Not only can shared food, drink, dance and entertainment bring us all together but such accessible community hubs like The Ridings can connect people from all backgrounds and help all of our mental well-being. 

From diner style dancing to creating tik tok videos whilst waiting for a hearty old-fashioned Sunday Dinner in a cozy pub setting (and that was just lunch for us at Ruby Lous). 

Followed by a youtube-style shopping haul inside The Ridings Shopping Centre while browsing the craft fayre.

Pretty much sums up the beautiful blend of generations in today’s society which we were reminded of at yet another fun-filled family day out at The Ridings recently. 

Tucked inside the shopping centre is a hubbub of activities with their older customers in mind recently. The retail hub which is steeped in history and memories, is now home to a thriving throng of creative businesses, The Den play centre and the Reel Cinema.  

‘Silver Sunday’ marked a national day for older people where I witnessed the power of intergenerational communities at The Ridings to help one another. Not only is it more important than ever to showcase our support for older people in such a time of enforced isolation but to actively join together to share music, dance, food, and crafts.

Silver Sunday lunch with Bake Off’s Karen Wright

The award-winning shopping centre chimed to the music of Alzheimer’s UK dementia-friendly choir, tea dancing and war-time style entertainment aligning the shopping mall. As well as mindfulness crafts for mental health, board games and an old-school Sunday Dinner from Ruby Lous’ traditional looking pub. Pubs, bars and community clubs are another lost community in many areas with so many closures in recent times.

But today was a day to showcase Age UK Wakefield’s awesome collaborative event with The Ridings and celebrate the older people in the Wakefield district. 

The Yard which is home to large chess, table tennis and social space played host to a traditional tea dance, an afternoon tradition normally coupled with afternoon tea (a good excuse to buy a dough-boy donut from Arrow Fresh and a coffee from Grind).

There were even more buns, cakes and places to shop at the Silver Sunday market which twisted around the food court, a favourite place of mine to hot desk when passing through town on business alone or grabbing a quick pit-stop treat in between shopping. 

We finished off our traditional roast at Ruby Lous with a dessert of insta-friendly waffles from a Belgian grandma’s wonderful recipe.

As the kids devoured the waffles amongst the cozy pub and grub offering, I chatted to staff and fellow punters before happily polishing off their leftovers. 

World Mental Health Day 2021

Now the volume is turned down, the event has finished, it’s important to continue the action and recognise World Mental Health Day which this year is poignantly themed on Mental Health in an Unequal World, which means limited accessibility for communities who vitally need it. This can lead to further isolating issues such as addictions, debt, unemployment, and further ill health.

Not only is mental health an invisible disability and ‘Cinderella service’ when it comes to funding but more issues are faced by many of our wonderful communities who already have been isolated.

All is not lost, however, because we have the power of shared knowledge of how to recognise and understand the need to seek support for people. Not to mention the community groups who work hard, often made up of people from similar backgrounds, to help others.

If we are in a privileged position to speak up, I urge you too not just to promote one special day but to demand better funding, services and ensuring we welcome one another with open minds and hearts. This is the human spirit.

What is World Mental Health Day 2021 and what is the theme?

World Mental Health Day 2021 is on Sunday 10th October 2021. The theme this year is “Mental Health in an Unequal World”.

What does Mental Health in an UnEqual World mean? 

The wealthier are still becoming wealthier and the poorer are still becoming poorer. It also means that there’s an inequality due to race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and gender as 2020 highlighted.  Between 75% to 95% of people with mental disorders in low- and middle-income countries are unable to access mental health services at all, and access in high-income countries is not much better. Lack of investment in mental health disproportionate to the overall health budget contributes to the mental health treatment gap.

Many people with a mental illness do not receive the treatment that they are entitled to and deserve and together with their families and carers continue to experience stigma and discrimination. The gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’ grows ever wider and there is continuing unmet need in the care of people with a mental health problem.

Dan from thoughts on Mental Health: You never know what’s going on inside another person’s head so be kind to them and ask them if they’re OK and if they’re not, ask them what you can do to help them.

If you’re in good mental health, you can:

·     Make the most of your potential

·     Cope with life

·     Play a full part in your family, workplace, community, and other friends.

·     A few stats about Mental Health:

Anxiety affects 284 million people in the world.

Depression affects 264 million people.

Alcohol use disorder affects 107 million people.

Drug use disorder affects 71 million people.

Bipolar disorder affects 46 million people.

Schizophrenia affects 20 million people.

Eating disorders affect 16 million people


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