Smile! Support these Movements to raise Londoners’ Mental Health

This World Mental Health Day we bring you some of London’s most exciting projects that you need to visit soon if you want to join the fight against mental illness, refind your balance – or just have a great time.

Seriously: we Londoners need to talk about our mental health.

Mental health is a huge, much misunderstood area of modern life. The numbers alone show why we need to think more about our personal and collective mental health. Here’s the statbomb:

Over two million Londoners (nearly 1 in 4) experience mental ill health each year
–  43% of Londoners with a mental health issue are in employment – compared to the national average of 74%
Nearly 90% of Londoners reported that the stigma around talking about mental health has a negative effect on their lives
– In the UK more than one million UK employees could face demotion, disciplinary or dismissal after sharing mental health issues at work
– three in five (60%) employees say they’ve experienced mental health issues because of their job.
– employees take seven days off work a year for health reasons – 2.8 of these days are estimated to be related to mental health problems.

I could go on. So many people are wedded to this work hard, play hard mantra of this city of ours and sometimes we don’t want to own up to how much it gets to us. Now this changes: we need to be conscious and mindful about our mental health. That’s why we at GOtilo are huge supporters of World Mental Health day – and it’s why, on this day we bring you some of London’s most exciting projects that you need to visit soon if you want to join the fight against mental illness, refind your balance – or just have a great time.

Better Health Bakery, Haggerston

Better Health Bakery, in Haggerston, is run by mental health charity The Centre For Better Health. It trains adults recovering from poor mental health to bake fresh, and good.

It’s all pretty scrumptious stuff. They freshly bake sourdough loaves and pastries everyday with a selection of lunchtime sandwiches available Tuesday to Thursday and pizza on Fridays.

It’s no surprise that actual baking is far more therapeutic watching episodes of  Bake Off. Speaking to HuffPo, associate professor of psychological and brain sciences at Boston University, Donna Pincus said: “Baking has the benefit of allowing people creative expression…. there is a stress relief that people get from having some kind of an outlet and a way to express themselves.”

Fancy helping out at Better Health Bakery? Get volunteering. Check out


MindFood, Ealing

So how about improving mental wellness, while also doing your best impression of Richard Briers or Felicity Kendall from The Good Life? (a bit of a retro reference there, admittedly). Well, MindFood is an ecotherapy social enterprise based in Ealing that supports people from West London with mental health issues such as depression and anxiety to improve their wellbeing through growing and selling food.

It offers a range of nature-based, therapeutic courses that help people to manage and improve their wellbeing.

It equips people with practical skills in how to grow food and horticulture. And it provides opportunities to build new social connections and social capital through fascinating courses and through selling ‘good mood food’ at farmers markets. And did we mention, that it is 5 years old today?

Interested? Check out this video of their Growing Wellbeing course:

Growing Wellbeing 6 week course

Ealing based MindFood run a 6 week course called ‘Growing Wellbeing’ that focuses on the 5 ways to wellbeing in a food growing environment. The course is designed to be a fun balance of learning how to grow a wide range of fruit and vegetables whilst becoming more mindful of ways to improve our wellbeing.

Posted by Mindfood CIC on Friday, September 11, 2015


MindFood’s organically grown and freshly cut produce can be bought from Acton Market in the summer and autumn months. Like their Facebook page to find out when they’ll next be there. 

Interested in stocking MindFood’s organically and locally grown produce? Please contact or fill the enquiry form here


Thrive LDN

Ok, moving on from the Uber wars, better mental health is something we can all agree that the Mayor should get behind. Thrive LDN is a citywide movement supported by the Mayor of London and led by the London Health Board to improve the mental health and wellbeing of all Londoners. It has some fantastic aims:

  • A city where individuals and communities take the lead
  • A city free from mental health stigma and discrimination
  • A city that maximises the potential of children and young people
  • A city with a happy, healthy and productive workforce
  • A city with services that are there when, and where needed
  • A zero suicide city

It also has created this fantastic shareable graphic concerning the prevalence of mental illness among Londoners that you might like to share about your social media networks to amaze and inform your friends:There are Thrive LDN activities all this week; see if there’ s a workshop or event you fancy near you on their events page.

Regular readers will note that our friends at GoodGym are doing a Thrive London event – definitely worth getting involved.


The 888 Collective: Pop-Up launching 31st October

We are particularly excited for the launch of The 888 Collective. Social entrepreneurs Jana Dowling and Clare Nash are behind this mental-health focussed initiative and we like what we’ve seen of the plans so far. We reckon you need to get on over and check it out.

Both founders suffered from and identified stigma around mental health at work. Clare ‘suffered with anxiety and depression in the past.’ Jana ‘struggled when (she) had to take time off for (her) mental health.’ As she notes on their website:

‘The step from being unemployed and unwell to being back in a full and competitive working environment is vast’

Now they are doing something to join the fight against such stigma. On 31st October their pop-up cafe and shop will launch in Hackney, which will staffed by people with mental health issues. In due course there will be an array of design driven merch and art, stories and more and then come the events:  mental wellness focussed workshops and classes. The plan, as the company grows and diversifies, is to offer an array of jobs to people suffering from mental illnesses.

We are huge supporters of this project. We note that the collective are currently fundraising for a permanent space with some great incentives for people who donate. Let’s back them! Here’s their GoFundMe page. Anything you can give would be most appreciated and there are some pretty cool rewards on offer too.

Stay safe, look after each other – and have a joyous world mental health day. And if you want some company, come join our community group: London’s ethical city explorers.

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