Havering Council has teamed up with Havering MIND and other local charities to raise awareness of mental health and wellbeing. It comes as many residents are dealing with extra stress and anxiety because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The new #BeNiceToYourNoggin campaign will highlight the range of help and support available in the borough, through a series of original cartoons created by local Hornchurch illustrator, Richard Darani.
The “Noggins” are imaginative characters that want to help people open up to what can be difficult conversations about isolation, grief and bereavement, stress, depression, anxiety, along with other issues that are being made worse by the pandemic.
#BeNiceToYourNoggin will also feature a series of events for residents and businesses with the Council, local charities and mental health experts to help encourage a two-way conversation about mental wellbeing.
Leader of the Council, Cllr Damian White said:
“As we experience continued reduced contact with our friends, family, community networks and colleagues, taking care of our mental health and wellbeing has never been more critical than it is now.
“Unfortunately, a lot of people do not feel entitled to seek help and have difficulty accessing it when they do. This new campaign will highlight and connect people to the wealth of excellent services and community support that we are lucky to have in our borough.
I hope #BeNicetoYourNoggin will make it easier for us all to talk about the issues we’re facing at the moment because of COVID-19 and that it will enable residents to be able to access that vital help they may need.”
CEO of Havering MIND, Sarah Balser, said:
“Mental health illnesses affect many people, with one in six saying they have experienced anxiety or depression in any given week; that’s why we are encouraging everyone to #BeNicetoYourNoggin.
“Poor mental health can be long-lasting and more impactful than other health conditions, because it impacts on people and their families, in lost jobs and income, lower self-esteem and educational attainment, and quality of life. So looking after our mental health is as important as looking after our physical health.”
Richard Darani, Noggins Illustrator, said:
“We’re all so busy trying to get our family through the current pandemic on a day-to-day basis that we rarely find time to recognise our own emotions and responses. I hope my illustrations will help to start conversations around mental health by helping people realise they are not alone in how they may be feeling.”
More information on the campaign and how to get involved can be found at www.havering.gov.uk/benicetoyournoggin