People are being encouraged to share their positive coping strategies for a new book designed to help anyone struggling with their mental health.
The ‘Book of Cope’ will celebrate and share the different strategies people from West Yorkshire use to boost their mental wellbeing, to help others when facing their own challenges.
The idea was developed by volunteers working on a project commissioned by West Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership’s Suicide Prevention Programme and led by Leeds Mind, to bring the voice of lived experience into suicide prevention work.
The volunteers all have experience of the impact of suicide - either having been suicidal themselves, bereaved by suicide or have supported someone else facing mental health challenges - and came up with the idea of the book as a way of helping others feel less alone.
They have been out and about over the past few weeks, holding drop-in sessions across West Yorkshire, for people to design their own creative pages for the book.
Now the team are appealing to the public to send in submissions from home, to try and capture as many coping strategies as possible.
Seb O’Sullivan, one of the project’s volunteers, said: “I got involved in this project because if I can help just one person, not only will it help that person but it will make a difference to their family and friends, so they don’t have to go through the trauma that nobody should have to experience.
“I feel we are on this beautiful planet to help others through difficult times, help them smile again, help them see hope and help them cope with whatever they are experiencing.”
He added: “My advice on coping mechanisms is to talk and get help. To get off your chest what and why you are feeling low.”
Arlie Haslam, Suicide Prevention Coproduction Co-ordinator at Leeds Mind, said submissions for ‘Book of Cope’ are open until the end of October 2023.
She said “We came up with the idea for ‘Book of Cope’ when we were talking about coping strategies and how important peer support can be on your mental health journey.
“Our project is a team of people who all have similar lived experience. Being with people who truly understand because they have been there too, can feel very healing.
“We wanted to capture this feeling in book form – a collection of coping strategies from people all over West Yorkshire, to help someone else who might be struggling.
“We hope the book feels like community and lets people know they’re not alone.”
Sarah Smith, Associate Director for WY HCP’s Improving Population Health Programme, said: “This is a fantastic project from our volunteers and we hope the end result will be a book packed full of useful strategies and advice, offering something for everyone.
“It would be wonderful to hear from as many people as possible so if there is something that helps you, get in touch to share it in the book – and it could end up helping someone else.”
Suggestions for possible themes include sleep tips, nutrition, movement and exercise, relationships, cultural activities and offering hope through anecdotes and quotes.
Pages can be up to A4 size, sent via email to Arlie.Haslam@leedsmind.org.uk or post to the Leeds Mind office at Clarence House, 11 Clarence Road, Horsforth, Leeds, LS18 4LB.
Ideas for contributions can also be emailed into the project and one of the volunteers can create the page instead.