This is the story of one suitcase, seven people and the mountain.It all started on a Monday afternoon at art junction which is an art group that meets twice a week to support creative people living and surviving mental health issues. On this particular afternoon everybody was painting, drawing, laughing, dreaming when someone pipes up and says "Why don't we walk up Snowdon" some people said why? many said yes. So currently, we are in training to walk up Snowdon with our yellow suitcase and a project that we hope will help to bring about change.
We all have a common dream and shared hope that people suffering with mental health issues, have the right information, help and support, they need to make the most informed decisions about managing their mental health.
The monies raised by our walk up Snowdon will go towards setting up the project, the project will be run by us all, on a voluntary basis.
The Yellow Suitcase project is a very simple idea, it’s to deliver the suitcase to places of work in and around Reading brimming with information with regards to issues surrounding mental health, so that the conversations start. More often than not one of the most difficult things about having a mental health problem is talking about it, in fear of stigma and discrimination in the workplace. We hope for change!
We know that talking can help people stay connected when they need it most, breakdown stereotypes, aid recovery and bring about change by banishing taboos concerning mental health issues.
The yellow suitcase is full of information which includes advocacy, crisis management, help and support services, alternative therapies, treatments, legal advice and information for managers and HR about supporting employees with mental health issues.
There are simple measures that can be put in place to enable people to stay in employment when they become unwell.
The Yellow Suitcase project has been founded by a group of people who live, survive and are in recovery from mental health issues. We all have direct experience of facing and managing our illness within the work place, the stigma faced and the lack of knowledge experienced in providing best practise for all involved. With greater knowledge, comes greater understanding which in turn brings about change.
1 in 4 of us at any time will suffer from mental health issues in any given year; in Reading alone this could be 36,425 people.
We hope that the travelling Yellow suitcase will start a dialogue, get workplaces talking and in turn this will help to look after the mental health of each and every one of us.