Across a number of years, we have sat around tables with people from across the world in refugee day centres, informal living sites and Home Office contingency accommodation settings, in the UK, northern France and further afield.
When displaced due to conflict, persecution, poverty, climate…and faced with hostile environment policies and massive obstacles, people’s capacity for mental wellness can be greatly challenged, leading to low-mood, isolation, anxiety, dis-regulation, depression and sometimes serious mental distress and even illness.
Through The Community Table model and alongside our partners and colleagues, Art Refuge works to co-create regular, welcoming, supportive and trauma-informed psychosocial group art spaces for people displaced and in the asylum system who are often living in limbo with huge levels of uncertainty.
This World Mental Health Day we think about ‘glimmers’ that take place for brief periods of time at these tables. These are moments of connection and safety, in turn supporting people’s mental health and well-being. Glimmers are the opposite of ‘triggers’ which make people feel withdrawn and anxious.
The value of sitting together around The Community Table in terms of people’s mental health and well-being has been reported to us in so many different ways, but we hope that these images, and those across our posts, communicate the glimmers that can take place for themselves.