I have been focusing on raising the profile of Mental Health Awareness Week between 15th - 21st May with pop up performances and an art exhibition called "Chaos 2 Order" with the charity Community Vibe. The event was free and ran between 6th - 20th May.
I was chuffed to bits to be invited to perform not only at the launch but also to compere the book launch on Saturday 13th May with music, spoken word and variety acts plus the Arty Party on the final weekend with the Super Heroes & Super Villains Parade and open mic.
Mental Health Awareness Week is an ideal time for people to think about mental health, tackle stigma and find out how we can create a society that prevents mental health problems from developing and protecting our mental well being. The theme of this year`s Mental Health Awareness Week is anxiety.
Anxiety is a normal emotion in us all but sometimes it can get out of control and become a mental health problem.
Anxiety is one of the most common mental health problems we can face. Focusing on anxiety for this year`s Mental Health Awareness Week will increase people`s awareness and understanding of anxiety by providing information on the things that can help prevent it from becoming a problem.
I was performing the poems for Mental Health Awareness Week that I wrote for The Grid Project to accompany the photographs of community activist and social historian David Moore. The Grid Project was launched in November 2022. The theme of this year`s Project is "In Search of Urban Happiness".
My role was to illustrate David Moore`s stunning photographs with poetry along the Moseley Road in Birmingham. David named his contribution as "Moseley Road - a Journey from Victorian Inequality to Cultural Diversity". His thoughts were that the big houses at the start of Moseley Road were icons of wealth and inequality with rich owners and poor domestic staff. How happy the rich were is debatable and while they could claim that they have done alright for themselves, their need of wanting something bigger, better, grander with power over others is never synonymous with happiness.
By contrast, David Moore found urban happiness in the road sweeper (pictured) on Moseley Road. "The road sweeper was an incredibly happy guy" said David. "He felt he was doing a worthwhile job and serving the community to help others. I recall a time when skilled trades people would look down on the less skilled, the road sweeper seen as low down in the hierarchy. A return to the ideals of Victorian Values meant a lot of skilled workers were shipped abroad, jobs lost forever. After all was said and done, our friendly road sweeper is here still doing worthwhile work in the community. I am a richer individual for meeting and spending time with this guy".
Thumbs Up To A Road Sweeper On Moseley Road
Got a trolley with all my tools,
Free as a bird, make my own rules;
Kitted out in hi-vis and gloves,
Off the grid and a job I love
I see no inequality
On the road but diversity.
If asked I`d say my job is skilled,
A happy man of my own will
A worthwhile job to help others -
We're one - all sisters and brothers.
Urban happiness in my work,
An important job, no time to shirk