Talkback Summer 2019

Dear supporter...

Welcome to your Summer edition of TalkBack. In this edition we celebrate the great successes of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week, which focused on Body Image: how we think and feel about our bodies and its relationship with our mental health. 

We ran, to our knowledge, the biggest ever survey in the UK on the topic of body image, including over 4,500 adults and 1,100 young people. Our research showed that 1 in 8 adults in the UK have experienced suicidal thoughts or feelings because of concerns about their body image and over one third of young people felt ashamed in relation to their body image

In addition, the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival was also held during Mental Health Awareness Week. It is the world’s biggest mental health arts festival and it is getting bigger.

As the Mental Health Foundation turns 70 this week, we are proud to share some of our achievements throughout the years helping people live mentally healthy lives. 

We would like to thank everyone who supported us during  Mental Health Awareness Week, helping us take another step forward in the movement for good mental health.

Kind regards,

Kalina Peresterova, Individual Giving Officer

We need your support to continue campaigning and making a difference in all areas of mental health.

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Running a marathon at 51

Deborah Hall, supporter and London Marathon finisher 

I have struggled with depression for 12 years, but it took me nearly a year to recognise and accept the feelings of anxiety, as well as my inability to cope with the symptoms and seek help. I had a loving family and friends and we were happy so how could I be depressed?

But that is what we all need to understand about depression – it does not discriminate, anyone can suffer. 

There has been nothing more rewarding for me than becoming a mother and nurturing my four boys on their journey to adulthood and yet it has been a rollercoaster of a ride with many stresses along the way. Raising a growing family was at times overwhelming. I struggled to accept hormonal changes that resulted from my pregnancy and these had a bearing on my mental health.

Looking back now, I would tell my younger self not to be afraid to talk about mental health and seek help when needed. It is fundamental to our lifelong mental wellbeing that we are open and honest about it and look after our mental health as we do for our physical health. 

Looking back now, I would tell my younger self not to be afraid to talk about mental health and seek help when needed.

It is impossible to fully understand how debilitating depression is unless you have experienced those feelings of merely going through the motions of living without actually being engaged in it. You never know when a dive might hit you but through learning to recognise early signs, we can all have a positive effect on our mental health. The ethos of the Mental Health Foundation – education being crucial in promoting mental wellbeing made my choice to run for them in the London Marathon a “no brainer”.

The ethos of the Mental Health Foundation – education being crucial in promoting mental wellbeing made my choice to run for them in the London Marathon a “no brainer”.

Running a marathon at 51 had long been what I considered an unachievable dream. This personal challenge has taught me a lot about myself – running has made me want to get up in the mornings and as all the evidence shows physical exercise is good for your mental health. You don’t need to run a marathon or even a mile for that matter, a simple walk round the block might be all it takes but we can all learn to help ourselves!

Has Deborah inspired you to take part in a challenge event? Give yourself the chance to push yourself and raise money for a great cause!

I want to see where my next challenge takes me...

Mental Health Awareness Week 2019 updates!

This Mental Health Awareness Week proved to be the biggest yet in the 19 years we have hosted the campaign. This year’s theme was Body Image– how we think and feel about our bodies.

Our thoughts and feelings about our bodies can impact us throughout our lives, affecting the way we feel about ourselves and our mental health and wellbeing.

For the week ...

  • We hosted a Parliamentary reception to raise awareness  of our research report and policy asks among influential stakeholders and policy makers, including the Minister for Mental Health, Inequalities and Suicide Prevention
    We bought to life the importance of body image with compelling speeches from people with lived experience. Hear one of our speakers, Justyn tell his story:

  • We launched a brand new body image module as part of our Peer Education Project, which teaches young people in schools all about mental health.

  • We got the nation talking! Over 8000 of your posted your own thoughts on body image under the hashtag #BeBodyKind.
  • We shared your body image stories across the week, including this powerful spoken word poem from Priscila Hernandez:

It's not over yet and we still need your support!  The green ribbon is the symbol for mental health awareness. You can join the movement by buying a green ribbon pin badge to wear with pride all year round.

I want to wear a green ribbon badge in support

Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival

By Rob Dickie, Festival Manager

Now in its 13th year, the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival is one of Scotland’s biggest and most diverse cultural events, encompassing film, theatre, literature, visual art, music, dance, storytelling and creative workshops. Its unique approach ensures it connects with audiences that other arts festivals often struggle to reach.

The annual Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival, led by the Mental Health Foundation, took place from 3-26 May 2019, with over 300 events across Scotland exploring the theme of Connected. 

This year the festival featured events with asylum seekers, travellers, the LGBT community, and families affected by suicide and other traumatic events, in a wide-ranging programme that focused on the importance of staying connected to each other, and the impact of isolation on our mental health.

The festival opened with the International Film Awards, which saw the Grand Jury Prize presented to Tim Mercier for Model Childhood, a brave documentary about his own experience of childhood sexual trauma. The Writing Awards ceremony, hosted by bestselling author Ian Rankin, saw the launch of 70 Stories to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Mental Health Foundation. Another highlight was Electrolyte, winner of the Mental Health Fringe Award 2018, an extraordinary piece of gig theatre about a young woman’s experiences with psychosis.

Help us reach more people in innovative ways like the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival.

I would like to support mental health and the arts with a donation

Our work in later life

By Katie Bellaris, Project Manager

Standing Together Cymru is a three-year National Lottery Community Funded Project. We lead on a partnership with four housing associations to address loneliness and improve wellbeing by developing peer support groups for people in later life across South East Wales.

Our first set of groups have been running since February. We are thrilled to have over 70 people coming to the weekly groups, with two members of our staff supporting people to build relationships and have deeper conversations than regular activity groups.

Using learning from our London Project we have established a new Community Engagement role to ensure that groups are sustained by volunteers, beyond the six months of our staff facilitation.

We explored Mental Health Awareness Week 2019 body image theme from a later life perspective. One group member appeared on BBC Wales Radio talking about how he came to accept the  change in his body following jaw cancer and recovery.

Standing Together Cymru hosted a public launch event in March. It was a wonderful way to celebrate the success of the project so far and allowed the group participants to see how new connections are being made between older people in South East Wales. 

Join our Kilimanjaro trek

Take on an amazing physical challenge in October 2020 to climb the world’s tallest freestanding mountain – Mount Kilimanjaro – and celebrate World Mental Health Day by standing on the summit! 


This is a bespoke Mental Health Foundation trek and there is still time to join our team of passionate supporters.

I want to trek Kilimanjaro in 2020

Give as you live

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Read Talkback in full by downloading the document below!


Download TalkBack-JULY-2019-web.pdf