A walk through the Women’s History Museum

Being seven days into Women’s History Month and only a couple of days from International Women’s Day, EN4 News headed to the Glasgow Women’s Library to learn more about what we are celebrating.

The library, situated in the city’s East End, is the only accredited women’s museum in the UK that is solely dedicated to celebrating the work of women.

A firm favourite within the library is an umbrella stand at the reception that was painted by suffragettes.

The library provides several services including free membership, book borrowing and events for women across the year.

We were fortunate to witness an event called Story Café, an intimate gathering of females reading to each other.

Archives from magazines, newspapers, posters and memorabilia of women throughout history are held upstairs in the library.

The Glasgow Women’s Library is a well-loved community hub for women of all ages and backgrounds to congregate, share ideas or simply have some alone time.

Holistic Ways: Enhance your mind, body and spirit with alternative and complimentary therapies at Edinburgh event

A festival specialising in alternative and complimentary therapies will return to Edinburgh for its sixth consecutive year this weekend.

Holistic Ways aims to leave visitors feeling “uplifted and refreshed” and will take place this Sunday.

Speaking exclusively to EN4 News, Adrian Boiteux, one of the founders of Holistic Ways, said the festival stands out in the industry because of the unique content of each event they offer.

(Photo provided by Holistic Ways)

“The exhibitors that we bring to the event include leading holistic, complementary and alternative therapists and a wonderful selection of health, well-being and mind-body-spirit retailers,” Adrian said.

Adrian, his wife and his father were some of the founding members of Holistic Ways back in 2012 after recognising a lack of exposure for alternative, complementary and holistic therapies.

They now host events throughout the year in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Dundee.

The festival is taking place this Sunday from 11am until 5pm at the Edinburgh Corn Exchange, and over 40 exhibitioners will be attending, offering hypnotherapy, reflexology and deep tissue massages.

Taster sessions are available in order to provide visitors with the chance to experience the potential benefits of holistic therapies, which includes physical pain relief, improved sleeping patterns and reduced anxiety levels.

(Credit: EN4 News)

Bob and Helen Macintosh, founders of Krystalight, a retailer specialising in crystals and other holistic products, told EN4 News how important festivals such as Holistic Ways are.

“These events are extremely valuable as they give people the chance to discover – and most importantly, experience – many different disciplines, therapies and products all under one roof,” they said.

“We must never underestimate the value of human interaction, of meeting people face to face.”

The exposure that these events offer retailers and practitioners is vital to their growth.

“We find that not only does it drive traffic to our website, but people will contact us to discuss and receive advice on their specific requirements.

“In fact, we actively encourage this to ensure that customers do not impulse buy any product that may not be the most suitable for their needs.”

The festival will also feature music performances and dancers to showcase up and coming talent in Edinburgh.

Therapist Alan McIntyre, who will be in attendance on Sunday, specialises in Chinese Therapeutic Massage and believes that people must realise that no method will perform miracles in one session.

He said: “The only way to really feel profound long-term benefits from a treatment is to add it to your life as a continual help for your long-term health and wellbeing.

“Chinese Tuina medical massage is often an important M.O.T. for our client’s life’s stress relief, aches and pains.”

It is expected that Sunday’s festival will welcome between 350 and 450 people.

Following Sunday’s event, the next Holistic Ways festival will be held in Glasgow at the Trades Hall on March 21 and 22. Head over to their website to find out more information.

Exclusive: “Lifeline” parenting centre to stay open after fundraiser hits target

A community-run hub for new parents has raised over £30,000 to fund their essential move to new premises – with their current home set to be demolished, EN4 News has learned.

The Pregnancy and Parents Centre (PPC) is primarily a self-funded, donation-run organisation that runs classes and workshops for recent mums and dads. Nobody is turned away if they are unable to pay or donate.

Francesca Dymond, a trustee of the centre, told EN4 News: “It would have been much more of a financial burden if we had to use the income we’ve generated to complete the work. It was essential that we raised that money.”

Their crowdfunding page raised £26,750 and the rest was through direct donations to the centre.

The Pregnancy and Parents Centre is hoping to complete the move to 188 Pleasance and be fully operational by the beginning of March.

“It’ll be spring-time when we get in, and renovation has already started, walls have come down, floors are going in, it’s exciting,” Francesca added.

Nadine Edwards created the group in her living room in 1985, and speaking exclusively to EN4 News, she said how important the centre is to the local community: “I feel very honoured to have been part of something so important in people’s lives. Parents have said it’s been a lifeline, that they couldn’t have managed without it.”

Concept art for the new Pregnancy and Parents Centre (Credit: Pregnancy and Parents)

Francesca first discovered the centre five years ago while pregnant with her first child, and she said, “In parenthood, there’s a lot [of] anxiety, guilt and shame, but you walk in here and you know you aren’t the only one feeling like that.

“The essence of the centre is that we have built this amazing community, through our shared experiences, knowledge and relaxation.”

