Stress, loneliness and anxiety caused by the Covid lockdown will be tackled at a new mental health festival next month.
Wellbeing organisations across Perth and Kinross hope to bring the community together after the challenges of the pandemic.
New mental health charity Trauma Healing Together, is organising the online event along with 10 other groups from across the region.
The aim is to help local people share their mental health struggles through a series of workshops.
It will also work to challenge some of the stigma that still exists around mental health.
‘Fear has significantly increased’
The week-long online festival from August 9 to 15 will include a range of events including lived experience talks, writing workshops, and mental health film screenings.
Organisers hope attendees will find it helpful in dealing with the effects of the pandemic.
Announcing the dates, Trauma Healing Together founder and trustee Roxanne Kerr said: “We hope that the festival will help bring together the community after an extremely challenging 18 months and tackle loneliness and isolation which has had a huge impact on peoples mental health.
“We want to make people aware of all the organisations out there who are working hard daily to support people living with mental health difficulties and make them more accessible.
“We believe that it is incredibly important that people have a say in the support they receive and the festival will hopefully provide them with a wide range of options so they can find something that works for them.”
She added: “Fear has significantly increased due to Covid-19 and when not managed it can escalate and lead to the development of stress, anxiety and PTSD which can have huge consequences for an individual’s health.
“We believe that if this is not addressed urgently then the consequences for our countries mental health will be huge.”
What are local organisations saying?
Organisations stepping up to provide support include PLUS Perth, Scotland AllStrong, Mindspace and Andy’s Man Club.
Perth city centre-based AllStrong will provide a range of self-management tools to help people to deal with their mental health.
Andy Douglas of AllStrong said: “All Strong are delighted to be part of a great offering that will enable people to try a wide variety of activities from a range of organisations, exploring various methods and approaches to self-management and activity to support mental health and wellbeing.
“All Strong will be delivering Chair-Based Movement and Relaxation, Gentle Pilates, Sleeping Yoga, and a chat around the tools of self-management.
“As an enterprise that comes from a place of lived experience, and that exists to support the self-management of mental and physical wellbeing, we firmly believe the festival can make a positive difference to the lives of anyone who takes part.”
Meanwhile, Mindspace is set to facilitate a workshop on the impact of Covid on people’s lives.
Young People’s Recovery Facilitator Alice Pearce said: “Mindspace are delighted to be taking part in the Mental Health and Wellbeing Festival organised by Trauma Healing Together.
“The ripples of this pandemic are still being felt some 14 months on from the initial lockdown. This session aims to discuss what we have discovered about ourselves in that time and what living with Covid means to us.
“This festival is so important in working towards reducing the stigma around mental health and will highlight to the local community all of the great organisations in Perth and Kinross that people can access to support.”
Alex McClintock of Andy’s Man Club (AMC) will also share his own experiences of struggling with mental health.
He said: “I will be deliver presentation on Andy’s Man Club and our story so far, as well as sharing my own struggles with mental health over the years.
“I think the festival is a fantastic idea and highlights a lot of the good work that some amazing organisations in Perth and Kinross have delivered throughout the pandemic and beyond.
“AMC Perth is delighted to support the festival and hope that it can be a permanent fixture in the years to come to encourage people to start having conversations about mental health and help us all break down some of the toxic stigmas that are out there.”