Introducing the Mental Wealth Academy

The Mental Wealth Academy supports people to access community based activities and workshops which help with inclusion, recovery and good mental health. The support is intended for people who have experienced serious life challenges, are socially isolated, anxious or lacking in confidence. This may include experience of mental ill-health, addictions, disability, bereavement, caring responsibilities for example. The Mental Wealth Academy is designed to help people join in  community based activities which encourage learning and development.

At the Good Mental Health Cooperative, we believe that connecting with others, and informal learning opportunities, are really important steps to good mental health, bringing a sense of inclusion and challenge, rather than feeling isolated and lacking in purpose.

To hear more about the workshops and activities in the Mental Wealth Academy, come along to our next Good Mental Health Cafe drop-in event on Wednesday 7 August.

Mindfulness for Daily Life

Three summer mindfulness sessions are coming up to introduce you to everyday mindful exercises and guided meditations in the Tesco Fratton Community Space, a room available for use by local community groups and voluntary organisations.

The sessions are facilitated by Carolyn Barber, co-director of the Good Mental Health Cooperative, and are part of the pilot Mental Wealth Academy project in Portsmouth.

The first is this Friday 19 July from 1.30-3pm, at a cost of £5 or a donation that you can afford on the day.

Click here to book your place with the option to pay on-line if you choose.

Welcome to the Good Mental Health Cafe – Wed 10 July

The Good Mental Health Cafe is based with the Lily&Lime Cafe on the 3rd Floor of Portsmouth Central Library, every 2nd Wednesday of the month.

Click here for more information about our next event on 10 July

Community Conversations at the Good Mental Health Cafe 10 July

Community Conversations Performance in October 2018

In partnership with Good Mental Health Cafe, join Tongues & Grooves in the Community and Journeys Festival International Portsmouth for a free poetry workshop with poet Stephanie Norgate, exploring themes of home, hope and journeys. Taking inspiration from poems written by members of Portsmouth’s refugee and asylum-seeking community, the workshop is suitable for all levels of experience, whether you’re an award-winning writer or a complete beginner.

The workshop will take place from 3-5pm with a public reading by Stephanie Norgate at 5pm which workshop participants would be welcome to stay for.

Click here to book your free place

There will be an opportunity for poems written during the workshop to be exhibited during Journeys Festival International Portsmouth, 18– 27 October.

Stephanie Norgate is a playwright and poet. Her first play, The Greatest Gift, broadcast on BBC R4, won a Radio Times drama award. Other radio plays include a Woman’s Hour series dramatising the adventures of an undercover female journalist in the nineteenth century. She has published numerous poetry collections and taught creative writing at the University of Chichester for many years.

Emotions: Friend or Foe?

Busy Head

So what do we mean by emotions? Do we mean everyday feelings – like being fed up, bored, interested, excited? Or do emotions suggest stronger and deeper feelings like anger, sadness, despair, joy, happiness, elation? Do we mean the mood we’re in when we wake up in the morning? Or are we looking at those overwhelming feelings which often we suppress, avoid or ignore, sometimes at great cost.

“In the last decade or so, science has discovered a tremendous amount about the role emotions play in our lives. Researchers have found that even more than IQ, your emotional awareness and abilities to handle feelings will determine your success and happiness in all walks of life, including family relationships.”
– John Gottman, from Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child

Come along to the Good Mental Health Cafe drop-in event on Wednesday 12 June, and join this free workshop on Emotions: Friend or Foe? with Carolyn Barber. Understand  different emotions and the stories we attach to our feelings, and explore the ways in which emotions affect us physically and mentally.

Words Are a Powerful Tool for Mental Health Awareness

Words Are A Powerful Tool When It Comes To Mental Health

As mental health awareness week draws to a close, we learnt that words can be a powerful toolAnd that speaking up and seeking help, can be the start of the journey to good mental wellbeing. And so at a spoken word and music event held at Portsmouth's Square Tower , poets and musicians shared how issues surrounding this subject inspired their creativity.

