Last night (May 18) City and Hackney Mind charity hosted the ‘Take a Pause’ event, designed to promote mindfulness and wellbeing for Hackney residents.
As part of 2016’s Mental Health Awareness Week, the event that took place at Dalston Eastern Curve Gardens, offered seated yoga, massage therapy and a free slice of pizza for attendees.
Mindfulness, a concept introduced through Buddhism, and more recently developed alongside modern day science, is defined as: “A technique in which one focuses one’s full attention only on the present, experiencing thoughts, feelings, and sensations but not judging them.”
Sahil Patel, City and Hackney Mind’s referrals and outreach manager, spoke about his involvement in the charity that organised the Take a Pause event alongside the City and Hackney Wellbeing Network. “I help coordinate all of the referrals that come into the organisation and reach out to people who we might not be reaching through our services,” he said.
The event provided information for those who attended, detailing how we can all take time to pause, breathe and reconnect, including a goodie bag with leaflets and a herbal tea bag.
The leafy setting and live jam session impressed Lindsey Shearn, 36 from Hoxton. “The atmosphere is so calming and relaxing – I feel more mindful, and I haven’t even had my massage yet,” she said.
Shearn, who works in the City, added: “I’m part of the generation of 30 somethings struggling under the pressure of work and competition.
“Aromatherapy has really helped me in the past and it’s great to see Mind promoting its benefits.”
Hackney has a higher rate of mental health patients than the national average, according to the City and Hackney Joint Strategic Needs Assessment. It is estimated that roughly 53,000 Hackney residents have at least one mental health disorder – with half of these having depression and/or anxiety.
Patel thinks that Hackney is a problem area for poor mental health.
He said: “There’s the other end of the spectrum in Hackney, in terms of people with severe mental health issues. Nobody has ever really worked out why. There are social issues in Hackney like housing, wealth and poverty. Mental health really effects everyone and Hackney is no different.”
City and Hackney Mind offer support and services across the boroughs, including handling referrals and promoting the value of maintaining a healthy state of mind.
Patel said: “It is definitely a challenge to get people to understand the potential benefits of Mindfulness, as a word it means very little unless you know what it is.
“We’ve taken to talking about it as a way to help deal with life when things get difficult, when you feel stressed, angry or just generally low.”