Mixed emotions as we continue to progress

Right now, things are good in the world of Making Minds. However, the weekend brought news that overshadowed everything.

The death of Swansea mental health campaigner Jordana Thomas stopped me in my tracks. I did not know her personally, but was aware of the excellent work she was involved in, particularly with the group ‘People Working With People’. Jordana and her colleagues worked tirelessly to tackle the stigma and discrimination that surrounds mental illness – she did so while tackling her own problems. Jordana’s was a fight that I can relate to. We all still have a long way to go, for mental health to truly be a socially acceptable topic of conversation. It is tragic that someone so young and so passionate about mental health has been lost. I view mental health campaigners as a family. We’re a pretty tight-knit bunch and when we lose one of our flock, we feel it. Our thoughts remain with Jordana’s family, friends and colleagues.

The work of Making Minds will be inspired by Jordana, as we continue to make our own progress.

We’re being supported by Interlink and the Community Enterprise Network, who are providing essential business support and guidance. We now have a clearer idea of the process we need to go through, to get Making Minds where we think it deserves to be. It’s looking like an initial period as a community association will be followed by being incorporated as a CIC (Community Interest Company). Our reasons for this were mentioned in the recent volunteers meeting and will be followed up at our next meeting, which will be held soon, somewhere in the Rhondda Cynon Taf area – more details as we have them.

With hindsight, one thing that I failed to cover at the last volunteers meeting, was the roles that we’re looking for people to help with. It was on the volunteer forms, but I forgot to bring it into the discussion. Aside from the roles of chair, secretary and treasurer, we also need people to help us with the following:

– Helping with events (organising, participating and managing)

– Helping with marketing (producing marketing materials, generating media coverage, supporting social media pages and developing website)

– Providing creative ideas (let your mind run free, as we look for ideas of events and other activities)

– Sourcing grants and contracts

– Developing fundraising ideas

– Joining the steering group

– Supporting research

– Running creative workshops (this could be everything from drama to creative writing, painting to music tuition and so much more)

– Supporting artists and creative entrepreneurs (this is about one of our key aims – see the ‘about’ section on this blog site for more details)

There are opportunities ahead for Making Minds, with an involvement in a fundraising gig for Cardiff Mind, the Mental Health Today conference in Newport, World Mental Health Day events in Merthyr Tydfil and Rhondda Cynon Taf and potential involvement in a research & development workshop at the forthcoming Unity Festival. If you would like to be involved in any of this just let us know. I, for one, can’t wait for the talking to be over and for us to be actually delivering. It will happen at some point in 2013, I guess I’m just itching to get going and I know some of you are too.

These are exciting times!

I’d like to end this blog post by going back to Jordana Thomas. The last project she worked on at People Working With People, was the production of a book called ‘Living Proof: Creative writings and art from survivors of mental illness’. This work provided many people with the opportunity to express themselves in ways that they hadn’t previously experienced, while helping people without mental health problems to increase their understanding of what those of us with such problems go through.

Here is one of the poems from the book.

poem

Thanks for reading.

Mark

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