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First Aid Kit for Feelings helps stay positive in a world in crisis




Thor A Rain, founder of The Helpful Clinic, at Impactathon. Picture: Keith Heppell
Thor A Rain, founder of The Helpful Clinic, at Impactathon. Picture: Keith Heppell

The Helpful Clinic hosted an Impactathon event at Allia Future Business Centre to raise awareness of the need to share personal experience in a healthy way - aided by the social enterprise’s ‘First Aid Kit for Feelings’.

The start-up, which launched in 2015, champions improved health and wellbeing through increased health and emotional literacy. This is achieved through individual support, workshops and business support - absenteeism and presenteeism cost British businesses £1.4billion in 2019 - along with events that galvanise conversation and bring people’s attention to this important issue. Positive use of digital technology is also starting to become available.

The first Impactathon - “a coming together of people volunteering their time, expertise and focus to address a social change and make an impact” - was held in September 2016. The Helpful Clinic believes that “harnessing the collective power of various professionals was necessary to come up with a new way of getting people talking about their feelings”, and Saturday’s event attracted 17 health activists, who “together created the next steps of a much needed ongoing campaign to raise awareness of the importance of talking about feelings”.

“You could feel the force for progress in the room,” said participant Jonathan Silver, co-founder of the Everything Wellbeing.

The Helpful Clinic founder Thor A Rain leads Impactathon session at Allia Future Business Centre. Picture: Keith Heppell
The Helpful Clinic founder Thor A Rain leads Impactathon session at Allia Future Business Centre. Picture: Keith Heppell

“It was a powerhouse of a day,” said The Helpful Clinic founder Thor A Rain. “The turn-out was fantastic. Health practitioners including yoga and meditation specialists, life and wellbeing coaches and founders of mental health organisations pitched up and shared their time and expertise. HR practitioners, researchers and writers arrived too, as did people with personal experiences of the benefits of talking about their feelings whose contributions were priceless. We’d like to thank each and every one of them for their valuable inputs.

“We’re very much looking forward to sharing the outcomes of the event in the coming weeks in the form of answers to three key questions: what are the costs of not talking about feelings, what are the benefits or talking about feelings and how can we talk about feelings.”

Mental health issues are an increasing area of focus in the social media age, especially as teenagers are being massively impacted, though the underlying mechanisms are not fully understood. The incoming climate emergency isn’t helping matters. Nor is the fact that the world is ruled by men with psychopathic instincts.

“As we see it at The Helpful Clinic, the situation is urgent,” says Thor. “Public Health England reports that more than eight in ten people experienced indicators of poor mental health in the last 12 months; one in four adults is inappropriately using prescription medicine for pain and mood and up to 45 per cent of all GP visits are in the category of medically unexplained symptoms such as ME/CFS, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome and burnout. Together these factors place the NHS under an enormous strain and cost individuals dearly in terms of their functional ability and their quality of life. This is not OK, and if getting these facts more widely acknowledged so that we can reverse the trend takes citizens rolling their sleeves up and getting stuck in, then that is what needs to be done, and is what we started to do on Saturday.”

The next First Aid Kit for Feelings workshop is on February 15.

Impactathon health activists enjoying lunch at Allia Future Business Centre
Impactathon health activists enjoying lunch at Allia Future Business Centre


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