It’s World Mental Health Day! And World Homeless Day.

And, as a matter of fact, World Porridge Day.

Although each of these days were established by different groups for different reasons, there is a strong link.

Serious mental illness makes a person overwhelmingly unlikely to be in full time work. Chapter Mental Health currently provide support to 78 people – none of them (zero– 0%!) have a full time job. The way in which our service users experience their mental illness means this is impossible. It doesn’t mean they can’t work at all, but their professional potential is stymied by their illness’s symptoms, the side effects of their medication, and – all too often – social isolation and lack of confidence. Chapter’s voluntary placements programme has secured work experience for service users at over 500 local businesses over 25 years, and helps to build skills in a professional environment.

This leads to economic disadvantage, and 94% of our service users are reliant on benefits-based incomes. This, in turn, leads to precarious housing situations, which can worsen mental health problems and potentially lead to homelessness. Chapter’s key workers have extensive knowledge of local housing agencies, and our support helps to keep our service users in secure housing.

So how does porridge fit in? Well, World Porridge Day was set up by a charity (Mary’s Meals) who aim to combat food poverty by providing simple meals. Mental illness puts a person at a much higher risk of food poverty, and that’s why Chapter’s Healthy Eating Clubis one of our most popular activities. Here, every two weeks, service users learn how to prepare a simple, low-budget and nutritious meal for themselves.

In these simple ways, Chapter empowers its services users with the basic life skills they need to take control of their future.

So today, enjoy good mental health, good housing – and good porridge.

#WorldMentalHealthDay #WorldMentalHealthDay2018