Supporting Mental Health

Mental Health affects 1 in 4 of us

Although we don’t often acknowledge it, Mental Health affects us all, both positively and negatively. For at least one in four of us, negative experiences consume the mind and without the help and support from friends, family, mental health support workers or health professionals, it can soon lead to depression. Clinical depression is a cruel illness that often leaves its victims feeling desperate, anxious and alone. Many struggle with this illness for years before finally being unable to cope anymore.

Suicide rates are on the increase, WHO state that one person commits suicide every 40 seconds. Moreover, a recent UK study concluded that almost one in five children have contemplated suicide because of bullying at school. We need to do more to raise awareness of this issue, but more importantly talk more openly about mental health. I was brought up, educated and had a career in an environment where “you just got on with it” and just had to “man up”. I found my own coping mechanisms by putting a positive spin on all situations, although I’ve often been labelled as too optimistic. However, societal norms have changed and other life pressures have new meanings for different people. The advent of social media and smart phones now give you the entire world in your hand, but still seems to make the world a lonelier place. As a parent, I realise that I have to be more open with my children and discuss mental health in a way that is uncomfortable to me but crucial to their ongoing wellbeing and as equally important as their physical health needs.

The Leanne Baker Trust

I saw first hand the amazing work that the likes of the National Health Service in the UK was trying to do to support the needs of mental health victims, despite tight budgets and constraints. However, what was more amazing was the various charities and support groups in the communities made up of volunteers who provide fantastic support and resources to help people live with these conditions, and eventually try to overcome them. One of many is the Leanne Baker Trust, set up by fellow artist, Darren Baker.

The Art & Mind Dinner supporting Mental Health through the Leanne Baker Trust and Movember.

The Leanne Baker Trust was set up in memory of Darren’s sister. Having given up her long and exhaustive fight with depression, Leanne left shocked and devastated family, friends and work colleagues behind, many possibly asking ‘could I have done something to help her?’ The charity is only in it’s infancy, Darren, his family and the charity trustees want to be able to guide those that suffer with depression to the support available and increase awareness surrounding the stigma of mental health.

This year, to raise funds for both the Leanne Baker Trust and Movember, in supporting mental health awareness, Darren is hosting the Art & Mind Dinner and charity art auction at Kensington Palace. There are some very notable original pieces being auctioned on the 3rd October 2019. As a small contribution, I have donated one of my originals, “Sunset from Southbank” to the trust’s silent auction on the evening.

We all have to do more to promote awareness and be able to talk about mental health; what are you going to do?

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