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Look beyond the label this World Mental Health Day

Talking mind matters on World Mental Health Day, we spoke to two social enterprises with a mental health focus as they create

Mental health is a matter worth thinking about.

With no physical signs in most cases, the agonising day-to-day impact mental health problems can have on people’s lives can almost be forgotten by the rest of the world.

That’s why the World Health Organisation call on people to turn their attentions to it every year with World Mental Health Day.

On October 10, depression, anxiety and other mental health issues will be at the forefront of everyone’s minds with the theme of this year’s campaign focusing on the workplace.

The day provides the chance “for all stakeholders working on mental health issues to talk about their work, and what more needs to be done to make mental health care a reality for people worldwide”, according to organisers.

Two social enterprises who take the day to heart are Studio 306 Collective and JOLT, providing high-quality products made by skilled arts and craft practitioners who are recovering from their own battles with mental illness.

Studio 306 intricately handcraft ceramics, jewellery, textiles and screen-printed products providing therapy through the creation of china mugs, silver necklaces and linen cosmetic bags.

The not-for-profit organisation also helps to take those who have isolated themselves as a result of anxiety and bring them back into a welcoming community.

And the collective certainly put their own quirky stamp on their products in their Haringey studio.

Their iPad tablet cases (sort of!) feature the royal seal of approval with their postage stamp stylings while padding and zip fasteners ensure that electronics can escape damage or disaster.

JOLT also aim to live up to their name and by shaking up the perceptions of mental health in adulthood.

The homeware brand is brought to life by adults referred through mental health services with an experimental studio session inspiring the first collection of cushions, napkins and notebooks.

Designed and made by Designs in Mind, all profits are re-invested back into the project, allowing the Shropshire social enterprise to focus on challenging the culture of low expectation that surrounds many of the talented people who craft their products.

Their unique and varied range of colourful linen cushions offer a soothing and intriguing insight into the mind of the maker.

The organisation’s ‘Look Beyond The Label’ tagline challenges everybody to ignore the misconceptions around mental health as well as embracing the shopping with a social echo mantra also shared by The Big Issue Shop.

And this is no more prescient than on World Mental Health Day as one of JOLT’s master craftsmen Rosie admits.

She says: “It’s the one day I have permission not to feel bad about my mental health, not to feel shame that I have a problem.”

While fellow JOLT artisan Lucy sums it up when she explains: “World Mental Health Day is about making the general public realise the people they see in the street might look complete, but they may be broken inside.”

See products from JOLT artisans and Studio 306 collective, as well as The Big Issue’s own #WearABigIssue T-shirts addressing mental health issues in The Big Issue Shop’s World Mental Health Day Collection.

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