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How 'Soulful Fridays' helps those with mental health issues back into the community

PUBLISHED: 14:00 22 June 2019 | UPDATED: 14:06 22 June 2019

'Soulful Fridays' group enjoys making music as their pathway to recovery. Picture: Mike Brooke

'Soulful Fridays' group enjoys making music as their pathway to recovery. Picture: Mike Brooke

Mike Brooke

Women recovering from mental health conditions who've been learning musical instruments on their path back to the community got together in the open to practice in Victoria Park.

'Soulful Fridays' is one of eight organisations making up the 'Inspire' coalition of Tower Hamlets mental health charities. Picture: Mike Brooke'Soulful Fridays' is one of eight organisations making up the 'Inspire' coalition of Tower Hamlets mental health charities. Picture: Mike Brooke

They were celebrating yesterday's third anniversary of Inspire, a coalition of Tower Hamlets mental health organisations, bringing volunteers together with those needing the services.

One of the organisations is Soulful Fridays, whose coordinator is professional musician Elaine Vassell who runs 'open house' sessions at the Mind Tower Hamlets centre in Whitethorne Street in Bow.

One of her volunteers is Harriet Mossop, 44, is a recoverer helping run the weekly sessions.

"We use music as part of the path to recovery," she explains. "You feel better doing something positive.

"I had issues, but this affirms my own recovery, a way of giving something back to the community."

One group member, Regina, uses the open sessions to deal with her severe depression.

She said: "This helps to connect with myself. I have bipolar issues, but the music helps me manage my darker conditions."

The organisations gathered at Vicky Park's 'Hub' centre yesterday included Recovery College in Whitechapel which runs courses in reconnecting with the community, the Mind charity in Bromley-by-Bow working with accommodation services, the Working Well Trust in Bethnal Green helping with employment and St Hilda's community centre in Shoreditch, all collaborating to get people on the road to recovery.

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