Small Business Owners In Kent Fighting For Mental Health Awareness
Girl Ginger is a small, illustration based business creating illustrations, pins, patches & accessories advocating for mental health and well-being. “Mental health awareness and promoting positive mental health and well-being is a huge part of my life and something I am wholeheartedly passionate about. It is an integral part of who I am and starting Girl Ginger has offered a creative outlet for my own mental health that allows me to share and talk about my own experiences. Mental health also affects 1 in 4 people, which means by probability alone, we all know someone that is affected.”
Charlie creates products and illustration work to help other people who are experiencing mental health issues to be seen, heard & felt during what is often a very isolating and difficult time. “Seeing and knowing people are wearing my work with pride, and in turn hopefully helping to start conversations and break down the stigma's around mental health is really amazing and I hope it enables people to come close together.”
“Early last year I had reached breakdown. One quiet Saturday in February I found that I couldn’t get out of bed. I was exhausted and convinced that I had a cold, but I was tearful, irritable and couldn’t focus on anything. That Monday I dragged myself down to the GPs and cried through the entire appointment (and the doctor’s box of tissues).
The period of depression I was experiencing was caused by several years of denying the impact that leaving uni, my parents separating and my consequential move to unfamiliar Tunbridge Wells had on my mental health. Pushing these feelings deeper and deeper simply hadn’t worked and, unsurprisingly, it was coming back to bite me on the butt.
Over the weeks that followed, mindfulness cleared my busy mind enough to get me up and out of bed. During the day I immersed myself in creativity, spending hours on my scrapbook. I gradually stopped automatically telling everyone that I was fine and started to recognise how I was really feeling. From day one I wanted to be honest and open about what I was experiencing. My closest family, friends and colleagues were so supportive and I was lucky to be connected to a local counsellor through my Employee Assistance Programme at work. Talking everything through with someone impartial was invaluable.
On my solo holiday to Santorini in October I decided that I was going to combine creativity with my passion for mental health and share my experiences with others through my own business. And so the idea for Mindful Makes was born. I spent a few months learning how to paint and decoupage images and positive messages onto recycled jars. I launched at Support Local Pop Up in December and have been to several fairs since then, and you can also find my jars on The Pantiles at Hollie’s Little Cakery. My product line has expanded to include my mindful wooden tokens – little nuggets of calm, ideal for someone going through a difficult time.
Mental health is at the heart of Mindful Makes and I aim to make a difference in three ways. Firstly, my own mental health is helped by the creative process and the connections I’m making in Kent, London and beyond on Instagram. Secondly, the products I create bring a little calm to my customers’ day. I’m working on something that will be even more beneficial to someone experiencing a problem with their mental health, watch this space. Lastly, I also donate 8% of my sales to West Kent Mind.
As for my own mental health, I’m doing well. I have a new layer of self awareness to recognise when I start falling into negative patterns and I have a small group of special people to call on when things get tough. The hard times are all temporary, no matter how long they last, they will always pass. Tell someone how you feel, write it down, do something creative and give mindfulness a go. Look after yourself, you are the most important person in your life.”
Mindful Makes is on Instagramand Facebook, and will be online later this year.
Nourish to Thrive
“I set up Nourish to Thrive when struggling to find realistic well being resources for mums after the birth of my second child. A lot of information out there, including recovery from anxiety and post natal depression (which I was experiencing) involved time away from the kids, which isn't always possible. And a lot of spare time, which definitely isn't possible when you're a mum of young kids. So I set out to gather realistic self care and resilience resources for mums and set up the free Nourished Mums community to start sharing them. The community has grown into a great support network for mums, where everyone can safely share any struggles they're experiencing and there's a sense of belonging and "thank goodness it's not just me".
Through sharing my own experience and struggles, I hope to show others that it's ok to be open about our own mental health and ask for help and the support we need.
I now give regular talks and run workshops on the topic of self care for mums, with the aim of easing the transition into motherhood for as many women as possible.
To find out more visit Nourish To Thrive’s website by clicking here or visit their Instagram. Join the Nourished Mums Group on Facebook
Ismini Phillips Studios
“Change happens through movement and movement heals” - Joseph Pilates
Ismini has been teaching Pilates for over 12 years and in that time, has met so many incredible people, some of whom have become friends. People go to Pilates for a variety of reasons – some to get physically fit, but many attend classes or private sessions to calm their minds and bring peace to their entire self. “At the beginning some people come to a lesson feeling nervous and worried, often because they think they won’t fit in; some have a poor body image of themselves because of something someone has said to them as a child, teenager or adult; thinking that they can’t move or that they can’t do the exercises. Trust between teacher and client is vital to enable clients to feel comfortable which can lead to physical, and simultaneously mental changes.”
