It’s easier than ever to communicate to anyone in the world, yet it sometimes seems everyone is connected but not connecting. A report from the Jo Cox Commission last year found that more than nine million people in the UK feel lonely and one in four people suffer from a mental health problem.
The links between homelessness and mental health are staggering, with four out of five rough sleepers that died in the capital last year deemed in need of mental health support, and many of our own Big Issue vendors have experience of mental ill-health.
The Big Issue Shop is a place to indulge in guilt-free retail therapy with amazing products that boast a social echo.
But did you know that many of our brands work with people aiding recovering from a range of mental health problems?
Each year on October 10, the World Health Organisation calls on people to turn their attentions to mental health. That’s why today we’re highlighting the work of amazing social enterprises like JOLT and Studio 306.
JOLT’s colourful designs are created by makers in their Designs In Mind studio in Shropshire.
The bold and bright patterns come from the adults they support, referred through mental health services.
Aiming to build their self-worth and become active members of society, all designs are born in experimental workshops with members, aiming to challenge the low expectation that surrounds those with mental health issues.
Whether it’s the Cabbage Mountain design (left), or the unusual Chopsticks pattern (right), these bold impactful cushions are bound to brighten up any home.
Not for profit Studio 306 hit the headlines this Spring when project manager Pamela Anomneze was invited to the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex for her tireless work with the CIC and her local community.
The community interest company, which specialises in designing high quality ceramics, jewellery, sewing craft and screen printed products has its studio in Haringey, North London.
It’s not only their hand-hammered silver jewellery that’s got the royal seal of approval. These iPad tablet cases do too (sort of!) with a postage stamp styling, while padding and zip fasteners ensure that electronics can escape damage or disaster.
Studio 306 disadvantaged local individuals by offering a creative space for those who are recovering from mental illness, where they can rediscover forgotten skills, develop new ones and boost their confidence within a working environment.
Handmade in London, Sweet Cavanagh jewellery is created by women recovering from eating disorders and addiction.
Owned by charity Free Me, Sweet Cavanagh offers a safe space for its beneficiaries to get the support they need, break negative behaviour patterns and reduce relapse by providing a therapeutic outlet for the women involved.
The Big Issue Street Art
The Big Issue magazine’s Street Art page features the work of people who are marginalised by issues like homelessness, disability and mental health conditions.
One contributor, Antony, suffers from psychosis and was homeless for a long period of time after being kicked out of his parents’ house. After staying in different places including a tent, a boat and a garden shed, he now finally has a flat of his own. “I do not want anybody experiencing what I had to,” he says, “I want to help those who are in need by the distribution of survival goods starting off with survival blankets with art on them.”
You can buy prints of Antony’s work, along with that of many of our other street art contributors in The Big Issue shop.