A growing issue in today’s society is that most of us will experience of some sort of mental illness at some point in our lives. Whether it be stress, depression or loss, it obviously effects some people more than others, but who do you turn to if you want help?
Well, we are so lucky in St Ives to have some inspirational people who decided to offer up some help and get the local community involved. Local Methodist Minister Matt Finch, decided he wanted to do something for charity and chose to embark on a cycle ride from London to Paris for CALM, (which stands for Campaign Against Living Miserably) after hearing the shocking statistic that suicide is the biggest killer in this country for men under the age of 45, approx 4000 per year.
Tragically a young man in the town took his life and this sad news touched many hearts, Matt and two other local people in the town, Phil Pope, a pub landlord and Tim Drye the St Ives Mayor decided to come together to try to make a difference and setup Calmtown – the UK’s first town highlighting mental health in the community.
Communication and community are the key, and the idea is to develop a community led approach to mental health, working with already existing organisations but also to get local volunteers to bring their ideas to the table and get involved setting up groups and events that they think will help make a positive difference to peoples lives in the town.
They hold events such as Calmcuppa, Meet the Street (there are already 25 streets in St Ives that are opening up their doors for a cuppa and chat) Calmwalk, Calmyoga, film screenings and a community BBQ, it’s all about getting people together and talking. Of course you can find out more about these events and how to get involved at calmtown.org, they also have Facebook and Instagram pages and an email address, so it’s really easy to get in touch.
A big leap forward would be to bring Mental First Aider’s into the work place, to spotlight who needs help and to educate our school children from primary right up to secondary level, to be aware of people with issues and give them the ability to talk to someone and of course, to listen.
If you are interested in getting involved or you may have an amazing idea that you think would work, I know the guys at Calmtown would love to support any ideas and get involved where possible. Whether it be a singing group, arts and crafts or gardening club, anything that can bring people together, to talk and get involved so they don’t feel so alone and isolated, then get in touch.
So come on good people of St Ives, get involved and make a difference to someone’s life. Just remember, it’s OK not to be OK.