Get creative this summer

During the summer holidays, we’re hosting creative activity sessions every Tuesday morning, open to women and men.

Bring your own creative activity or ideas, or make use of our creative materials for choice of art work, collage, drawing, jewellery making, macramé etc. If you’re not sure what you’d like to do, our friendly staff and volunteers are on hand to suggest activities.

Free refreshments available!

The times of our open creative activity sessions are from 11am to 12.30pm, and run for 6 weeks from 26th July to 30th August.

All activities are based at the Buckland United Reformed Church, 174 Kingston Road, PO2 7LP

Open Day for Men’s Wellbeing

Join us for an Open Day for Men’s Wellbeing on Wednesday 3 August from 11am to 2.30pm, at the Buckland United Reformed Church.

Our free workshops on the day include art (11am), creative thinking with lego (12.15pm) and games (1.30pm) with indoor archery, new age curling and table tennis!

There are stalls with information about wellbeing support in your local area, and free refreshments of course!

According to the Mental Health Foundation there is significant evidence that generally men are less likely to seek support earlier for stress or poor mental health:

  • Three times as many men as women die by suicide
  • Men aged 40 to 49 have the highest suicide rates in the UK
  • Men report lower levels of life satisfaction than women according to the Government’s national wellbeing survey
  • Men are less likely to access psychological therapies than women: only 36% of referrals to NHS talking therapies are for men

Men are also far more likely than women to go missing, sleep rough, become dependent on alcohol and use drugs frequently. Research also suggests that for men, the symptoms of stress, depression or anxiety are more likely to include irritability, sudden anger, increased loss of control, risk-taking and aggression.

The No Wrong Door programme aims to transform community mental health services as part of a national initiative. In Portsmouth, funding has been made available through this programme for the Good Mental Health Coop to set up a men’s wellbeing group. This is planned to start in September, and in August we’re hosting an Open Day for Men’s Wellbeing to bring together information about support available for men in the city, and offer taster activity workshops which reduce stress and improve wellbeing.

Mental Health Awareness in May

Mental Health Awareness Week, hosted by the Mental Health Foundation, is in its 22nd year and runs from 9-15 May.

Mark Rowland Chief Executive of the Mental Health Foundation said:

“We hope this year’s theme of loneliness will strike a chord with many of us who felt lonely and struggled throughout the Covid pandemic. 

“Millions of us experience loneliness from time to time. We know that some people are at higher risk of experiencing loneliness and the evidence shows the longer we feel lonely, the more we are at risk of mental health problems.

“Loneliness deserves more attention and we’re calling on everyone who has struggled as a result of being lonely to share their experiences. We must work together – as individuals, as a society and through government policy – to reduce loneliness and prevent mental health problems by investing in welcoming, social spaces and new community initiatives.”

To mark Mental Health Awareness Week, the Good Mental Health Coop are hosting a Pop-Up Wellbeing and Information event in Drayton Community Centre on Thursday 12 May from 12.30-2pm. This event is one of a series around the city in partnership with the Portsmouth Carers Centre, and is aimed at those who are looking after a family member or friend because of illness, disability or emotional distress. However anyone is welcome to come and find out more about local wellbeing support available.

In Memory of Martin

Dr. Martin Stevens, Chair and a founding director of the Good Mental Health Cooperative, has sadly died at the age of 57 from Covid related complications. His funeral took place today at the South Downs Natural Burial Site.

I first met Martin 30 years ago when we both worked as researchers in the Quality and Performance Management Team at Hampshire Social Services. Martin was always a generous, supportive and kind colleague and we formed a strong bond of friendship over the 8 years we worked together. We laughed a lot, and shared some personal struggles too. I was recovering from a mental health breakdown, and Martin was on dialysis waiting for a kidney transplant having experienced the trauma of a failed transplant when he was 18. The second attempt was successful and transformed Martin’s life for a decade and more.

After I left Hampshire Social Services, we continued to stay in touch, and Martin moved to the Social Care Workforce Research Unit at Kings College London in 2004. He was encouraging about my first business venture, a wellbeing venue I opened in 2007 shortly before the global financial crisis hit. When Martin recruited me to carry out research fieldwork on a major national project a couple of years later, he probably didn’t realise how much this income saved me from financial disaster

Then in 2013 Martin joined Sandy Walker, myself and others to constitute the Good Mental Health Cooperative as a Community Interest Company. As a director and chair of the management committee, Martin quietly and consistently supported our progress over the past nine years.

