Acumen – encouraging a sense of community

A SENSE of community is a vital tool in helping to create and encourage mental health wellbeing. There are many projects throughout Scotland which encourage service users to engage with others and in doing so, keep informed about mental health matters and also arrange activities that as group you can collectively look forward to.

Charitable organisation ‘Acumen’ are now into their 10th year and continue to engage through Renfrewshire, Inverclyde, Argyll & Bute, West Dunbartonshire and East Renfrewshire. The key objectives are: share understanding and knowledge of mental health issues, identify and develop ways of enabling participation, promote the wider involvement of service users and carers in shaping mental health services, promote collaboration through support and networking and to positively promote awareness of mental health issues to the general public.

Last week, I sat in on one of their monthly meetings for members in their ‘Recover Renfrewshire’ group. It represented many people who have been involved in mental health services, many of which continue to be supported. The group offers members that chance to engage with others which can be difficult for anyone. The group is focused on recovery and discussed plans for the next few months. Guest speakers on a variety of issues were suggested for the next few meetings and with the members looking for more information about the proposed ‘Bedroom Tax’ and how they can be supported individually on what is proving to be a stressful issue to many. On a positive note, a group trip away in the early summer was planned which will be something for the members to look forward too – as well as a pamper day in the near future.

Membership is free and a newsletter was distributed amongst members which gives up to date information on what is happening throughout the organisation. It’s just recently been re-designed and looking to expand with new content from members every month. If you want to find out more about Acumen then information can be found at

Although it’s important to stay informed with important mental health matters, the beauty of an organisation like Acumen is balancing the heavy issues out with activities and nothing could be more beneficial to your own personal wellbeing – than a pamper day. It’s the perfect combination and excuse to ‘self soothe’ and take time out for you because that’s imperative in maintaining your own personal mental health. Remember that although some of us may have a mental illness – everyone has mental health and needs to look after their own!

Story by Community Reporter

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