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Redbridge’s second annual mental health festival highlights the importance of relaxation

PUBLISHED: 15:00 12 November 2016

Crowds at the Redbridge Institute's mental health festival on Thursday.

Crowds at the Redbridge Institute's mental health festival on Thursday.

Matt Clemenson

Free manicures, massages and even lessons in reiki and meditation were on offer for free at the borough’s second annual mental health festival on Thursday.

Free manicures were on offer at the Redbridge Institute's mental health festival.Free manicures were on offer at the Redbridge Institute's mental health festival.

Organised jointly by Redbridge Concern for Mental Health (RCMH) and the Redbridge Institute for Adult Education and held at their premises in Gaysham Avenue, Gants Hill, the event offered everything from information on welfare benefits to the chance to sign up to football sessions designed to aid mental health.

Joni Cunningham, Redbridge Institute principal, told the Recorder that the day was a vital chance for residents from across the borough to come and learn innovative and surprising ways they could improve their mental health.

She said: “This is our second year and we’re pleased with the turn out so far. It’s so important across the country that we try and do more to understand the effect activity can have on a person’s mental health.

“What makes today so good is that it gives all these charities and services a chance to meet and discuss each other’s work, as well as introducing people to other services they might be able to make use of.

Free massages were on offer at the Redbridge Institute's mental health festival.Free massages were on offer at the Redbridge Institute's mental health festival.

“For example we’ve got some groups here today that work to help people back into work, which is something a lot of people suffering from mental ill health need support with.

“But we wanted it to be a more jubilant atmosphere, which it has been, which is why we called it a festival.”

Our reporter was on hand to try out one of the meditation taster sessions, aimed at giving those in attendance a small understanding of how to control their breathing and relax their breathing.

June Hayes, who ran both the meditation and reiki sessions during the day, stressed to those present how important it was to look after your own mental state.

Crowds at the Redbridge Institute's mental health festival.Crowds at the Redbridge Institute's mental health festival.

“Just taking 10 minutes at the start of the day, listening to calm music and relaxing your body, can help chill you out and get your day off to the best possible start.”


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