Jewish Care residents celebrate Mental Health Awareness Week

08 May 2017

The sun shone yesterday for residents, staff, friends and family at Jewish Care’s Sidney Corob House as they marked the start of Mental Health Awareness Week 2017 with a party on Sunday. Residents at the home for people with mental health needs read a selection of poems written during their creative writing group. They also celebrated the installation of the new tree sculpture in the garden which features the words of one of their poems, It’s the Small Gestures…, etched into its branches.

Together, the creative writing group explored themes connected to recovery including gratitude, the seasons, small gestures, happiness and life after mental illness. The programme was led by creative writing facilitator, Vicky Martin and the tree was created by Alain Antoinette of Antoinette’s in Highgate, who came along on Sunday.

Sheree Charalampous, social care coordinator at the home, said, “The tree is an uplifting and empowering symbol for the group which will be enjoyed by all of the residents who enjoy being in the garden.”

“Participating in the creative writing group inspired confidence and honesty in the residents and really nurtured their writing skills. I think that shows when you look at this wonderful poetry collection and the art work which celebrates the therapeutic power of art and creativity.”

Alongside the creative writing programme, some of the residents participated in a silk screen printing project led by art practitioner Judith Devons, producing vibrant artwork for the benches to enhance the tranquil garden which provides residents with a calm environment. They also produced bookmarks and postcards from their prints which will be sold at the home. The silk screen artwork which forms the leaves of the tree sculpture in the garden was created by Sharon Altman, a resident who sadly passed away about 18 months ago.

Talking after the event on Sunday, resident, Eveline Baer who took part in the creative writing and screen printing said, “The party was lovely, it felt so homely and it was a beautiful occasion.”

The poem, It’s the Small Gestures… written by the group, includes the lines,

It’s the small things that count…

Listening to Dancing in the Dark again and again!

Sadie from Stanmore bringing cheesecake and hope to my bedside

Cakes and biscuits by the river with my friends

These are the things that connect us with life…

Connect us with good feelings

And help recovery, make us feel wanted

And find our place in the world.