To mark last week’s Mental Health Awareness Week, we asked Act Now Member Anisah Chowdhury to let us know how she’s coping with lockdown, and the support she’s getting from Cardboard Citizens’ programme for 16-25s, Act Now. Our regular online workshops have provided a space to check-in with friends, as well as a forum to share ideas – and Anisah’s example reminds us all to find methods to protect our mental health during this strange time:
During lockdown, I’ve been attending Act Now workshops online – they’ve been important to me, it has been a great way to keep up with the work we were doing back at Cardboard Citizens. The workshops support my mental wellbeing by giving me that connection with others, and getting my ideas heard. Since lockdown, I don’t have much to do, so being connected is important during this time. I’m happy the workshops are running!
I found out about Citz from The Hive – a wellbeing service that supports young people aged 16-24 in Camden. They ran a week-long workshop at The Hive, and I decided to join them. Before Act Now, I was shy – I didn’t even like talking in front of people. The support I have gained from Cardboard Citizens has built my inner confidence – now I’m very confident talking to big groups of people.
They’ve got me out of my shell. At that time I was suffering depression, and felt like I didn’t have many connections. From attending Act Now sessions, I’ve made a number of friends, and grown so much. I even got the opportunity to return to The Hive and facilitate workshops, to bring other young people into Cardboard Citizens – it was absolutely amazing, and I got very good feedback. I’ve also got a PEARL qualification and an Arts Award.
In lockdown, as well as attending Cardboard Citizens online workshops, I go to The Hive zoom session, which takes place on Mondays and Fridays. We usually do activities-based work on Mondays, and Fridays we mostly play fun games. I’m also still able to access my 1-2-1 sessions with my mentor over the phone, which is great because I get to tell them how I’ve been feeling.
I’ve also been connecting with Torch, a social group for people who have completed the Spear employability programme. This gives me the chance to keep in touch with other Spear members, play fun games, and talk about the highs and lows of my week. They’re also really supportive – if I’m feeling down, I can always give them a call for emotional support.