This week has been Men’s Health Week, and throughout the week there has been much in the press and online about men’s health issues, and particularly the fact that men find it difficult to talk about their mental health. It’s so important that men, and women of course, feel able to ask for help and support when it comes to their wellbeing. I have found that talking about my health issues with family, friends, and people in the community has been of great help to me. Far from people judging me, everyone has been amazingly supportive and their ability to listen to what I have to say, along with recognising my depression myself, has been crucial to me being able to begin the journey to recovery.
Many of you may know, but I came to the Bakehouse from a background of leaving my teaching career due to stress and depression. After a dark period, baking bread, and particularly the physicality of working the dough and producing something that others appreciated, was a crucial part of my beginning to manage my depression. For me, the very act of kneading dough, noticing how it changes in feel, waiting for it to rise, and finally taking your creation from the oven, can be a very mindful one. As Stoneham Bakehouse has developed and become a reality, I still find that the time spent baking is therapeutic.
It’s not just me who thinks this. The Real Bread Campaign, who we are avid supporters of, produced a report outlining the therapeutic benefits of working with dough. Nearer to home; many of our volunteers see the time spent baking for the community of benefit to their wellbeing, enabling them to make connections with their community, take time out of their busy lives, and learn new skills.As Stoneham Bakehouse grows, we will continue to ensure that we are a group which is for the community; a place where you can benefit from the therapeutic powers of bread and breadmaking, a place which is good for your wellbeing, for the community’s wellbeing.