Ismini tells us how many people are very conscious about their bodies and how they look, which is why body image is so complex. “It can be difficult from an outside perspective to understand how that person feels; anyone, of any size, can be struggling with negative body image. Many clients express how they feel comfortable attending classes at the Studios, unlike their previous experiences in gyms where they felt uncomfortable or out of place. My ethos at the Studios is to focus on how your body feels and enable negative thoughts and trauma to be recognised, to enable change. “
Ismini has come across students who have suffered trauma leaving them with agoraphobia, “but with support and reassurance in class they continue to attend. I see them leave the Studios with a lightness and brightness in their eyes because the concerns they were feeling begin to melt away. I have experienced some clients that are so nervous to attend a class because they have been made to feel out of place in previous situations, but after coming to the Studios they have continued working with me as they notice the benefits in themselves.”
Ismini wanted to share a quote from Moshe Feldenkrais “In order to change our mode of action, we must change the image of ourselves that we carry within us.”
“It has been my dream to have my own Studios where wellbeing can prevail in a safe and calm environment allowing all students to be in touch with their own wellbeing. For some it is allowing a safe place to become aware of and let go of trauma which may be affecting many aspects of their lives, and for others the Studios offer an open and welcoming environment to have fun, make friends and have some time for themselves. I think in the new Studios in Tonbridge (Ismini Phillips Studios) we have created this environment and I have already seen students leave sessions feeling better, not just physically but mentally. Over time I hope we can build a supportive community as dealing with mental health can be tiresome alone. We offer a variety of movement classes; all teachers and therapists are empathetic, and everyone is welcome; come in for a lovely tea or coffee and have a chat with us about how we can help you overcome some of your difficulties. Let’s help you release the pain and bring you back to your true self, where you can function in all aspects of the word.” Visit their website to find out more
Dot Winter Reiki
“I had experience of the mental health sector from an early age. I was diagnosed with clinical depression at age fifteen and spent large swaths of my young adult life in and out of depressive cycles. I stumbled upon Reiki around the time I had my first child and I had never had an experience like it. I could feel every single pull, twitch and movement and I left the most serene, grounded and peaceful I had ever been. I knew this was the beginning of another life for me.”
Dot then went on to learn Usui Reiki and then converted to Tera-Mai TM. This has been an eight year apprenticeship culminating in becoming a Tera-Mai Reiki master.
“I love Reiki because it was a real game changer for my own mental health and because I get to see first hand how it supports, transforms and kick-starts my clients lives for the better. I use it on myself and my family. It has helped educate me on how I hold energy and how I absorb other peoples and insight on me as a person. It has given me spiritual connection and facilitated my own healing and this is how I have learn't to be able to hold space for my clients.” Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or Reach out on Facebook
“My interest in Mental Health began out of a curiosity towards my own. Anxiety played a big part in my twenties and I was given anti-depressants for that, along with a half-hearted attempt at counselling. It was through my experiences with postnatal depression that I decided that I wanted to work in mental health, to help people who had suffered like I had and like me, felt let down by the ‘system’. I studied counselling and volunteered for PANDAS (Post and Antenatal Depression Advice and Support). I started studying for a degree in Psychology and Counselling, and during this time decided that the area of Mental Health that I felt most passionate about was children. I came to yoga and mindfulness as a way to help me deal with my own anxiety and found that I was increasingly using elements of it with my eldest daughter who, although only nine at the time, was already showing signs of anxiety. So, I trained to teach mindfulness to children and TIZZKIDS was born! The more I study and read reports about the state of our collective mental health, the more determined I am to work towards improving it and to do this we need to be pro-active because there are too many children are slipping through the cracks. I truly believe that by providing our children with knowledge about mindfulness, self-care and emotional well-being – they will thrive. And when things go wrong – as they inevitably will – they will have the resilience that they need to deal with whatever the world shows them. Anxiety levels in children are rising and we could talk all day about the many potential reasons for this but we, as parents do have some power to make a difference. Working on these skills with our children is so important and the good news is that I can help!
Over the last couple of years, I have helped children with anxiety, sleep-problems and anger amongst others. I have also run workshops focused on transitioning to secondary school and six-week mindfulness courses for KS1 and KS2 children.
