Day one of our outreach starting conversations with African and Caribbean people was great. For once in a long time is was a sunny day and perfect for outreach. Our community champions got straight into it having conversations in Deptford South London. Firstly debating with a man who did not want to take the leaflets and felt that the scripture (the bible) was the stress relief people should use ‘The world can be a wicked place at times causing depression and stress and for me scripture helps me through this’
We then traveled along Deptford market speaking to traders and entering community buildings like the Albany and Deptford Lounge. Some welcomed us, some wanted to avoid us and some were silently curious. Our first hairdresser shop was a welcome one and a woman who had her head under a dryer even stopped drying her hair to speak with us. Amy who is one of our Rafiki Champions asked what do people think about when they hear ‘Mental Health’ which for some people caused embarrassment but others were open to talk (even while having their hair braided).
We struck up a conversation with some men who were on the street and they were saying ‘we need to know who we are as black people because if we do not then this is when problems come’
We continued going into small and larger businesses including tailors, fabric shops, restaurants, barbers, hairdressers, food shops, pharmacies and health centres and on the whole got a welcome response and even managed to sign up some people for our Thursday Wellbeing4Women group. We managed to collect details of around 40 businesses and spoke to over 100 people. We even managed to visit Yemi, one of our champions who has her own enterprise called Cosmic Connections offering a variety of great things like massages and reiki and http://cosmicconnectionstherapy.weebly.com .
We also bumped into a couple of people who had family members with lived experience and had strong concerns about the medication they were on and the lack of culturally appropriate alternatives for Black people. We were able to talk with them, share information we had and invite them to Rafiki Project. We talked, laughed and were challenged. All in all a great day. Next stop is Peckham and Camberwell on Monday 24th, look out for us in the morning!!
13th February – Managing Stress
20th February – Communication Skills
27th February – Managing Challenging Behaviour
6th March – Relationships
13th March – Building Confidence and Self Esteem
20th March – Healthy Eating
Got an idea for a topic or theme you would like to discuss? Why not let us know
Join us for topical talks, creative expression, and the chance to make new friends on Thursdays at Africa Advocacy Foundation, Catford.
Your child is a blessing
a beautiful present
a bundle of joy heaven sent,
they eat your food and
wet your bed,
they grow up fast and
don’t pay rent.
© Shade Philips
Spring makes the flowers bloom on the end of winters tale
Summer comes bursting through which encourages
us to smile,
Autumn creeps up and stays awhile,
Winter engulfs us, windy ,rainy snowy
© Shade Philips 2013
When I’m stressed I raid my CD stash, pull out an old album (Pink – Can’t take me home, Destiny’s Child – The Writings on the Wall and TLC – Fanmail are all infallible favourites). I turn the volume up load and go on what can only be described as a cleaning and de-cluttering rampage! Being a lover of music, it definitely is my personal therapy.
Talking about this is in last week’s Stress Management session at St Giles proved ample inspiration for a poem in a writing session led by Shade, one of Rafiki’s extremely talented champions. It must’ve been good as I even managed to relax enough to write a poem which rhymes! Thanks to Shade for her perceptive approach to the poetry session, drawing out themes and ideas based on our discussion. I’m certainly no Shakespeare but it was a cathartic experience all the same. Here’s my poem!
Spring cleaning the stress away…
Clear out the clutter
Clear out the stress
This is where I go
When my head is a mess
Straight to the source
For me this is kind
‘Cos for me a cluttered house
Is quite simply a cluttered mind
Pull it all out
Starting from scratch
Reorder the mayhem
So peace I can catch
Sometimes I’ll create it
So that I can make it
Disappear from sight
So I can sleep at night
So bring on the clutter
Send it all my way
Let me sieve through it
To keep the stress at bay.
By Nayo Hunt
Really interesting article on BBC news today about young Jonny Benjamin who believed, for ten years, that he was on the Truman Show. This story really struck a bell with me as I remember when I first watched that film as a child I thought, for a few fleeting moments, wow what if that is my life.? What if my entire life is fake and behind it all there’s cameras and actors just pretending to be my friends and family!?! Similar kind of thing when I watched the Matrix. Anyone remember questioning whether or not we were in the real world?
I can laugh about it now as I’m pretty sure this IS the real world and no-one would really go to such massive effort to film my life, interesting as it may be. But imagine if you became fixated on those thoughts and lived your life with that paranoia.
Jonny’s story made me think for a moment about how easy it is to get thoughts muddled and criss-crossed, and what a profound affect it can have on the lives of the people it happens to. Even everyday things can be triggers and any of us, at any time, can become vulnerable.
The sharing of stories like this, making us aware of experiences so different from our own, are definitely helpful in breaking down boundaries and starting conversations around mental health. Cheers to you Jonny!
By Nayo Hunt
See the link to the full article here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-ouch-24992984
Our champion Jade found this interesting article on the BBC News website today. Although we are happy with the idea that checks should be made, there is still a feeling that communities and families should have mental health awareness skills. Not only that but that these skills are culturally adapted to meet the needs of these communities. It is important that a screening tool does not become another tick box exercise and something that can meet the needs of both the children, families, teachers and wider society.
Have a read and let us know what you think.
Hello, I am Saida and I am Somalian .
Back home I studied and worked in accounting.
I have always been a helpful person and focus my time on empowering women in different ways, because I believe a women is the KEY of society and the house.
A friend told me about the Rafiki Mental Health Project. I decided to join the training to develop my knowledge and help the women in London and in Somalia.
I want to continue to learn more about Mental Health and support people with mental ill health. I am currently a volunteer within Rafiki Project.
My name is Dawn. My interest in mental health stems from working closely with people in the criminal justice system with mental illnesses and substance abuse. I would describe myself as a people’s person and I enjoy listening to people’s stories, which was my main motivation to train as a counsellor. Previously I taught ESOL I noticed even in that role, learners would often tell me their problems and concerns. I see myself as someone that tries to help and support others wherever possible.
At some point in our lives, any one of us might have (or will) encounter a situation that challenges our mental health, which is why it is so important to speak about it. Although it is still very much a stigma in society, particularly in African and Caribbean communities. I would like to engage others in conversations about mental health in the hope that it might go some way to bringing the subject out in the open.