This week is National Mental Health Awareness Week, and alongside the increase in column inches and programming about the issue, an exhibition at Richmond Road’s GP surgery is aiming to provide more practical support for Hackney locals.
The event, scheduled for tomorrow 11 May from 4pm to 8pm (with light refreshments provided) will host exhibits from Hackney’s many mental health service providers, voluntary or otherwise: including Hackney MIND, Healthwatch Hackney, CAMHS Alliance and the council.
There will of course be provisions for those suffering with depression, anxiety or stress, but beyond that, specific support will be on offer to parents of young children, and for elderly sufferers and their carers, the Dementia Action Alliance and the Alzheimer’s Society will both be on hand.
The flyer for the event also advertises help for those with learning difficulties, substance misuse problems, those who self-harm or have eating disorders, and those suffering with a bereavement.
One of the organisers, Dr. Gopal Mehta, a GP at the medical centre, explained the thinking behind the event: “There are lots and lots of services for people out there, but there’s so little awareness. So we’ve created this event to say ‘this is what City & Hackney are doing, this is what we want you to be part of, and we want you to know what’s going on in the borough.’
“It’s all about a drive to find out different ways that we can help our patients access goods and services, for free – the majority of them are free. There’s exercise classes, there’s cooking classes – all this stuff! We just want people to be aware. Our own practice is very mental health-aware, and we’re starting this big mindfulness and yoga drive at the end of May.
“We want, when people just come for their medication, to offer them something else that they might find really beneficial.”
A City and Hackney assessment from last April estimated that 53,000 Hackney residents aged 19-64 have at least one common mental health disorder, of whom around half have depression and/or anxiety.
The Mental Health Awareness Event will take place 11 May, from 4pm to 8pm at Richmond Road Medical Centre, 136 Richmond Rd, E8 3HN