Posted by That's TV Solent on Tuesday, 21 May 2019


Louisa Campbell and her new poetry collection, THE WARD which brings to life her experiences both as a Registered Mental Health Nurse and psychiatric patient. Peopl with catatonia, schizophrenia, depression, paranoia, mania, anorexia and alcoholism speak out from the pages, as well as the nurses trying to care for them.

John O’Donaghue – the author of the memoir Sectioned: A Life Interrupted (John Murray, 2009) which was awarded MIND Book of The Year 2010. His most recent book is The King from the Water, 26 linked short stories set during his childhood summer holidays in Ireland, publishes by the Wild Geese Press in March 2019. He was Chair of Survivors’ Poetry 2000-2005 and teaches Creative Writing at the University of Brighton.

With music from:

Crossing the Line: an eclectic mix ranging from Americana, blue grass to folk and blues …
Martin Heys: guitar, harmonicas, vocals
Martin Kennard: bass, fiddle, accordion, ukulele, harmonicas, vocal and much more!
Nick Manley: mandolin, guitar, vocals

Let the Genie Out of the Box

If you’re feeling lonely or socially isolated, it can be really hard to know where to start making connections with other people. There’s so  much information out there but how do you decide what’s the right direction for you, and just how do you make those first steps? At the monthly Good Mental Health Cafe events,  there’s an opportunity to try out the on-line Genie programme with one of our friendly volunteers.

Genie helps you to think about your current social support network, however limited that might feel, and then takes you through a series of questions to identify what are your main interests and priorities. You’re then able to view a database search of local activities and support resources which link to your own priorities, while at the same time helping you think about who can support you to make contact and get involved.

Honestly, it really does work! Here’s some recent feedback:

I was so impressed with the session yesterday. It was run really well. You made us feel very welcome and were also gentle/sensitive to the person I was supporting. All your team were so friendly and helpful. This session certainly helped us to start thinking/talking about positive/new things this person can do. The Genie tool was a great aid in this.

Free workshops at the Good Mental Health Drop-in Cafe 10 April

Join us for free workshops on Wednesday 10 April, at the Good Mental Health Drop-in Cafe.

The Drop-in runs from 2 – 6pm at the Lily&Lime Cafe space on the 3rd Floor of Portsmouth Central Library.

The workshops are:

4 – 5pm Understanding Anxiety with Dr.Sandra Walker

5.30 – 6.30pm  3D Print Roadshow with the Makers Guild

Click here for more details and to book your place

Free journal writing and mindfulness workshops

Join us for the Good Mental Health Cafe drop-in event on Wednesday 13 March. Open from 2 – 6pm, you can call in anytime at the Lily&Lime Cafe, 3rd Floor of the Portsmouth Central Library.

There are plenty of friendly volunteers to chat to, and stalls to find out information from. You can book in for a conversation with the Human Library, relax in our Creativity Corner, or just sit down for a cuppa or snack from £1.

You may want to take part in an on-line programme called Genie which helps you find the support and activities you’re looking for in the local community.

Every month we also run free taster workshops. On 13 March, local poet Maggie Sawkins will be running a journal writing workshop from 4-5pm, and Carolyn Barber from the Good Mental Health Coop will be doing an introduction to mindfulness from 5.30 – 6.30pm.

Click here to register for workshops or just to call in and look around

Volunteering for Good Mental Health

We’re looking for more peer support volunteers to help with our Good Mental Health Cafe, a monthly drop-in event for people who are worrried about their own mental health, or that of a friend or family member, or those who are feeling socially isolated or just want to find out more about what’s available in their local community.

Our volunteers help to create a welcoming, friendly atmosphere in the Lily & Lime Cafe area on the Third Floor of Portsmouth Central Library. You’ll find out how to signpost people to the various stalls available, and how to help visitors engage with the Cafe activities. You will also learn about Genie, an online tool which helps people map out their social support networks and find activities in the local area which they might be interested in getting involved with.

The commitment is to support the drop-in event every 2nd Wednesday of the month from 14.00 – 18.30. There are opportunities to get involved with the Human Library, creative activities and attend some of our free workshops too.

We are particularly looking for volunteers with past experience of mental ill-health in some form, but anyone who is interested is welcome.

Click here to register your interest