It seems autumn is gradually shifting away and winter really is approaching fast. The official start of winter isn’t until the solstice on December 21st… but when does winter really feel like it’s begun? Is it when the clocks go back and the the nights descend? When the heavy frosts prevail or when that still muffled silence envelopes us in heavy snowfall?

The fiery colours of Autumn still linger on a few remaining shrubs and trees and soon these will become beautiful silhouettes of a glorious summer past. We’ve had spectacular summer weather this year and we took every opportunity to bask and enjoy the sunshine on offer. Gardens were bursting with colour and the plants and crops thrived this year. The harvest was ripe with offerings.

Photo: Kevin Hickson

The onset of winter can bring mixed feelings for us all. Some look forward to the dark beauty of the winter months and the icy, snowy scenes,  perhaps spending more time indoors together with families and friends and preparing for the festive season ahead. Others feel very differently, especially those who suffer from mental illness. Many find this time of year brings hardship, sad memories, feelings of isolation and increased pressure and stress.

Being animals, we are all affected to some extent by changes in light and the seasons. Most of us like comfort food and tend to feel more lethargic in winter. However modern day life can require us to operate at the same pitch 24/7 which can be very hard going, forcing us to behave against our natural instincts. Winter also brings with it the onset of SAD ( Seasonal  Affective Disorder) which mild symptoms affect at least 20% of us.

Sue Baker, Director of Time to Change, said: “One in four people will be affected by mental illness at some time in their lives, and the festive period is no exception. In fact, for some, their difficulties may be heightened at this time of year and stress,worry and financial pressures can all have a greater impact during the holiday season”

Time to Change is a nationwide programme campaigning  to end stigma against mental illness have urged people to support friends and family who suffer from mental illness especially at this time of year. Read more…

More information and tips on staying well this season can be found at:

Mental Health Foundation

Mental Healthy

Well Being Web

Inkwell will be open, running full services and classes right up until Saturday 21st December. Our Arts Cafe will be open on that Saturday providing delicious food, a safe welcoming space and activities to join in with.

Inkwell classes and services will return fully on January 6th

There are services that are available for help and support right through the holiday period:

Samaritans: 08457 90 90 90

SaneLine : 0845 767 8000

Mind Info Line: 0300 123 3393
email: [email protected]

However you spend the festive and winter season ahead, we hope you will stay safe, warm and well.

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