May 2018
Last week was Mental Health Awareness Week, an important event to promote awareness of mental health issues, and the importance of how to manage and improve your mental health.

Research has shown that two thirds of the population will experience a mental health problem in their lifetime. For those experiencing homelessness, the prevalence is even higher. In a Homeless Link survey, 80% of respondents reported experiencing mental health issues, and 45% had a diagnosed mental health issue.

Over the last year at Caritas Anchor House, 63% of residents identified as having needs relating to their mental health. That’s why we provide safe spaces to talk about mental wellbeing during their one-on-one sessions with keyworkers, and organised activities as part of our dedicated Mental Wellbeing programme headed up by our Mental Health Lead.

“Last week we aimed to raise awareness of improving our mental health within the homelessness sector by offering residents a range of activities each day. Most importantly, we hoped to remind residents that mental health matters at all times, and there is always something we can do to help,” said Elif Huseyin, Mental Health Lead at Caritas Anchor House.

Activities through the week included sessions on mindfulness, eating well and drinking responsibly,  keeping active with badminton, talent sharing, an art class and a group session led by NHS Newham Talking Therapies on ‘Coping with Stress’.

Tony, a resident of Caritas Anchor House who participated, said, “I’ve been doing some of the tips I learnt in the session, such as switching off my phone sometimes to let my brain switch off too, and I managed seven hours sleep! I usually have a broken night’s sleep, waking up every two hours, but I slept straight through and felt really refreshed the next day.”

Our Your Space project, and our partnership with Newham’s Custom House & Canning Town Community Neighbourhood Centre, ensured that we were also helping to improve the mental wellbeing of those experiencing difficulties and isolation in our community.

We were delighted to have one of our residents speak at the Community Neighbourhood Centre about his experiences of mental health, homelessness and how he is improving his life at Caritas Anchor House (pictured). We would like to thank everyone who came along and all attendees for their participation during our choir’s performance.

Your Space held a ‘Walk and Talk’ session, which take place weekly, and where community members are encouraged to talk through concerns in a non-judgemental space, to build resilience and confidence and gain a sense of community support.

“Our Walk and Talk sessions allow members to feel like part of a community with safe space to open up and talk to others, while also encouraging gentle exercise which proves very therapeutic for so many of our participants,” said Tallat Bhatti, Your Space Programme Coordinator.

At Caritas Anchor House we will continue our work in helping those dealing with mental health issues throughout the year, and hope that Mental Health Awareness Week has helped in lifting stigmas and encouraging those in need to seek support.

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