We recently got the chance to help set up and speak at a local free event in Manchester surrounding the topic of Mental Health called Design Recovery. Something completely out of our comfort zone and the first time speaking in front of a room filled just our friends. It gave us the opportunity to offer a glimpse into our personal lives, whilst passing on a few different tips we try to employ day to day to combat feelings of stress and pressure both in and out of work.

So what is Design Recovery?

Design Recovery aims to raise awareness and provide a safe space for people to talk openly about Mental Health. Imploring people to come along and listen whilst engaging a community that wouldn’t normally raise Mental Health as a topic of discussion. 

The events brainchild, Jordan a Manchester based illustrator, and the man behind our logo shared his reasoning for coming up with the idea.“Design Recovery came from going to a lot of networking events and actually talking to people about mental health – it became more and more obvious that there was never a proper space for people to feel comfortable talking about mental health and even though Mental Health is being more openly talked about in some areas it still seems like such a taboo subject. So Design Recovery came from the idea of creating a calm environment for people to talk openly about mental health (if they want to) or just not feel so alone by knowing they’re in a room with potentially a lot of other people who are suffering similarly to themselves.” 

Jordan Yates

The importance of the event

When first discussing putting on an event, we’d imagined a room with a few familiar faces looking back at us however within four days the event had sold its allocation. Surpassing our expectations and in turn confirming to us how important events like these are for the public. Ironically because of that demand and the fact we’d be talking about something we’d never spoke about before, my own anxiety really started to set in. Luckily another of the event organisers and fellow illustrator Rachel had also bravely chosen to talk for the first time on the topic which really helped calm those anxious thoughts and in turn hit home that we were all in this together.

On the night

Throughout the evening speakers from all types of backgrounds shared their own stories around a range of issues from anxiety and stress through to depression and anorexia. Alongside those heartfelt stories insightful wisdom was given on how they personally view those topics but also tips that can help combat such feelings. To see first time speakers or people not used to talking about topics such as these really hit home how people can be brought together through a shared objective and how creating this community around Mental Health is so important.   

To round off the night, Natalie from Rise Above Counselling, a local therapist provided insight on mindfulness and at one stage had the audience collectively take part in a short meditation session!  If you’d have said at the start we’d have managed to get a bar full of people in complete silence I’d have laughed it off but it just goes to show what can be achieved when like minded people want to connect and come together. 

Exciting things to come

The success of the event, and the feedback it’s received just highlights how important events like these are and the potential impact it could have on people suffering from Mental Health problems. Plans are already in action for a second talk towards the end of the year, so be sure to follow @designrecovery to keep up to date in the future!

We’d just like to say thanks once again to all the people who spoke at the event, without you and your willingness to share we wouldn’t have been able to bring Design Recovery to life.

I’ve linked their instagram profiles below so be sure to check them out! 

Jordan Yates – @jygraphicdesign

Rachel Cook – @rcookdesign

Ben Clark – @ben_clark_design

Daniel Thompson – @mrdtct

Graham Jones – @loosecollective

Lauren Kelly – @wearebehaviour

Natalie Rossiter – @natalierossiterwellbeing

P.s final thanks go to Fiona, a local designer and photographer for taking the time to capture the event and even make myself and James look semi normal for once.

If you want to see more of her work visit –  @fionafinchettphoto

Thanks for reading,