I incorporate important tools for stress management and anxiety which I teach mainly through mindfulness. Sessions focus on slowing down and developing relaxation and grounding techniques. We look at the meaning of self-care and learn accessible breathing, meditation and movement-based practices.” To find out more check out the TizzKids website Or follow them on Instagram: @tizzkids Email: email@example.com Phone: 07887951968
“Mental Health is just as vital as Physical Health and working in the fitness industry allows me to really help people in building their confidence and self-esteem.
I have been fortunate to have been able to help some of my clients who have in the past struggled with their mental health put strategies in place to move the needle forward.
Exercise has a HUGE impact on mental health and the ability you have to cope with things. It can act as an outlet for the daily frustrations or can serve as a method to push you out of your comfort zone, and promote self-growth and increased resilience. Stress has become a bit of a dirty word in recent years but used correctly it is a great tool to help increase resilience and promote better Mental Health; you want enough stress as to promote a positive change, but not too much that you can’t cope with. I.e. if you go to the gym and lift weights, you want to lift heavy enough so you are actually working hard (stressing the body and pushing it out of its comfort zone), but not too much where the following day you can’t move (too much stress can potentially cause a negative association with the activity), so that after a couple of days you have recovered and got a little stronger than before. Over the course of weeks and months, you can become much stronger physically. The same is indeed valid for mental stress and mental health.
As a broad simplification, the distinguishable difference between anxiety and depression is that: Anxiety is worrying about the future and Depression, about the past, so with that in mind I encourage my clients to find ways that will build on their resilience and coping mechanisms in a way the promotes focusing on the present – what you can control.
Health coaching is more than just focusing on what you eat or how you exercise. It is about a complete package and that includes mental health. I, as a Health Coach work to promote a balance in all things and to improve the quality of life of my clients by helping them have the skills and tools necessary to create that balance for themselves.” firstname.lastname@example.org
The Weller Way
Meet Sarah Weller, Mum of four children now all in their 20’s and Founder of The Weller Way, a Parenting and Family Relationship Coaching practice.” I’ve been married to Paul for nearly 30 years and have 2 sons and 2 daughters. We’ve lived in Tunbridge Wells since 1991, moving down from London to find lots more greener spaces for a children to roam. My children are all working now. They have had their fair share of challenges and this really help me be empathetic from a parent’s not just a professional perspective.”
There are 4 elements of Sarah’s business:
Coaching Parents, single and couples in Parenting skills, using NLP , the Circle of Security and Positive Parenting techniques and psychology.
A) Coaching Teenagers who are struggling with Self- esteem, confidence, anxiety , identity etc using Mentoring skills, NLP and Growth Mindset B) Helping children from 7 upwards with anxiety using NLP techniques
Bank shifts at a local homeless hostel, assisting with the running of the hostel , coaching vulnerable youth and training staff in Safeguarding and Mentoring
Public Speaking about the benefits of Positive Parenting on Mental Health for the Whole Family.
Her inspiration for starting her business was to primarily:
Reduce the statistics of youth homelessness and suicide
Increase positivity within families
Help parents, parent cohesively (whether together or separated)
Help families communicate more effectively to meet everyone’s needs
“I always worked part time while the children were small doing various jobs including working at Glazy Daisy. When they were all settled at Primary School, I started to re-build my career, working for the Mental Health Charity Crossways Community, where I helped clients with Mental Health difficulties gain independent living skills and the confidence to be able to settle back into the community from Secure Unit and Prison. I then transitioned into the Homelessness Sector, working with vulnerable youth, in particular teenage single Mums and it was during the course of this work that I became inspired to start my journey to specialising in supporting Parents, particularly those who haven’t got the support of a family network to draw encouragement and advice from or who are looking to break out from an style of parenting that didn’t serve them well.
The Weller Ways draws on all my experience of working with people with Mental Health diagnoses such as Schizophrenia, Bi-Polar and Psychosis and young Mums coming from an abusive background, gangland culture, involved with addiction or domestic violence. These Mums were so determined to break the cycle of abuse or addiction, but because of finding themselves homeless, and struggling with depression and anxiety, it proves challenging. I was determined to find an answer that would break the cycle of emotional abuse present in families and prevent cycles of repeated attachment disorders in children, which often is one of the reasons behind homelessness and suicide. I was drawn to train in an American intervention called The Circle of Security together with NLP and thus the business was born in 2017 to take this knowledge out into the world, as the difference that can make the difference!”
