West Hallam Well Dressing provides a great opportunity to talk about mental health

WTF meets and talks with many at the West Hallam Well Dressing on Saturday July 8th 2023

The WTF Team were at the West Hallam Well Dressing festival on Saturday 8th July. It was a quite miserable afternoon with intermittent rain – we were very glad of our gazebo!

The rubbish weather didn’t dampen our spirits or put people off from stopping to chat and we’re grateful to those people who did stop – after all, that’s why we were there, to talk.  We talked about the seemingly growing crisis in our schools, where young people are facing increasing pressures but are not being equipped with the skills to cope with them; we talked about the waiting lists that are endless, with few strategies to help during the waiting time; and we talked about complacency which undermines all the work we, and many other organisations, are trying to do. Complacency says ‘I don’t need to know about this’ and ‘it won’t happen to us’. Complacency is a liar. We all need to know about mental health and it can happen to us.

Being at the Welldressing festival allows WTF to raise the profile of mental health. We don’t ever know the impact of us being there as such, there’s no data that tells us we prevented a suicide. But we do know that people go home and talk to their children and ask them the difficult questions, that they might not have otherwise asked. We know that some people have gone on to seek professional support and advice – they simply didn’t know where to go before they spoke to us. We also know that people simply felt acknowledged, and valued, and respected after having spoken with us. We know because they have told us.

So yes it rained, a lot. And yes, we were cold at times. But it was absolutely worth it to make one person’s day just that little bit brighter.

Thanks to the Welldressing Committee who organise the event.

Thanks also to the Women, Wine, and Words group who are donating the proceeds of their well to WTF (see image above). They chose to recreate the front cover of D.H. Lawrence’s novel ‘The Rainbow’ for their well – it just happens to be my favourite book.’

Jo Garvey

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