The UK’s first mental wellbeing festival kicks off tomorrow and Lauren Windle asks what small change we can make to improve our mental health
Festivals used to mean questionable toilet facilities, wellies caked in mud and psychedelic drugs, but these days they’ve taken on new meaning. Of course, us Christians have had our own type of festival for years, and that’s more sleepless nights and shouty preachers in the centre of a circus tent.
Now it seems that the rest of the world is catching up and using the corporate gathering set-up to promote health and wellbeing rather than just the indie band du jour. So, tomorrow Saturday, October 7, London will play host to the first mental health festival.
We are far more aware of mental health and the implications on a person’s social, physical, and spiritual health too.
We are far more aware of mental health and the implications on a person’s social, physical, and spiritual health too. I’m delighted to see more and more authors, researchers, church leaders and activists writing about mental health from a Christian perspective and using the Bible as a guide.
A study in 2016 from The Mental Health Foundation found that one in six adults suffers from anxiety and depression, and one in five adults has suicidal thoughts. In addition, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), levels of anxiety and depression have increased by 25 per cent. For anyone who is in this category, there are a lot of support options both in and out of the Church, for example the work of Christian charity Kintsugi Hope. Then there are festivals like Go Mental, which will be: “An empowering destination for all things mental wellbeing and is designed to break the silence and stigma around mental health and reduce suicide rates.”
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Go Mental Founder Rosie Millen, AKA Miss Nutritionist, suffered from severe burnout in 2010. She collapsed from too much stress and was bed bound for three years. She also contemplated suicide as her mental wellbeing collapsed, and she found herself in a very dark place. Rosie said: “Every day I would wake up with no energy, totally depressed and helpless. There were so many times when I didn’t want to be alive anymore. I considered taking my life three times. Only when I educated myself and put it all into practice did I get better and back on my feet for good.”
One in six adults suffers from anxiety and depression, and one in five adults has suicidal thoughts.
As with many people who experience a time of challenge, after Rosie’s recovery she wanted to help others with mental health struggles, and so established the festival. While the event isn’t associated with Christianity, we know God provides a number of tools to help us, regroup and connect with those around us in a healthy way.
My challenge to you is: what positive step could you take for your mental health? Could you get out the house more? Go for a walk or do some exercise? Be more disciplined about the time you go to sleep? Drink more water? Drink less alcohol? Set aside more time for prayer or Bible reading? Do something good for someone else? Connect with others through events or Church? Small changes can make all the difference.
Find out more at and get your ticket at: https://www.go-mental.co.uk/