Anne Bayati Hypnotherapy
“Looking back at everything I have done in my life and where I have now ended up, I would never have imagined that my focus, and what I have become very passionate about, would be in supporting people to improve their mental health. I have seen through my hypnobirthing and the 1:1 hypnotherapy work I now do, that if the mind is not in a good place, this will affect every aspect of a person’s home, work and school life and their wellbeing in general.
My introduction to hypnosis and it’s benefits came about quite unexpectedly. As a midwife, I cared for a couple who were hypnobirthing, using hypnosis during childbirth to remain calm and in control. This left a lasting impression on me as I could see firsthand the benefits it brings to the birthing process of having a positive mindset. I began to realise that current antenatal education did not encompass this so I trained as a hypnobirthing practitioner and have been teaching hypnobirthing to expectant couples, both privately and for the NHS, ever since.
Having seen how effective birth could be when the mind was in a good place, I became increasingly interested in the mind and how it could affect the way we think, feel and subsequently behave. The knowledge I acquired through my Hypnobirthing was very limited, however, and I increasingly found that I could not assist those needing a much deeper depth of therapy for various personal, emotional and habitual issues such as anxiety, depression or even childhood trauma. I wanted to learn more about our psychological make-up, expand upon what I knew already and help more people so I went on to further my studies in hypnotherapy and gained a Diploma in Professional Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy. I now see people 1:1 in my therapy room at Salomons Estate, Tunbridge Wells, for a range of issues which are affecting their lives in some way. To give people a greater understanding of their minds, why we can struggle with issues and how to promote good mental health, I have been doing talks on various issues in order to give people some tools to help.
A session would involve a person talking through the issue they are struggling with, followed by the hypnosis and hypnotherapy. Hypnosis is a naturally occurring state of mind; we enter into trance when we daydream or when we read a book for example. In this state, the inner mind becomes more accessible, is more alert and more open to suggestion and change. This is why hypnotherapy can be very effective as changing a limiting belief and introducing a new way of thinking and believing about something can bring about a transformational change in a person. It feels very relaxing and a person is in control at all times.
Seeing increasingly more women and their partners struggling with birth trauma following a difficult birth experience, I did some further training in birth trauma resolution, adding to my hypnotherapy skillset, in order to offer a specialised therapy for this. During a difficult birth, what can happen is that the emotions attached to the experience remain raw, evoking emotion, and making it difficult to get over and move forward. By removing the emotional tag from the experience through the therapy, it then just becomes a memory without the feelings attached. After about three sessions, this can make a big difference to the thoughts and feelings surrounding their previous birth.
Being a new parent or with a growing family is a transition which is both exciting but at the same time, challenging. As a midwife, I found that the postnatal period was a time when, once discharged from midwife care, there was little support for couples with regards to the challenges which new parents, and ones with growing families, can face. Again, for me, the focus was on mental wellbeing as the postnatal period can bring many issues to the fore such as sleep deprivation, coming to terms with a difficult birth experience, losing your identity, loneliness and postnatal depression to name just a few. Women particularly feel that they should be coping well, just like everyone else appears to be, so finding being a parent more difficult comes with feelings of guilt or shame. With all this is mind, I wanted to provide a safe space where couples could come to chat and offload if needed about any issue they were struggling with so last October, I set up a wellbeing drop-in, a free service, where couples could come with their babies/toddlers, and talk to someone who would listen without judgement. Just being able to talk to someone outside the family can be therapeutic in itself and is the first step in improving their mental health. My free wellbeing drop-in’s are every Wednesday between 10am-12pm at Langton Pavilion Cafe, Langton Green, Tunbridge Wells TN3 0JJ.
Following on from all the work I have done to improve the mental wellbeing of expectant couples and new parents, I always thought that my focus would remain here, dealing with issues such as birth trauma, postnatal depression and the fear of childbirth. However, I have been seeing increasingly more children and young adults in my therapy room which saddens me as it reflects the deterioration of good mental health in our young people. This also highlights the importance of looking further into why this is happening and the need for resources within this area in order for families to get the support they need. The statistics show that many children are worrying everyday about themselves, their school or home life; with the teenager, there can be more complex issues such as depression, self-harm and suicidal thoughts. Increased pressures from school, social media and family issues are just some of the factors impacting on their mental wellbeing.
My passion and focus now is to specialise within this field, engaging with schools and colleges, to offer group hypnosis sessions to children/teens and 1:1 therapy for those that need it. Hypnosis works really well with children as they have great imaginations and is very gentle. From my experience, children and young people like the indirect approach hypnosis and hypnotherapy takes which is very different from regular talking therapies.”