When I went to the local mental health support service, they told me that there was a men’s group and a women’s group, and I could join the women’s group after some 1-on-1 sessions. Not exactly the informal, queer-friendly, peer support group I’d hoped for.
I got in touch with a customer at the cafe where I’d worked who’d talked about the S.A.D parties they’d been a part of in Bristol. I was keen for us to have something similar in Kirkcaldy. I think it’s important to integrate mental health support into our communities, and I think peer-support can be so much more than the formalised, institutional version often encountered and written about in mh services.
We put together a planning group on facebook. After running an art club at the Christmas Bazaar at the Auld Kirk, it seemed a great venue (although pretty large). We booked it, and agreed that although the event would be free we’d take donations on the door towards the cost of the hall and run a bake sale. I created several promotional posters, and we set about spreading the word and asking for folks to get involved.
Loads of members of the community came forward with offers of activities – reiki, massage, yoga, song and dance workshops, retro gaming consoles, nails, face painting. Some Edinburgh Zine Library members agreed to come across the water with some zines and run a chilled out reading space.
The day itself was frantic – with easily 100 people through the door it was a great turn out, with a really positive atmosphere. It almost felt like a skill share, and it would be nice to build on that feeling for future events. We had a wide range of people come through the door, and it was great to have such a community atmosphere throughout the event.