Speaking after last week’s opening night of The Last Yankee, See Me Scotland volunteer Leanne McKillop made the perceptive observation that if one in four people have mental health issues, this leaves another three who can help support them. Throughout SMHAFF 2015, several events will address, champion and celebrate the extraordinary work of the many carers who dedicate their lives to assisting loved ones through periods of mental ill-health, working alongside professional bodies to encourage mental wellbeing and recovery.
On Monday 19th October, Volunteer Glasgow, the Mental Health Foundation and SMHAFF present Re-Connect at Glasgow’s Art School. Through film, discussion and information, the day will explore the roles and experiences of carers, examining the impact upon those who help others with mental health issues, and revealing how communities can support the health and wellbeing of carers.
The day begins with a film screening of Mental: A Family Experience, a short documentary about one family’s experience of mental ill-health and the bonds that brought them together. A panel discussion will follow, focussing on the caring role and allowing participants a chance to share and network with others.
Volunteer Glasgow will host a stall delivering information on the benefits of volunteering, showcasing the range of opportunities available to all members of the community. The day will represent a timely and deserved celebration of the fantastic work of carers.
The following Thursday, Edinburgh Carers Council present their annual concert at Electric Circus, this year headlined by the ‘lyrically compelling and sonically stunning’, Scottish Album of the Year Award-winning Kathryn Joseph. She will be supported by the uniquely beautiful, ‘gruff-but-sweet’ songs of Yusuf Azak, and the ‘skewed-folk despotism’ of The Son(s). Edinburgh Carers Council provides advocacy, information and learning opportunities for carers of people with mental health issues and this fundraiser will raise further awareness and funds for carers.
Also in Edinburgh, a two-day exhibition will be held at the Carers Council, from Monday 26th to Tuesday 27th October. The work displayed stems from the creative workshop held during Carers’ Week earlier this year and has been produced by participants from a wide range of caring backgrounds, including mental health.
The exhibition (which will then move, on Thursday 29th October to Carers of West Lothian in Livingston) represents an exciting collaboration between Edinburgh Carers Council, Carers of West Lothian and Edinburgh Carers Support Project.
All told, these events promise to both reflect and promote the massive contribution carers make to the lives of those facing mental health issues, providing a platform from which we can celebrate their work and dedicate valuable space and time in which all attendees can be stimulated and inspired, relax and have fun.
Written by Mark Jones
Re-Connect, Mon 19 Oct, 1-4pm, The Art School, Glasgow; Edinburgh Carer's Council Present: Music Matters with Kathryn Joseph + Yusuf Azak + The Son(s), Thu 22 Oct, 7–10pm, Electric Circus, Edinburgh; Creative Carers, Mon 26 Oct-Tue 27 Oct, 1–7pm, Edinburgh Carers Council; Thu 29 Oct, 1-7pm, Carers of West Lothian, Livingston.