World Mental Health Day raises awareness and understanding of mental health, challenges stigma and discrimination, and gives us all a chance to make a difference and to live in a kinder and more caring world.
The 2022 World Mental Health Day theme is ‘Make Mental Health & Well-Being for All a Global Priority’ and provides us all with an opportunity to renew our efforts to make the world a better place in whatever way we can and maybe start to have conversations that challenge stigma, break down barriers and ensure everyone’s voice is heard.
This year, Epsom-based charity Love Me Love My Mind will host the Epsom Mental Health and Wellbeing Festival on Saturday 8 October and Monday 10 October to coincide with World Mental Health Day (10 October). Allen, our Peer Support Facilitator in Epsom and Love Me Love My Mind Volunteer, writes about how the festival will celebrate and remember Epsom’s forgotten residents as well as share all the festival activities to get involved with.
“The 2022 festival will be the 15th annual event. I have had the opportunity to volunteer at the festival for over 10 years and this year we wanted to celebrate some of the amazing charities, groups and organisations that support our local community. In a way, we are making a global priority into a local priority. People can come and see us in the Epsom Marketplace on Saturday 8 October and make a personal mental health pledge.
Living in Epsom and Ewell for all of my life, I have always been aware of the cluster of psychiatric hospitals, knowing friends and family who worked in them, seeing some of the patients walking around the local area and as children exploring the vast grounds including the Cemetery. As part of this year’s festival, we are working with an amazing project called Out of Sight, Out of Mind. Did you know that the largest cluster of psychiatric hospitals in Europe was in Epsom? And the unclaimed bodies of over 9,000 psychiatric patients who died in these facilities were buried in the local graveyard, Horton Cemetery? The project wants to restore dignity to the thousands of people buried in unmarked plots on this wasteland. Some were famous in their day (war heroes, a Titanic survivor, a popular comedy actor, and a model/artistic muse for Picasso), but countless others lived less-public lives. The project, supported by Historic England, seeks to recapture these stories and to create a crowd-sourced memorial, overcoming historical amnesia, neglect, and inaction.
We will be running “Chat & Craft” workshops across the year, with the aim of painting 900 commemorative ceramic flowers – and the creation of a memorial garden. This memorial garden will be ‘planted’ near the Cemetery in October 2023 and act as a powerful public marker. We want to do justice to these forgotten lives – as a first step towards putting Horton Cemetery into public hands and restoring community knowledge about and access to this historic site. Remembering Epsom’s Forgotten Residents – come and paint a flower for free, to give testimony to these forgotten residents and find out more about these hidden lives. Market Square on Saturday 8 October, 10am – 4pm.
On World Mental Health Day (10 October), we have a packed day of events being held at St Barnabas Church, Temple Road, Epsom, KT19 8HA:
9am – Eddie and James’ big breakfast
10am – Gaining some peace Mindfulness with Suzette Jones
11am – Painting for peace with artist Charles Twigg
12noon – Lunch
1pm – A walk to Horton Cemetery
4pm – Monday weekly drop-in – drama workshop
5.45pm – Art competition prize giving ceremony
7.45pm Laine Theatre Arts
8.30pm – Friends of Horton Cemetery and King’s College London History Department
For those who prefer not to go on the walk, there will be a chance to engage with the history of the Horton Cemetery, read and speak about the lives of some of those buried there, and to paint a ceramic flower in remembrance.
To find out more about the Epsom Mental Health and Wellbeing Festival, download the festival brochure.
To make connection with Love Me Love My Mind, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07719014411 or visit their website.
To contact Out of Sight, Out of Mind project team, please email email@example.com.