10 alternative ways to boost your mental wellbeing

Words: Jonny Benjamin

Jonny Benjamin, mental health campaigner, producer and public speaker, shares ten individuals and organisations offering new and alternative approaches to mental health and wellbeing, from cuddling puppies to picking up the guitar.

1. Pilot Light  

Chefs Doug Sanham and Andrew Clarke launched global social impact initiative Pilot Light to raise awareness of mental health and provide greater support to the hospitality sector (where 1 in 2 people suffer from mental illness). Whether you’re an individual, restaurant or hospitality business, Pilot Light has plenty of tools for you to access, from podcasts to personal resilience courses.

2. Mental Health Mates

Bryony Gordon is an inspiring author and journalist who setup Mental Health Mates to help people struggling with their mental health to connect with others in their local area. Now an internationally recognised resource, Mental Health Mates is peer support at its finest.

3. Shine For Life

Shine For Life offers Equine Therapy for individuals who suffer with mental health issues. Via interactive sessions, the Shine For Life team translate the horses’ natural reactions to body language to allow you to understand and communicate your feelings more clearly. Highly recommended for those with a love of animals and want a more unusual approach to therapy.

4. Paws In Work

Calling all dog lovers! Paws in Work is a specialist puppy therapy service for workplaces who are looking to improve their staff wellbeing and encourage team bonding. A guaranteed mood lifter – paw-some!

5. Playwell

How many of us take the time to play anymore? How much better would we feel if we did? Playwell’s team run joyful, creative workshops to improve emotional intelligence and empathy, developed from the principles of clowning and theatrical improvisation.

6. The Perspective Project

Mark Anscombe founded The Perspective Project in 2017 to connect the link between art and creativity with mental illness. By providing a therapeutic outlet for people to share their perspectives and feelings, the charity is working to end stigma around mental health. As well as working with individual artists, they are now offering creative ways for corporates to improve staff mental health.

7. Create Space Retreats

Create Space Retreats offer bespoke wellbeing retreats for workplaces, as well as hosting their own programmes that are open to the public. With a focus on connecting health and wellbeing with creativity, they are a wonderful opportunity for self-exploration and understanding.

8. HUMEN

As the name suggests, HUMEN is an organisation focused on the mental health of men. They offer safe spaces – both in person and online ­– for men to talk and express themselves without judgement. They believe that ‘the right to talk should never be a privilege’ – and we couldn’t agree more.

9. Retune

Retune is another creative organisation, with their particular focus being music. Founder Tom offers musical workshops as well as hosting regular gigs which often feature artists affected by mental health issues.

10. Dynamic Running Therapy

DRT is a form of therapy which involves running (or jogging!) alongside your therapist. Founder William Pullen developed DRT and hosts sessions with him in London’s parks. Combining physical, mental and emotional health, it has quickly gained in popularity over the last few years.

Bonus: For those who prefer running in groups, Run4Rene is a mental health community which (literally!) runs in locations throughout London and beyond!

Jonny Benjamin is an award-winning mental health campaigner, film producer, public speaker, writer and vlogger from London. In the Queen’s 2017 New Year Honors List, Jonny has been awarded an MBE for his services to mental health and suicide prevention. To learn more about Jonny’s work and to watch back his talk with his dad, Michael, for The Conduit, click here.