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Surviving or Thriving – Cygnet Hospital Blackheath celebrate Mental Health Awareness Week

On Friday 12th May Cygnet Hospital Blackheath hosted an event to celebrate Mental Health Awareness Week. The event focussed on the positive message of this year’s theme of ‘Surviving or Thriving’.

The event, facilitated by Paréce Bell (Assistant Psychologist) and Lloyd Curtis (Activity Coordinator), was hosted on Meridian Ward with almost every service user getting involved in some part of the afternoon event.

The main activity of the day was to create a “Wellness Box”. We recognise that many of us are simply surviving, and we want to encourage and empower our service users to thrive and achieve in their lives and in the community. Sports Direct kindly donated in excess of 20 boxes, allowing each service user to choose a different box that they could fill with items to support their wellness.

Our service users filled their boxes with note pads and pens; an emoji smiley stress ball; a sachet of herbal tea; a mini bag of sweets and positive affirmation cards. They decorated their boxes to personalise them, with some opting for laminated quotes, glitter or self-care colouring pages.

After reading a really positive article in the Metro about temporary tattoos – that were created to support people dealing with mental illness – we ordered a selection of temporary tattoos, which included messages such as “I am Enough”, “Positive Mental Attitude” and “Onwards & Upwards”.

Paréce supported the service users in applying their temporary tattoos. Both staff and service users reported liking the tattoos and exchanged with one another what message they had chosen. One of our service users decided to place his tattoo on his wellness box, whilst others kept extra copies to place in their “wellness box” to use at a later date. Blank temporary tattoos were also ordered to encourage our service users to write their own positive message: One service user wrote a positive message to give to his fiancé.

It was a really positive afternoon, filled with laughter, dancing, singing and great positive energy. All our service users got involved in the activities on offer. This included creating and taking away their personalised wellness box, writing positive motivational messages, messages about what they strive for, mindful colouring of self-care/motivational messages.

Lloyd played music all through the afternoon, as part of a ‘mini feel good disco’ – some of our service users enjoyed singing and dancing to the music. Paréce put together all the positive statements to create a display, alongside photos taken on the day to create a Surviving or thriving wall in the Meridian Ward Gym.

Friday was also International Nursing Day. In spirit of this, our service users signed a thank-you card for the nurses and presented them with the card and some biscuits as well as an afternoon tea spread to say thank you for all their hard work.

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