500 Birds - in support of Time to Change campaign

24th February 2016
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How origami is helping encourage people to talk about mental health

Rosanna Dobson, RAD Project Officer for the Suicide Awareness Training project has come up with an original way to increase awareness of, and encourage people to talk about, Mental Health.  

As part of her work with the Suicide Awareness Training Project, Rosanna is trying to increase understanding of suicide and mental health, especially for people working with potentially vulnerable individuals across Derbyshire.  Earlier this month Rosanna took a stand at Chesterfield Flea Market to get the local talking about mental health.  She wanted to find a creative way of engaging people in what can feel like a scary subject, all the time focussing on removing some of those barriers which may prevent people seeking help. She invited people to share their thoughts on a colourful piece of origami paper - anything to do with mental health; a good or bad personal experience, thoughts of someone they care about, coping mechanisms, a comment on mental health services or the support available, .... anything at all on the subject.

This paper was then folded into an origami bird and suspended from the stall to symbolise the positivity of sharing, of letting go, of 'giving wings' to those thoughts.  About 25 birds were made during the morning as well as a number of conversations with people passing by.

About 1 in 4 people are affected by mental health issues, but it still seems a very difficult topic to talk about and share. We all have mental health, just as we have physical health, and we need to take care of it.

This humble beginning seems to have led to the development of a project called 500 Birds, which aims to gather that number of 'thoughts' by early October. Rosanna will be attending more events, but she would also like others to get in touch and help spread the work and encourage people to talk about mental health.

If you would like to get involved, please visit Facebook and search for 500 Birds or contact Rosanna by email at r.dobson@ruralactionderbyshire.org.uk.  For more information on the Suicide Awareness Training project, please click here.  Time to Change and their work to end mental health discrimination, please visit there website here.