In the obituary published in the Guardian, his colleague John Woolham described Martin’s “exceptional ability to analyse complex problems from various perspectives, helping to provide valuable insights for health practitioners, managers and policymakers with clear and well-considered recommendations.” At the Good Mental Health Coop Martin’s contribution to reviewing funding bids, policy development and steering our overall direction as an organisation was invaluable, and he will be sorely missed.

Above all I will personally feel the loss of his friendship, kindness and unwavering support over the past 30 years.

On behalf of the Good Mental Health Coop committee, volunteers and members, our condolences go to Martin’s loving wife Alison, and to his family and friends.

Rest In Peace Martin.

Click here for a piece in memory of Martin from the NIHR Policy Research Unit in Health and Social Care Workforce at King’s College London, generating thoughts from other colleagues on how Martin will be remembered.

April is Stress Awareness Month

The Good Mental Health Cooperative is able to offer direct support if you’re experiencing overwhelming feelings of stress, isolation or anxiety. We’re working towards good mental health no matter what your starting point, just as you would with physical health. Through our Nexus project, we run an established weekly women’s creativity and wellbeing group, and if you’re interested in being involved with the planning for a similar men’s group, we want to hear from you!

Our Solent Connexions project offers virtual support for anyone looking after another adult family member, whether because of frailty, disability or emotional distress. Through our series of Pop-Up Wellbeing and Information in partnership with the Portsmouth Carers Centre, we can also make sure you have the information you need to access the right support at the right time.

April marks the start of Stress Awareness Month, and this year the theme is ‘community’. This is a real opportunity to highlight the support for good mental health that is available after the devastating experiences of the past 2 years. And this includes the power of the community!

Pop-Up Wellbeing and Information events

Through our Solent Connexions project, we’ve teamed up with the Portsmouth Carers Centre to deliver a series of Pop-Up Information and Wellbeing events in local community venues across Portsmouth.

Our first one is coming up on Wednesday 30 March at the Paulsgrove Community Centre, PO6 4JP, from 11am to 2.30pm.

The events will include creative and wellbeing activities, information stalls about support available, and free refreshments. The Carers Centre and the Good Mental Health Cooperative will also give talks on the support we can offer.

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International Women’s Day

For 2022 the campaign theme for International Women’s Day is: #BreakTheBias

Imagine a gender equal world.

A world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination.

A world that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive.

A world where difference is valued and celebrated.

Together we can forge women’s equality.

Collectively we can all #BreakTheBias.

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What does 2022 hold in store?

Could this be a year when we really get to grips with what is meant by mentally healthy communities? In the past two years, the experience of the Covid pandemic has surely highlighted the importance of neighbourliness, kindness, community action and social cohesion for our collective mental health. It has also exacerbated the impact of already existing social problems such as poverty, homelessness, domestic abuse and social care support for those living with illness, disabilities and emotional distress.

An overwhelming issue experienced by many is that of loneliness and isolation, especially when dealing with any of these social problems. The Mental Health Foundation has identified loneliness as the theme for this years Mental Health Awareness week in May, and reducing social isolation has to be one of the major steps towards a mentally healthy society.

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More funding to continue Nexus Project

Great news from National Lottery Awards for All who have agreed to fund the continuation of our successful Nexus Project offering women support and wellbeing through creativity.

The project was initially funded through the Tampon Tax but delayed due to lockdowns, and eventually got started in May this year on zoom. In July, the group moved to a lovely spacious room at the Buckland United Reformed Church in Portsmouth, and has been meeting weekly since September going from strength to strength.

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November events with Solent Connexions

Just Reach Out, art from Claire Holloway

If you’re concerned about an adult family member or friend because of illness, disability or emotional distress, you might be interested in one or more of these events coming up in November. Solent Connexions offers flexible online support with community chat, information about rights and resources, access to free creativity and wellbeing courses, and opportunities for 1-1 support. Why not join us?

Monday 1st November – online drop-in event with Sarah Haskett, from 6.45 – 7.45pm. An opportunity to ask questions, share your concerns, find out more about the support available. Click here to register your interest and you’ll receive an email with the online link:

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