Creative Options held its third annual 'Keeping the Hope' suicide awareness and prevention workshop on Friday 8th September 2017. This was mainly organised by Saire Herschel, a lady with lived experience of mental health issues who is passionate about saving lives.
The event was supported by the Good Mental Health Co-operative, Recovery College, British Red Cross and a number of other organisations, including the Samaritans who provided information for the stalls. Mr Stephen Press, one of our Trustees was MC for the day and Councillor Paul Lewzey and Alan Whitehead MP supported the event...
Meta from 'Living in Harmony' delivered two drumming workshops whilst Saire and the 'With A Song In Mind' group delivered two singing sessions. There was a quiet reflective space in the rear hall and a 'Tree of Hope' which people were invited to add their messages onto.
The whole day was based around a theme introduced with the poem 'Behind the Headlines' which was written especially last year (viewable/downloadable below). The theme was carried throughout the day with the 'River of Hope or the River of Despair'--two rivers with several different interactive 'stations', and with the interactive theatre, which was also written especially for the day.
The interactive theatre told the story of the lives of three different people: a young student with serious self-harm attempts, an older man who has had to take early retirement from his accountancy business due to being recently diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease and a nurse who has just returned to work after several weeks off with serious depression and a secret suicide attempt. The three stories were acted out throughout the day and the audience were invited to participate in discussion. Following each scene, the audience was invited to reflect and to visit the different 'stations' on the river.
A buffet lunch was served and the day culminated with a summary of the dramas and feedback from the actors. We then invited people to record their 'Routes of Resilience' and messages of hope on the flipcharts. People were given fridge magnets and keyrings designed by one of our own artists. They were also given candles to light and invited to attend the Peace Fountain the following Sunday 10th September. This event marked World Suicide Awareness day where candles were lit in memory of those who had died and hope for those who have survived.
Creative Options are grateful for the support from Southern Health Foundation Trust who provided funding for the room hire and buffet, and Rev. Masters of Central Baptist for hosting the event. We are also grateful to James Wilson from the University of Southampton for his input with the play, and to community journalist Claudia Murg who has made a video of the interactive theatre, available soon after editing. We are very grateful for the support of all our Trustees, members and all those who supported the day to make it a success.
Thank you also to those who supported the Sunday Peace Fountain event: Our members, others with lived experience, members of the Council and others from community involvement.