Rebecca Toney: Actions speak louder than words

The hula-hoop, the shimmy and the fiddle

10 October was World Mental Health Day and on Saturday 14 October Carnival MAD enlivened the IMH as part of a Nottingham-wide programme of events: see http://www.mhaw.org.uk/

The inimitable Julie Gosling chaired the day and many brave people took to the stage to demonstrate their personal strategies for wellbeing. I was struck by how many of these were non-verbal. Hula-hooping, belly-dancing and a jaunty tune on the fiddle resonated more for me than words or pictures. And it’s impossible to hula-hoop and not smile. It’s impossible to shimmy and not giggle. It’s impossible to listen to a tune that dances and to stay slouched and crouched in your mind.

I drove home refreshed, revitalised and with some questions for us all:

  • What research question(s) might explore non-verbal ways of recovery and wellbeing in a health-service environment where talking therapies (and medication) are primary options?
  • As adults in offices at desks and keyboards should we hula-hoop now and again (the theme of this year’s World Mental Health Day was ‘mental health in the workplace’)?
  • What more can we do, together, to involve the IMH and its work in World Mental Health Day – sharing and celebrating our work and taking the opportunity to meet people who may wish to participate in a study or collaborate in its progress?

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Rebecca Toney is a Research Assistant based at the Institute of Mental Health. Rebecca works on the RECOLLECT Study – a study of Recovery Colleges in England which is led by Professor Mike Slade, Mental Health Recovery and Social Inclusion. Rebecca is a current user of secondary care mental health services and worked previously as a NHS counsellor in Staffordshire, Greater Manchester and Derbyshire over 13 years. Rebecca is keen to see the IMH ‘live and breathe’ its work and was delighted to attend Carnival MAD.

For more information on RECOLLECT: see http://www.researchintorecovery.com/recollect or email: rebecca.toney@nottingham.ac.uk.

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