Mind Strong Blog

What is a SMI?

When you google What is a SMI here’s what comes up – Serious Mental Illness (SMI) is defined as someone over the age of 18 who has (or had within the past year) a diagnosable mental, behavioural, or emotional disorder that causes serious functional impairment that substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities.

We are a group of women who ALL have lived experience of living with SMI, Serious Mental Illness. Between us, our list of diagnoses ranges from Bipolar, PTSD, Borderline Personality Disorder, Serious Brain Injury, to ASD and ADHD. We have been described as dangerously impulsive, emotionally unstable, nuts, mental and believe me much much more…
 

Over the years our diagnoses have not only affected us personally, but also the people we love; our friends and families have suffered from the physical and/or emotional stress a SMI can cause. Very often they invest a great deal of time and energy and in turn, overlook their own physical and emotional needs which can lead to stress, anxiety, and/or depression.  Although we understand there is a need to label our conditions, we recognise people’s perceptions of us may be skewed and they overlook our creative, quirky, fun, bubbly, sparkly, inspiring, different, happy, intelligent, gifted, original, visionary personalities.  We believe tough times build tough people and between we have all acquired a toolkit of strategies and techniques to effectively manage our own mental health. 

 
We have all used our own personal experiences to better support others who are either going through or been through similar experiences. Between us we have achieved many great things; from managing a community centre, presenting community radio shows, setting up a community interest company, to name just a few. 

 
One thing we have in common is our SMI and when we initially met each other, we already felt an unspoken understanding of each other, our experiences gave us an instant connection which has led to strong friendships being formed. We feel we are a force to be reckoned with, as well as being positive role models not just for the SMI community but for anyone who may have fears or reservations about people with serious mental health conditions. It is exactly for this reason we would like to work together to organise a’ Feel Good Festival!’ We want to embrace the term SMI by wearing t-shirts with ‘SMI-le’ and a huge beaming smile on them!

 ‘Feel Good in the Woods’ Women’s Wellbeing Festival Weekend! 
 

As women with serious mental illness, we have interrelated social, physical, and mental health needs, and often experience stigmatising attitudes, our aim is to provide an opportunity for women both with and without SMI’s to get together in a safe and supportive outdoor environment, have fun, dance, laugh, paint, make friends, try new things, broaden our horizons and feel happy! 

 
Click here to be part of this fabulous event! https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/feel-good-festival-tickets-342686202657?utm-campaign=social&utm-content=attendeeshare&utm-medium=discovery&utm-term=listing&utm-source=cp&aff=escb
 

Free workshops will be delivered over the course of a day, followed by an overnight camp for the more wild at heart. There will be a wide variety of empowering activities, designed to improve self-esteem, confidence, health and mental wellbeing, with everything from alternative therapies, yoga, art, poetry to great food, great music, bush craft; fully utilising nature and the outdoors. We want to offer this to women only to ensure the participants can feel safe, relax, feel connected, have a voice and not feel they have to be self-censoring, giving them an opportunity to discuss women’s issues, such as pregnancies, motherhood, menopause!

We would also like to have health professionals; mental health charities and organisations take part so people can learn more about SMI’s and help diminish both fears and misconceptions. 
 
Outcomes:
We are aiming to achieve through this event; such as connecting with others, making new friendships, trying new things, enjoying life, learning new skills, and supporting others, there is also the potential for a longer-term impact within the community. The community centre with its outdoor field and woodland area is a perfect venue to continue to provide activities and raise awareness. Working with an events organisation we will learn new skills which will increase our capacity to organise further events ourselves in future. We want to generate ideas from participants on the days of more activities they would like to see available in the centre. Provide more volunteering opportunities for people to gain a sense of purpose and achievement. 
 
Are you ready to feel connected, empowered, happiness & that community feeling?
 
Cant wait to meet you
Click here to be part of this fabulous event! https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/feel-good-festival-tickets-342686202657?utm-campaign=social&utm-content=attendeeshare&utm-medium=discovery&utm-term=listing&utm-source=cp&aff=escb
 
Rachael x
 
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