Suffolk Libraries has launched a new Wellbeing Kiosk in Stowmarket Library to mark Time to Talk Day and to highlight the many ways the county’s library service can support people’s wellbeing and mental health.
Thursday 1 February is Time to Talk Day, the nation’s biggest mental health conversation. It’s a day for friends, families, communities, and workplaces to come together to talk, listen and change lives - so an ideal time to get people talking about their mental health.
Promoting positive wellbeing and mental health is embedded in a vital part of Suffolk Libraries’ services and activities. It’s possibly the only library service with a dedicated community mental health and wellbeing team, running regular drop-in sessions, a menopause support programme, period poverty scheme and providing information to those looking for more help.
In December, Suffolk Libraries launched a new Explore Together telephone support and signposting service to match volunteers with people who are feeling lonely or isolated or are looking for guidance finding support or a new activity.
Stowmarket Library’s new wellbeing telephone kiosk is a life-sized telephone kiosk which aims to shine a spotlight on the many and varied ways that Suffolk Libraries promotes wellbeing. This includes library services and activities, and the many ways staff signpost people to other organisations and activities which can help.
Set in the heart of Stowmarket Library, itself in the heart of Suffolk, the telephone kiosk will represent how important and life-changing a phonecall or conversation can be. The phone in the kiosk offers an opportunity for people to listen to a guided meditation and there are other interactive features within the kiosk which can help to improve your wellbeing.
Jane Cox, Suffolk Libraries Community Mental Health and Wellbeing Manager, said:
“Time to Talk is an ideal time to remind people that talking about mental health can make a big difference to you or someone you know. Our new kiosk will hopefully trigger some conversations about wellbeing and highlight the many ways that Suffolk Libraries and the many other organisations out there can help.
“We also want to highlight our new Explore Together service which we hope can make a big difference to people who may feel a bit lost or lonely and need some support or advice in how to find things to do. Many people can feel isolated, particularly in rural areas. Someone may have moved to the area and needs a little help making local links, or maybe someone has recently found themselves on their own and might need a little encouragement to reach out.
“Our volunteers can find information from local resources like Suffolk Infolink and the activities run by Suffolk Libraries and other organisations. For some people searching for information online like this is confusing and we hope that personal touch and getting to know someone a little can help them to find what they need.”
Explore Together is free and available to anyone in Suffolk. Based on the previous Phone a Friend service which Suffolk Libraries launched during lockdown, it will involve volunteers making regular phonecalls to help people find local organisations, groups and activities. People can refer themselves or someone they know by emailing email@example.com or visiting our website where they can fill in a simple self-referral form, or someone can make a referral for them. A volunteer will then be in touch for a chat.
During the initial conversation the volunteer will aim to find out a bit about the person, their interests and what they like to do. The aim is for the person to feel less lonely and happier after six months with the ultimate success of the service being they no longer need the regular calls.
Suffolk Libraries is also appealing for more volunteers who would be interested in making Explore Together phone calls. Anyone interested can email firstname.lastname@example.org and download a volunteer guide from our website.
Time to Talk Day is run by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness and is being delivered in partnership with the Co-op. For more information visit timetotalkday.co.uk.