Rotary in the South West Peninsula and Mental Health
Following the District Conference in 2017, Rotarians in our district have been undertaking great strides towards tacking the stigma surrounding mental health and wellbeing.
In Falmouth, John Pearce and the Falmouth club undertook a project with Recovery College Cornwall to assist business establishments, whilst on a wider scale, Darren Hands has facilitated Mental Health First Aid training for a number of Rotarians as well as fronting the Don’t Bottle It Up campaign.
This campaign, which is backed by the Rotarians4MentalHealth website on which details of just some of the national help groups can be found, uses the model of the This Close to Ending Polio campaign and initially saw local Rotarians and Public Figures (such as Exeter Chiefs and England Rugby International Henry Slade) encourage those both directly and indirectly affected by mental health issues to not bottle things up; to remember that help is out there and to seek out and get that help.
Since then, the campaign has grown and now has over 200 Rotarians from around the world, 45+ public figures, representing 38 different countries.
Together with Bipolar UK, Darren has produced a guide for Ukrainian refugees here in the UK detailing links to support on mental health issues - and this guide has also recently been translated into Romanian with plans to translate it into Polish and the two languages used in Afghanistan.
Darren, who is currently the RIBI lead for mental health projects and was part of the team to liaise with Bipolar UK on forming the strategic partnership between Bipolar UK and Rotary, is also a board member of the Rotary Action Group for Mental Health Initiatives and is available to help clubs and Rotarians with any ideas they have for projects in this field.