The Word Rabbit


This article was written on 14 Jun 2017, and is filled under Uncategorised.

An idea for a mental health project

So. I live near Crawley, albeit in a small village and, due to various events in my life, I care about mental health provision and about reaching out to people who either don’t know help is there or who visit the doctor, get anti-depressants and think that’s the end of the road.

My plan, such as it is, would be to run a once weekly boxercise class for people who have, like me, mental health problems and who would benefit from getting out of the house, at least once a week and doing an activity. What I hope is that the class would be run by someone who knows what they’re doing, but that it would also have a couple of trained people on hand to chat with people and, in time, it would have a buddy system where people mentored each other and perhaps a home visit option where, if people couldn’t make it to the class, someone turned up with some pads and they did a session in the living room and they just sat there and talked.

Nobody in the class would get hugely fitter and nobody would be expected to show the form of a future boxer. If people turned up and cried, or turned up crying, they’d be welcomed in and could do nothing in the way of exercise or do what they felt able to. There would be people they could chat to and, equally, they could just sit by themselves with a cup of water if they wanted to. In its purest form, it would be a space where people could come, not be judged, and do something with other people who all shared something important.

By trade I’m a journalist and copywriter and once worked at a fairly senior level. I looked after my now ex-wife who was bipolar until the strain of caring for her made me ill and cost me my job, my home and very nearly my life. What I’m describing here is the kind of facility that would have helped me to recover and while I know it certainly wouldn’t be a magic bullet, it would be one rung on the ladder that saw them climb out of a very, very dark place.

I’ve never organised a community project before and have no idea how I’d apply for funding and who I might approach, so this is a first call for anyone who might be interested in talking to me about how it might, in theory, be done. I can’t stand for office, because I don’t have the money, and  can’t get work in my original career because nobody will touch me with a bargepole, but I can try and make a really, really small difference. If you want to help, please get in touch.

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