Words by Ed King / Pics supplied by The Recovery Foundation
On Monday 10 October, people across Erdington will be finding special shoe shaped keyrings –attached to a postcard telling someone’s real life mental health story, with a message of hope from them to others.
Organised by The Recovery Foundation, an Erdington based mental health charity, the ‘I walked it… you share it’ campaign was launched on World Mental Health Day 2022 – marking the international awareness day with 50 colourful packages of hope hidden in accessible public places.
According to the World Health Organisation, ‘close to 1 billion people have a mental health disorder’ – with limited accessibility to resources, support, and ‘quality mental health services’.
Using first-hand stories, The Recovery Foundation’s ‘I walked it… you share it’ campaign aims to encourage an open discussion on mental health – and show people dealing with mental health issues there is always ‘hope’ and ‘living well’ with mental illness is a possibility.
The shoe shaped key rings are a nod to the journey people go on when facing mental health challenges, with the postcards containing personal and inspiring accounts of how they can be overcome.
Anyone who finds a keyring and postcard will be invited to take a picture of their discovery and share it online, tagging in the social media information for both The Recovery Foundation and Erdington Local – alongside the campaign hashtag #trfwalkedit
Janelle Smith, The Recovery Foundation Youth & Community Director, previously told Erdington Local: “I had this idea about six months ago, and now with World Mental Health Day around the corner it’s a great time to help people share their stories with the world.
“I’d love this to encourage people to share their stories and find hope.”
Registered with the charity commission in 2020, The Recovery Foundation was set up after founder Emma Sitole overcame her own mental health challenges following a diagnosis for Schizo-Affective Disorder in 2007.
With the charity’s key message being one of ‘hope’, Emma Sitole explains on The Recovery Foundation’s website: ‘…if I was able to ﬁnd hope and use it to grow my recovery, maybe others could too?’
The Recovery Foundation recently ran a series of successful art workshops in both Sorrell Park and at the Secret Art Studio Space (SASS) – led by the charity’s Creative Arts Director, Angela Chapman.
With their art showcase still on display at SASS, located downstairs at the Central Square Shopping Centre on Erdington High Street and displaying over 100 pieces of original artwork, The Recovery Foundation are looking to continue their engagement and art programmes.
Speaking to Erdington Local at the launch of the exhibition, Emma Sitole told: “We trialled Art in Parks last year, which was really successful, and off the back of that people were saying they’d love something that explored different techniques and looked into different things.
“Angela (Chapman), our Creative Arts Director, put together a programme and we’ve seen about 50 people come through our doors with these workshops.
“It’s a privilege to walk alongside people and see them discover they’re really creative.”
For more on The Recovery Foundation visit www.therecoveryfoundation.org.uk
For more on World Mental Health Day 2022 visit www.who.int/campaigns/world-mental-health-day/2022