Jewish Care is marking Jami’s Mental Health Awareness Shabbat (22-23 January) which aims to raise the profile of mental health in the Jewish community. This year’s theme is The Impact of the Pandemic.

As part of a series of Wellbeing Wednesday talks, Young Jewish Care are hosting Jonny Benjamin MBE and Zac Newman, wellbeing coach, this week, to support the awareness Shabbat. Jonny and Zac are talking about mental health and positive health strategies.

Residents at Jewish Care’s Sidney Corob House for people with enduring mental health needs are preparing for the Mental Health Awareness Shabbat by revisiting the self-help book, Ways of Life, that was devised and created by the care home’s creative writing group in 2019.

The book follows their journey of recovery and self-care through poetry, exploring the theme of ‘treasure’ in their life with creative writing practitioner, Vicky Martin. The book has helpful thoughts, shared by residents to benefit everyone, with especially inspiring self-help exercises to help people to make improvements and promote self-care and wellbeing during the pandemic. It can also be used as a journal to recovery and wellness.


Tips include looking at what we could do that would make things a little bit better, including breaking down big plans to lots of little plans to make things manageable and planning today, to make tomorrow a better day.


Sheree Charalampous, one of the social care coordinators at Sidney Corob House, who worked on the book with the residents, says, “The creative writing groups inspired the residents and gave them the opportunity to express themselves. They reflected on the theme of treasure and what emerged from reflecting on this theme was that the real treasures in their lives are their friends and family, and the moments they share with them. The book is full of practical exercises which would be really helpful for many of us at the moment, to help us think about what we all treasure in our lives.”

The residents have been discussing the poems and the self-help exercises as well as recording readings of the poems to share with the wider community in the lead up to the Shabbat. One of the group poems they shared, reads, “Live for the day…Be in the moment, and recovery will come and find you.”

The residents at Sidney Corob House will also be connecting with Alyth Synagogue, joining the community before the Mental Health Awareness Shabbat. As part of Jewish Care’s regular Kabbalat Shabbat online gatherings with residents across Jewish Care homes, Rabbi Junik, Jewish Care’s pastoral and spiritual lead, will be talking about the importance of looking after our mental and spiritual health too.

Jewish Care Presents… Jewish Care’s virtual programme for the community will also be marking the shabbat with an interactive Zoom session on self care and wellbeing, with Wellbeing coach, Zac Newman, who will be sharing his tips with older people in the community.

Volunteers in the community from Cards for Care are also connecting through kindness with residents across Jewish Care homes. They are sending cards with motivational quotes, illustrated by beautiful artwork, to the residents in advance of the Mental Health Awareness Shabbat to help boost their sense of wellbeing.