Started in 2009, Mentality began as a space for young people with lived experience of mental health issues to come together and advocate for other young people going through similar experiences.
The project, run by Off The Record (a mental health and wellbeing charity for young people based in Old Market) has evolved and changed over time, becoming a space for people aged 13 to 21 to run campaigns around young people’s mental health rights.
Mentality also became a place to increase the participation, voice and influence of young people in decision making and strategic planning within Bristol’s public services.
“Getting involved in the issues that we are passionate about to bring change has huge positive impacts on our mental health,” explains project leader Allison Joseph. “It also strengthens connections with our communities, which helps reduce loneliness and isolation.”
Mentality has been very successful, and the young people involved have been taught skills in campaigning and activism, with the focus on using activism as radical self-care. This month however, Mentality is evolving again, and Allison and the young people involved are celebrating a new direction for the group.
“The new focus of Mentality looks at inequality in society, how this impacts on our mental health, and what actions we can take to address this,” says Allison. “Part of the ethos of this new direction is the idea that we can all play a part in making a difference – no matter how small or insignificant we may believe our actions to be.
“We also believe that activism, resistance and campaigning activities can be fun, celebratory and bring joy to our lives and that will be a central theme for the projects we work on between activism training sessions.”
Mentality is a project run by Off The Record is a mental health social movement by and for young people aged 11-25 in Bristol and South Gloucestershire. Find out more at www.otrbristol.org.uk
Mentality will celebrate their new direction on Thursday, October 10 from 6.30pm to 8.30pm. Scribble ‘N’ Scratch will perform live graffiti art, hip hop performance and music on the first floor of Hamilton House, 80 Stokes Croft, BS1 3QY
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