On Saturday 12th October staff and their families from Children’s Health Queensland CYMHS (Child and Youth Mental Health Service), attended the New Farm parkrun as a staff well- being activity to celebrate Mental Health Week.
CHQ CYMHS specialises in helping infants, children and young people up to the age of 18 years who have complex mental health needs.
CYMHS works collaboratively and in a recovery-oriented way, which means recognising and building on individual and family strengths to support infants, children, young people, carers and families to reach their optimal mental health and to facilitate better health and overall wellbeing. parkrun ticks all the boxes for promoting health, wellbeing and good mental health.
CHQ CYMHS is currently working informally with the parkrun and drawing on parkruns expertise with a view to engaging and supporting staff, consumers and their families to link in with their local parkrun. For our consumers and carers we are hoping “social prescribing” will become a regular part of care planning and recovery and for staff part of their own self-care enabling them to continue to do the work that they do.
Sunflowers were chosen as the theme for the Saturday run, as sunflowers are a symbol of optimism and hope as they always turn their faces away from the dark and lift them up towards the sun.
This is synonymous with the mental health recovery framework which is about living life well in the presence or absence of mental ill health. The theme turned out to be ironic (given the absence of sunlight) yet even more symbolic, as Saturday morning was the first day in weeks that Brisbane had torrential rain which started in the early hours of the morning, with storms and more heavy rain predicted to occur throughout the day. Undeterred, a CYMHS contingent of 27, “turned their faces towards the sun”, braved the weather and arrived in time for the briefing – some with barcodes in hand and others ready to volunteer.
Despite the cold and the wet, New Farm parkrun welcomed us warmly with our cluster of fresh sunflowers on the nearby table a bright and cheerful reminder of what CYMHS stands for and why we were there. Our parkrunners and volunteers wore sunflower badges and mostly big smiles, although there were some “frozen smiles” as the damp and the cold took its toll.
Some of our regular parkrunners achieved PB’s and we also had 8 first timers who registered with parkrun in order to participate – all 8 plan to continue doing parkrun. Every single participant enjoyed the event, with a unanimous vote to do another staff event soon.
CYMHS has several teams across the Greater Brisbane and Pine Rivers regions providing community and hospital-based services, outreach and telepsychiatry programs, early intervention, forensic and other specialty mental health services.
Thanks to New Farm for hosting the “sunflowers in the storm” – we will be back!!
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