Purpose of the project

September 2022- April 2023

A Zeal Advocacy project was held over a period of 4 weekends in the Supporting Sisters office space with a group of 23 participants. The aim of the event was to deliver mental health and wellbeing sessions in an aim to improve the mental health of the participants. It was organised by a team of 4 Supporting Sisters volunteers. The organisation in the lead up to the event/ seminar included confirming the event speakers, advertising the event through social media such as Instagram and Whatsapp and word of mouth. It was also necessary to determine the number of participants so that an appropriate venue could be selected and booked for the event.

The seminars were arranged to include a wide variety of skills workshops alongside educating the women on the significance of mental health and the ways in which it can affect everyday life or develop further. The women were encouraged to participate in various skills sessions such as poetry, arts and crafts, music, painting and writing letters to their past selves. Sessions were also allocated to group discussions regarding religion, culture and what was of importance and value to each woman. Due to the nature and topic of the sessions, high importance was placed upon ensuring the environment was a safe place that allowed the attendees to be vulnerable and share their struggles with their mental health and wellbeing.

The outcome of this project was that the women were enabled to use creative outlets to which allowed them to clear their minds and clarify their thoughts. Participating in these creative sessions also proved to be cathartic for the participants as those who did not have a trusted person to confide in or did not wish to verbalize their thoughts were provided with the opportunity to uniquely express their thoughts and feelings in a technique which was comfortable to them. The group discussions were beneficial in highlighting the differences and similarities in the attendee’s personal lives, e.g. their religion, culture and personal values.

A theme was recognized throughout the participants- the ethnic backgrounds of the participants varied between Pakistani and Arab and although their religions and cultures may have differed, a lot of their beliefs stemmed from the same concept of the importance of providing help to anyone who may be in need of it. Another beneficial outcome of group discussions was that it allowed people the opportunity to share their best forms of self-care and preferred techniques of how to cope with stress, anxiety or depression. Overall, this project led by Supporting Sisters was a success as we were able to help many individuals with their mental health and wellbeing, furthermore, feedback provided highlighted that not only did the discussion of mental health aid the women, but the creative sessions also simultaneously provided the women with an outlet for whichever negative mental health emotion they were experiencing.

In the future Supporting Sisters aim to hold more mental health and wellbeing sessions with the objective of providing help to more of the community in an effort to help improve lives both in the short term and long term.