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Spalding's Callum Brazzo: 'Time to Talk Day and see 2020 through our own eyes'

This week, on February 6, it is Time To Talk Day 2020. A worldwide opportunity to talk about mental health and chip away at the stigmas.

Local mental health group Community Mind Matters have launched a new trial project to get local people talking about mental health in Ayscoughfee Gardens. The Mental Health Matters Bench overlooks the ornamental lake and offers local people a two hour window every week to sit and chat.

Every Monday at noon till 2pm a Community Mind Matters Support Worker will be on hand to support victims of loneliness, depression, anxiety and bereavement.

Columnist Callum Brazzo (28013407)
Columnist Callum Brazzo (28013407)


Ayscoughfee Hall, Museum and Gardens host the Community Mind Matters weekly support groups on Sundays and Thursdays fromnoon to 4pm. The bench has been provided to Community Mind Matters to trial the project on a small scale before considering expanding into other areas of the town on different weekdays.

The bench also promotes some emergency support options for visitors to Ayscoughfee Gardens. This includes the Community Mind Matters Support Group meeting times, the Shout 24/7 text service and the Samaritans.’

This is a simple yet effective way to start those often delicate but crucial conversations that can begin the healing process for many.

But what if you can’t get out to the bench?

Well, a good (autistic) friend of mine is developing Lions Of Today which is, as I understand, aiming to become a ‘safe haven' on XBOX Live for people with mental health issues And disabilities.

I was overwhelmed by the idea and knowing that many autistic individuals have (like myself) and still do engage online a hell of a lot better online than offline,.It is a project I’m really passionate about.Just recently at Autistic Led, the adult support group I lead, we had a Virtual Reality (VR) session as one of the members had kindly thought to bring it in.

The online world and virtual reality may seem less concrete to those that have grown up in different times or that can adapt more readily to the frequently unrelenting demands of the ‘normal’ or ‘preferred’ world but their capacity to create change and impact people’s lives are no less than any other.

I think it’s essential for us to know that engaging in this world takes many forms and especially on Time To Talk Day 2020, it should not matter how that communication comes because the results of stifling it are of too dire a consequence for someone that may need help.

Instilling a sense of autistic pride is key to empowering people and communities and so on July 26, there is an Autistic Pride and Craft Fair in London, being autistically led by Autistic Inclusive Meets (A.I.M.) an incredible, autistically authentic organisation.

I will be performing and selling my poetry book with funds going back into Autistic Led and it’s this kind of event that unifies and amplifies our voices….but would it ever work in Spalding? We cannot remain insular in our message of peace, love, unity or anything else we may want to promote otherwise change is never fully implemented.

Perhaps it’s a question we can ask further down the train track but right now, we’re on a journey to see 2020 through our own eyes and for it not only to be Time To Talk but Time To Listen. Time To Act.

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