The past almost 2 months, I have been volunteering with the Jewish Association for Mental Illness (Jami) helping plan and coordinate one of their projects with colleagues. This project took place last weekend in the UK Jewish community -and was a cross communal Shabbat (Sabbath) education project taking place in synagogues, Jewish schools and student societies up and down the country.
It was supported by every level of religious observance and in the end we had over 80 communities involved, holding educational talks, reading sermons, holding themed friday night dinners and hosting speakers on mental health. Some communities had talks from speakers at Jami or those with lived experience of mental health issues, or those who are psychiatrists or psychologists.
Our aim was to battle stigma and get people talking. Jami and our team were just amazed by the level of response and positivity towards the project which seemed to grow and grow and reach communities far away including in Scotland!
We also had 150 people at a panel event organised by Jami about mental health topics, where a great discussion was had.
Times are changing and hopefully we will see stigma in the community fall. I am currently getting over a rather nasty cold-and taking time to rest but I wanted to write this to say how much I truly have loved volunteering with pioneers of the event and seeing the project grow to be so successful.