A week of activities aimed at tackling mental health stigma is being held at St Illtud’s Church, Llantwit Major, in the lead up to World Mental Health Day (Thursday 10th October). The event, called Holding on to Hope, uses art and music to explore ideas and beliefs around mental health and wellbeing.
Canon Edwin Counsell, Rector of the Glamorgan Heritage Coast Parish, says, “There have been repeated occasions where mental health issues have been identified in the local community. Many of these issues are identified in young people, especially late teenagers. Tragically, there has also been a series of suicides in the last two years.
“While there are close links with local schools and health care professionals, the local church has identified the need to make stronger connections with agencies and support groups that can help when someone is experiencing mental health concerns.
“Holding on to Hope uses the physical presence of St Illtud’s church to offer sanctuary, stillness and reflection through art and music.”
The event launches with an open mic night on Friday 4th October and includes songs and poems relating to mental health and wellbeing. The event continues throughout the week with a series of workshops for young people, including sketching for wellbeing and a photography event where young people photograph favourite places in their local community.
Marking World Mental Health Day, local musician Bel Blue will launch her new EP of songs inspired by mental health challenges.
Edwin adds, “As a church we are creating opportunities and a space to bring people together, while being confident that God’s love extends to every person, regardless of their situation, their self-image, or whatever despair they might feel.
“I really hope the music, events and exhibitions will inspire people to look out for their friends or loved ones who might need help. I also hope that the project will bring mental health and wellbeing out of the shadows for all of us.”
Other events taking place throughout the week include:
- An exhibition of artwork raising awareness of mental health and wellbeing.
- Drop-in sessions for families and friends concerned about those with mental health challenges.
- Information and practical support from individuals and support agencies.
- Reflective time to remember friends and loved ones and the challenges that mental health issues pose to them and their families.
Diocese of Llandaff are grateful to Cardiff & Vale University Health Board, and the Cardiff &Vale Health Charity Arts Team, for the financial support and encouragement they have given to this important project.
Download the Holding on to Hope event guide.