Almost two weeks have passed since we took #MentalMovement to this years Mental Wealth Festival and we cannot wait to see what they have in store for 2017!
For those of you who don’t know, The Mental Wealth Festival runs in conjunction with Books Beyond Words over the course of two days at City Lit in London. With a soul aim to provide festival goers with inspiring and informative talks, workshops and stall pop ups; MWF extends a wealth of opportunities for both service users and professionals to network, establish invaluable and often lifesaving human connections in the complex world of Mental Health and share lived experiences with open, compassionate and like minded people.
#MentalMovement was in attendance at the parliamentary talk chaired by Baroness Sheila Hollins that looked specifically at the Impact of the Media on Mental Health and Wellbeing. An insightful albeit terrifying look into the world of tabloid press that highlighted the many issues surrounding how strict editorial guidelines are often purposefully overlooked or completely ignored just to get “that” story out there.
A light debate between members of this talk quickly surfaced around whether it is in fact the public who are hungry for such stories arguing that there must be a demand to read the stories carried with irresponsible and damaging headlines. Some agreed that there has and always will be a demand/need for such stories but the tabloid press are paramount to shaping the minds of many people and therefore have a responsibility to the inform the public more accurately and without hidden agendas.
The talk concluded that the information media push out into the public through such press must be more accountable, accurate and true. Something that may be almost impossible to do through the competitive world of tabloid press. Hugh Grant and John Prescott were also present during this talk and added to the talk by speaking about Hacked Off, the campaign for a free and accountable press. You can find more on that here.
Other parliamentary talks included Mental Health and Homelessness with contributions from a range of speakers including The Big Issue founder Lord Bird; Jeremy Swain, CEO of Thames Reach; Cathy Corcoran, CEO of the Cardinal Hume Centre; Kenny Johnston of the CLASP charity; and Paul Farmer, CEO of Mind.
The remainder of the festival was held at City Lit in Covent Garden; a fantastic university offering a vast array of courses from acting to astronomy, wellbeing to world history. They also provide Reiki training, Aromatherapy and courses in Counselling! There is so much on offer so be sure to check them out!
#MentalMovement set up home for the next few days, neighbouring with the lovely Rethink girls, and distributed the debut zine to the many service users and mental health professionals.
As people poured into the building, quickly veering off into different parts of the building with their wristbands at the ready, we could only keep referring back to our Festival Programme to see what we were missing out on. These included, Art workshops, An introduction to Tai Chi and Mindful Walking, Rhyme and Resilience: Creative Writing for Wellbeing, Money and Mental Health, Living Well with Anxiety, Talks with Alastair Campbell and Ruby Wax, Q&A with Professor Dolan (author of book Happiness By Design), Beyond Words – Empathy in Action, Compassionate Living: Veganism and Justice for All, a ‘How to walk on Sunshine’ workshop with author Rachel Kelly and many, many more!
All in all the event was a great success and #MentalMovement very much enjoyed meeting the thousands of people who came along this year. It was absolutely incredible to be a part of such a positive, engaging and resourceful event that really focused on the positive aspects of Mental Health, challenged the perception of it in many ways and offered an entire community of people all sharing the same interest and struggle, not only hope for the future, but a place to feel safe, accepted and alive.
If you are interested in participating in next years festival then please get in touch. We can hands down wholeheartedly say it was the most organised, professional, friendly and accommodating event we have ever known and the incredible team behind it have set an extremely high bar for anything we ever attend in the future. For more information on how to get involved, please contact Danny Curtin at Books Beyond Words here.