The Wild Mind Project, in Brighton, provides well-being support for young people experiencing mental ill-health through a combination of nature activities such as mindful walks, conservation and gardening, combined with creative activities.
They also provide a safe space for young people to meet others experiencing similar issues to talk about their thoughts and feelings.
The Wild Mind Project received a grant of £4,810 to provide two, four-week programmes for LGBTQ+ young people.
Lucy* was sectioned for nine months in a hospital in the north of England, far away from her family in Sussex. During her hospitalisation she was rarely able to see her family and due to reduced staff during the pandemic only had 45 minutes outside every few days.
Lucy now has acute social anxiety amongst other mental health issues including an eating disorder. Lucy pretty much lived in her bedroom and so it took a lot of persuasion to get her to attend The Wild Mind Project programme. She did not talk, avoided all eye contact, and would not join in any activities.
Staff and the other young people gently supported her and by the end of the third session she was sharing her story with the group, who were incredibly supportive. By week four Lucy was fully engaged with all the activities and to staff’s delight was laughing! She has subsequently got a job and keeps in touch with the rest of the group on WhatsApp.
“It has been amazing to do the sessions as it is really calm and relaxing. Being in nature has allowed time to unwind and socialising with fellow LGBTQ+ people has been lovely!”
*name has been changed for anonymity