To mark Mental Health Awareness Week, three generations of a Nottinghamshire care community have shared their thoughts on mental health – how perceptions have changed over time, what it means to them and what makes them happy.
Wren Hall, a dementia specialist nursing home in Selston, Nottinghamshire, sits next-door to Little Wrens nursery, which caters to preschool aged children.
With intergenerational relationships a key part of their combined offering, Mental Health Awareness Week provided an opportunity to gauge different perceptions around the subject – so the team at the home asked a mix of residents, carers and children from the nursery what their thoughts were on mental health.
The result was an at times tearjerking and at times heart-warming video that underlined the generational differences in perceptions – as care residents in their 70s and 80s, carers in their 30s and 40s, and children aged between two and five gave their take.
Penny Haney, one of the staff at Wren Hall, said: “Growing up mental health was never spoken about at all. Things that happened in your own four walls never got spoken about outside.”
Care resident, 90-year-old Keith, echoed that sentiment, saying: “In school, I was never taught about mental health.” While 87-year-old Joyce, another resident, felt perceptions were changing: “People think about it more than they used to, years ago, when I was a child. If you were frightened at school, we didn’t get the support that they get today.”
Talking about support, two-year-old, Nancy, when asked who she would talk to if sad, said: “My mummy and daddy. I love my mummy and daddy.”
When asked about the key to a happy life, Penny said: “Friends, family and laughter.” And four-year-old Grayson, when asked what was important in life said: “Putting seat belts on.”
With the ONS recently reporting a rise in the number of young people suffering from mental health issues, conversations around the topic are more important than ever. Anita Astle MBE, owner and manager of Wren Hall, said: “Mental health is an extremely important issue across all generations. No matter our age, we can all appreciate happiness, sadness and the full spectrum in between, with any number of things impacting our feelings and wider wellbeing. Within the combined communities of Wren Hall and Little Wrens, we’re very much focused on promoting good mental health, and our intergenerational relationships bring much joy.”
She continued: “And with it being Mental Health Awareness Week we realised this was the perfect time to encourage conversations around the topic and thought asking three generations would provide some interesting insight. It didn’t disappoint with sometimes moving, sometimes hilarious takes emerging!”