Mental Health Awareness Week: Project helps women rebuild their lives through friendship and support

Cafe serves up the right recipe for women in in crisis to make positive changes

This week, May 10 to 16, is Mental Health Awareness Week and we are highlighting the work of groups we have funded. Today we feature The Water Lilly Project

Mental Health Awareness Week: Project helps women rebuild their lives through friendship and support

THE Water Lilly Project in Christchurch provides emotional support for vulnerable women struggling with depression and anxiety.

It predominantly supports vulnerable women in crisis. This may be a temporary crisis such as an acrimonious divorce, bereavement or illness, or it could be something more long term such as mental health issues, self-harming, domestic violence and abuse, addiction or financial difficulties.

The group, based in its own café, received almost £5,000 from Dorset Community Foundation’s Coronavirus Community Fund for two support workers. The grant also helped towards meals for the women who use the café and general running costs.

Treasurer Janette Crawford said: “We have 60 active beneficiaries supported by our current two support workers. The majority of our beneficiaries suffer with mental health issues, many due to the effects of domestic violence and abuse, and also addictions, disabilities, bereavement, poverty and anxiety.”

The project says it uses the image of the Water Lily because it sits on very strong leaves that support the flower. They don’t look much when they are closed, but when they are provided with a good and healthy environment and space, they open up and display their beauty. They need good conditions in which to flourish and reach their full potential and this is what the group hopes to provide for women who come to it for help.

The close support and friendship women find at the project gives them the strength and confidence to make gradual changes in their lives. Good mental health is at the heart of this and the increase in self-esteeem, as well as the encouragement to make positive changes, helps undo years of anxiety and stress.

The café can be used as a training facility for women, many of whom are low in confidence and short on kitchen skills. The training earns them food and hygiene certificates and builds their confidence through hospitality skills. It also provide a free meal once a week at the café during which they are supported by local Christian befrienders, who get alongside them as a listening ear or offer practical support such as form filling or escorting women to the foodbank, court and other important appointments.

Find out more about the group here.

Mental Health Awareness Week , which is hosted by the Mental Health Foundation, is in its 21st year.

This year, the theme for the week is ‘Nature’. Across the country, people will be celebrating the mental health benefits of being around nature in their local community in a range of digital and creative ways.

Share images/videos/or just sound recordings of the nature on your doorstep (and how this made you feel) on social media using #ConnectWithNature and #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek.”

Find more details about the week here.

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