Writing is on the wall in Whitechapel, spreading the word on mental health

PUBLISHED: 07:00 21 February 2017

Children get cracking with mural on Whitechapel's Collingwood housing estate

Children get cracking with mural on Whitechapel's Collingwood housing estate

Charlie Human

Children have been splashing paint on the wall of a housing estate in London’s East End—and no-one seems to mind.

Starting on the muralStarting on the mural

They were, in fact, encouraged to cover a wall on the state with brushwork and even their handprints.

The mural now proudly displayed on Whitechapel’s Collingwood Estate is part of an educational project by the Young Minds charity with NHS Tower Hamlets Clinical Commissioning Group to help youngsters and their families know more about mental health and tackle it together.

The mural was organised by Charlie Human, from Bethnal Green’s Good Shepherd Church nearby, created on the estate where he grew up.

Hands on... that's the theme of Collingwood estate's new muralHands on... that's the theme of Collingwood estate's new mural

“I’m passionate about giving back to and serving the community,” he said.

“My hope is that this project is the start of many more, and that I’ll be able to have an impact on my old estate in a positive way.”

The mural highlights two of the “five ways to wellbeing” which are to connect with others, be active, mark your mind, learn and help others, which mental health campaigners say creates better understanding all round.

Finishing touches to the children's own  muralFinishing touches to the children's own mural

They estimate one-in-10 children and one-in-four adults will experience some kind of mental health difficulty in their lifetime, like stress, depression, loneliness or anxiety. But they point out that there is support available when people need it.

Dr Judith Littlejohns, an East End GP in an area with high rates of mental illness in the community, said: “Being open about your mental wellbeing is important at every age and it’s encouraging seeing children and their parents as the focus for this campaign.

“It’s important for people to understand that they’re not alone with their feelings.”

Hands on... that's the theme of the new muralHands on... that's the theme of the new mural

The GPs in the East End stress that being open about mental health ‘normalises’ it, which encourages people to seek support when they need it.

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