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Suffolk Libraries Mental Health Awareness Week

Suffolk Libraries is supporting Mental Health Awareness Week (13-19 May) and celebrating all the services, groups and resources it offers for mental health and wellbeing.

This year’s theme is body image and self-esteem, which Sarah Lungley, Suffolk Libraries Mental Health and Wellbeing Coordinator, believes is an important topic because “many factors can affect how people view themselves and their bodies, from social media and relationships to physical disabilities and long-term conditions or illnesses.”

In 2016, Suffolk Libraries launched their New Chapters service, aimed at improving health and wellbeing through events, group meetings, information and reading recommendations.

“Our libraries offer all sorts of groups and resources that can help, including accessible exercise classes, walking groups, wellbeing drop-ins and activities for young people.”

Since its launch, New Chapters has spawned eight weekly meeting groups across libraries called Open Space sessions. The latest of these launched in April this year at Chantry Library and is the first Open Space group specifically targeting young people aged 11-17. They have also launched the Pride & Periods scheme, which means to tackle period poverty by providing free sanitary items at libraries.

Open Space groups are run in partnership with Suffolk and Norfolk NHS Foundation Trust, Julian Support, Richmond Fellowship and Suffolk Mind. For more information on Open Space or New Chapters, you can visit https://www.suffolklibraries.co.uk/health/

Here are some Open Space sessions taking place during Mental Health Awareness Week:

 13th May – Bury St Edmunds Library: 2pm to 4pm. Activity: Painting stones, shells and wood.

14th May – Stowmarket Library: 11am to 1pm. Activity: Discussion around mental wellbeing.

15th May – Newmarket Library: 2:30pm to 4:30pm. Activity: Scrapbooking and collaging.

16th May – Sudbury Library: 12:30 to 2:30pm. Activity: Walk along the river.

16th May – Chantry Library: 3:30 to 5:30pm. Activity: Discussing body image and ideas for future Open Space sessions

Suffolk Libraries also provides opportunities for self-learning on these subjects and will be publishing new book lists and eLibrary content to their website on 13th May.

Other health and wellbeing events taking place in libraries this week are listed below:

  • Pampering, shopping and wellbeing fundraising event at Gainsborough Community Library – 11 May
  • Mindfulness for Health talk with Integrative Mind specialist Jill Yarrow at Newmarket Library – 11 May
  • Introduction to meditation and healing at Saxmundham Library – 13 May
  • Chair Yoga with Maryanne for seniors at Sudbury Library – 14 May
  • Make your own happiness jar at Haverhill Library – 18 May

For more information on these events, visit the Suffolk Libraries website.

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