It’s been a great month for Making Minds.
October saw us involved in five events, including four around World Mental Health Day.
We met some great people, had some wonderful experiences and made some new contacts that we could potentially develop new ideas with.
We started at the RCT World Mental Health Day event, at Ystrad Sports Centre. It was our public debut as a constituted organisation. We were keen to make an impression and look professional.
We were fortunate to have received artwork from several artists, to exhibit at the October events. This certainly caught people’s attention and made it easier to start conversations and explain what it was we were aiming to achieve.
At the Merthyr Tydfil event, at the town’s leisure centre, we had a speaking slot on the stage that enabled us to tell our story to an audience that we hope to work with. As with the RCT event, we found that people were opening up to us, either about their own experiences of mental illness, their love of art and creativity, or both.
Next, it was World Mental Health Day itself…
We worked alongside Cwm Taf Local Health Board, New Horizons, Spectacle Theatre and Artiscommunity to provide a day of music, art and theatre at Ysbyty Cwm Cynon. We were unaware that this was the first ever mental health event to be held in the main part of the hospital.
Between us, we definitely brought something special – and different – to staff, patients and visitors.
We were able to facilitate introductions, with people gaining a better understanding of each other’s aims and priorities. We wanted to see if there was any way in which we could build on the day’s activities, with more long-term working arrangements and projects.
Later that day, we attended another World Mental Health Day event at Grassroots – a young people’s organisation in the centre of Cardiff. This gave us an opportunity to network with organisations in the city, which was rare, as we’ve mostly focused on the Valleys to date. It also enabled us to gain a better understanding of young people’s needs in terms of mental health and creativity.
We rounded off the month with another speaking slot and exhibition stand at the Mental Health Action Wales Service User & Carer Conference. Mark was one of the keynote speakers at the event, organised by Public Health Wales and various organisations across South Wales, and took the opportunity to not only pass comment on some of the key points of the Welsh Government’s Mental Health Measure and Stronger In Partnership strategy, but to introduce another new audience to the concept of Making Minds.
During the course of the events, we had discussions with a number of people, from established organisations in the voluntary and statutory sectors, and it became clear that we were onto something. We think the time is ripe for change, where the delivery of some mental health services and events are concerned. We now know that we can work with many organisations and individuals to develop something that could have real benefits to all concerned.
We now go into Cardiff Mind Fest mode, finalising plans for the two-day music event that takes place over the weekend of 23-24 November. We hope you’ll join us there.