time to change – wedding video

A short humorous film featuring Menisha and her Mum entertaining guests at her sister’s wedding reception. Menisha has recently been unwell with depression and her Mum is worried about how the guests will react and what they’ll think of the family until Menisha explains to her Mum that depression is nothing to be ashamed of.

A great film which doesn’t rely on the spoken word – so it can be subtitled in other languages.

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Wai Yin Chinese Women’s Centre

The Wai Yin Chinese Women Society is the largest Chinese community centre in Britain, providing community services for the Chinese population in Manchester.

Mark and Louise described all the work they do and showed me around their Sheung Lok Centre where they provide activities including a Lunch Club for older people and Tai Chi sessions. The organisation works very closely with other BME women’s organisations in the city.

Louise described how mental health issues are perceived within the Chinese Community. There is a lot of stigma and discrimination, so that people do not like their friends, family and neighbours to know they are experiencing problems.

Wai Yin have developed projects including the Kwan Wai project which offers some one to one support for people experiencing distress. Louise  has worked for many years to build awareness and create trust, so that she is now trusted and people feel able to open up to her and share their stories. They have produced a booklet with words from  people who have used their services. Some of the authors felt confident enough to do this without anonymity, which is a huge step. They also produced a DVD for their tenth anniversary.

We had a long discussion on using the media to reach out to communities who may not feel able to access a service. They described how one way to do this may be to link up with other people in Hong Kong and others who were not from within their immediate community.

Lilyfield

A really inspiring chat with Elaine and others from Lilyfield at St Mary’s Church in Wavertree. They have created a very welcoming cafe area at the Church which is open to everyone in the community and especially people who have experience of distress. Their Monday morning sessions are supported by people who were previously based at a drop-in centre which has now closed.

We talked about their singing sessions and how they could develop some songs of their own to describe their own experiences*. They’ll be holding another talent contest, so hopefully we’ll hear their creations there.

Elaine is also keen to hear from other faith organisations who have set up similar drop in sessions to welcome people who have experienced distress. I was surprised to hear that there aren’t existing networks to share that learning, because I know that people who are feeling vulnerable often turn to the Church as a calm and peaceful space. I had assumed that there would be a network around mental health for people to share and learn.

*They’d watched the video of the St Helens Carers Complaints Choir here:

Cheshire and Wirral Partnership

Thank you to Phil Hough, Chair of the Challenging Stigma group, for the invite to provide an update on Time to Change. CWP were one of the first NHS Trusts to pledge their support for the campaign to end the stigma and discrimination around mental health, and it was great to hear of their continued and very active support. I hope this will continue in the months ahead.