From 8 – 12 May Bristol will be marking Mental Health Awareness Week with Five Days of Wellbeing

Mental Health Awareness week will increase consciousness about the little things that we can do every day to improve our mental and emotional health with five days of wellbeing activities.

The Five Days will be based around the principles that connecting, being active, taking notice, learning and giving can help us all get more out of life. The council has teamed up with NHS Bristol Clinical Commissioning Groups (Bristol CCG), Bristol Mental Health, Missing Link, Second Step, St Mungo’s, Bristol Anti Stigma Alliance (BASA), Community Access Support Service and many others to promote the wellbeing message.

Activities will be taking place across the city based around a different theme each day. From a gardening project where local people can connect with others while planting sunflowers, to a mindful walk around the historic docks, a treasure hunt at Blaise Castle, learning workshops and skills swaps, the week will offer a wide variety of different experiences open to everyone – and encourage conversation about mental wellbeing.

Becky Pollard, Director of Public Health at Bristol City Council, said: “Most of us know that eating five pieces of fruit and veg a day is good for us, but not so many people know about the five simple ways to improve our mental health. Prevention is so important and good mental health is something that needs to be maintained and worked on. We want to see mental health put on the same footing as physical health so we all know how to look after our minds. Simple changes can make a world of difference and it is fantastic to be working with so many different partners to get this message across. I’d encourage as many people as possible to get involved with the Five Days of Wellbeing and find out what it’s all about.”

Alongside the main events, local people are being invited to host their own events in their communities based around the different themes. Schools are also being encouraged to get involved.

Martin Jones, Clinical Chair of Bristol CCG, said: “One in four people will experience mental health distress during their lifetime and it can affect anyone, from any walk of life. By dedicating Mental Health Awareness Week to the Five Ways of Wellbeing, we are encouraging people to take small steps that can make a difference to their mental and emotional health.

“The people in our lives – from family and friends, to colleagues and neighbours – are incredibly important to our wellbeing and help protect and sustain our mental health. Providing effective and responsive mental health services to meet the needs of the local population is a priority for Bristol Clinical Commissioning Group, and there are lots of local services available to help you. Don’t suffer in silence if you’re stressed and routinely feeling anxious, tense or depressed, especially if you find that these feelings interfere with sleeping, eating, relationships or work. Talk to your GP or, if you don’t have a doctor, NHS 111 can put you in touch with one and provide further information or advice. Our website also has more information.”

As well as highlighting the Five Ways to Wellbeing message, health professionals will be signposting local people to support available if they need extra help or are struggling with mental health problems. There is a wide range of support available in the city and the first step is to talk to someone about how you’re feeling. For support with mental health issues speak to your GP or call NHS 111.

Mental Health Awareness Week Events

Monday 8 May: Connect – St Mungo’s Putting Down Roots team (PDR) are hosting a ‘Plant Some Sunshine’ event. The theme is to connect with the community and everyone is welcome to join in on Monday 8 May at 11am – 2pm, Champion Square, St Jude’s. Contact: Jo on 07702 858 243. Book Your Tickets Here

Tuesday 9 May: Be Active – join the Walk Fest mindfulness walk. Meet at the statue by Central Library, College Green at 10.30am; bristolwalkfest.com

Wednesday 10 May: Take Notice – see what hidden treasures you can find at Blaise Castle with a treasure hunt from 4pm – 6pm. Blaise Castle, Kings Weston Road, BS10 7QT.  All welcome.

Thursday 11 May: Learn – Join a taster session of the new reading aloud for wellbeing project, Bristol Shares Reading from 10.30am until 2pm in Bristol’s Central Library. There will also be an interactive display where people can learn more about how to look after their mental health all week. A Midwife Meet Up is also being held at Bluebell from 7.30pm until 10pm at Bluebell Place, 2 Quay Street, Bristol BS1 2JL. Tickets start at £8; newlifeclasses.com/midwife-meetup

Friday 12 May: Give – Join our Give & Get event with a skills swap in The Galleries. Come along and find out how you can receive free practical help in areas such as cooking, technology, friendship, arts, languages, pets, exercise, volunteering and much more. All help is given free of charge – there’s no transaction or exchange, just good old-fashioned community help! The event is being held from 10am until 2pm on the ground floor of The Galleries, Broadmead, BS1 3XD.

More information about mental health services can be found at bristolmentalhealth.org/useful-links or bristolccg.nhs.uk