She said that finding the new location took more than 18 months because they were looking for something special and fairly specific, as well as affordable: “We’re very lucky in that a member of our community who used to come to the centre is an architect; she’s been helping us project manage the designs of the new place.

“It is hard when you walk into somewhere semi-derelict to imagine it being warm and welcoming.”

When asked about the classes on offer, both trustees emphasised the importance of inclusivity at the centre.

“It’s a very multicultural community,” Dymond said, “There’s a course called new arrivals, for people who are new to the city or new to Scotland, it’s run by multilingual facilitators to bring people together.”

“It must be very difficult to arrive in a country where English isn’t your first language and you’re suddenly there with a new-born or a young child.”

Credit: Pregnancy and Parents

The centre is best known for its pregnancy yoga classes and welcomes roughly 450 parents every week. They also offer active-birth and dads-to-be workshops monthly, which are very popular.

“We don’t just support pregnant women. We support parents, dads, whoever, and parents after birth as well.”

She also voiced her fears about childbirth before finding the PCC: “I came here quite fearful about what labour would be like and how I would manage this enormous thing that was going to happen to my body.

“A lot of the narratives that women hear, even before they think about getting pregnant, is that labour is this intensively medicalised thing, I think the great thing about the PPC is, that it presents alternatives. I flipped from fearful to positive very quickly.”

Nadine expressed how the PCC has developed over the last few decades: “If I was suddenly not here tomorrow it would still carry on; for me, that’s the most important thing, that it’s developed its community, it’s on ethos. I like being part of that.

“There’s a lot of pressure to be positive and happy, here you can be who you are, we often specifically say, it’s fine to be a bit down this week or to be worried about something.”

If you are interested in their services or in donating, visit the Pregnancy and Parents Centre website.

Scottish Strings partners with weekly project providing support to dementia sufferers

 

On the first Friday of every month, St Cecilia’s Hall hosts a free event providing activities designed to stimulate dementia sufferers.

“People have the opportunity to socialise and participate in a meaningful, collections-focused talk and activity designed to make everyone feel comfortable and welcome,” Dr Sarah Deters, Learning and Engagement Curator at St Cecilia’s, tells EN4 News.

“Many of the participants have formed their own community, offering each other support, through the programme.”

Nadine, who takes her mother along to the events regularly, said that a lot of the other dementia programmes are too long and difficult for her mum to understand but this one is different.

“Being able to listen to the live music is fantastic,” she said, “they have the most amazing collection of instruments.”

Research shows that musical memory is one of the last memories that sufferers of dementia lose.

“Music has tangible, evidence-based benefits for people with dementia, such as helping to minimise the behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia, tackling depression and anxiety, and, importantly, helping to improve quality of life.”

This morning’s event began with tea and coffee, creating a social environment, followed by a talk on Scottish string instruments, given by Ms Deters herself.

The main activity was a performance of traditional string music, specifically clarsach and mandolin.

St Cecilia’s joined a partnership in 2017 called Social, a programme created specifically to cater for sufferers of dementia. The hall is the home of Edinburgh University’s musical instrument collection.

Ms Deters highlighted that the programme has demonstrated how cultural institutions and museums can have a positive impact on people suffering from diseases such as dementia.

Pick up a club before you hit the clubs

(Credit: Fore Play Crazy Golf)

Scotland’s only ‘adult’ crazy golf venue will be moving into Leith’s Biscuit Factory in March.

In a press release provided to EN4 News, Fore Play Crazy Golf gave the details of their new venture: “The venue will open on March 6 for three months only and will feature nine holes of crazy golf inspired by the city.”

Having launched in Glasgow in 2018, with two 9-hole Glasgow themed courses, founder and co-owner Kasia Neilson has no doubts that Edinburgh punters will appreciate the game and enjoy the experience that they offer.

She said: “We are so excited to be working with such established brands on our first Edinburgh pop-up.

Co-owners and husband and wife team, Kasia and Craig Nelson (Credit: Fore Play Crazy Golf)

“Fore Play Crazy Golf is all about combining crazy golf with the very best street food, cocktails and service – creating an incredible social experience like no other.”

The Pitt Market is their official food partner and will bring a variety of street food onto the golf greens, while Pickering’s Gin, Edinburgh Beer Factory and Base Spirits will also be providing a range of drinks for the duration of the pop-up.

It will be open Thursday through to Sunday each week.

Entry into the venue is free while each round of golf costs £9.50.

Tickets for March go on sale next week.

Edinburgh’s Christmas respond to criticism

Having opened last Saturday, Edinburgh’s Christmas market is now in full swing.

Welcoming visitors from all over Europe, the market generally hosts a cheerful and festive vibe.

However, this year the event has been surrounded by controversy. In a statement, Underbelly said:

“We appreciate the images of the build period have not been aesthetically pleasing, but we can assure that the end result will be an event which both benefits the environment and is sympathetic to it.”

EN4News has been to Edinburgh’s Christmas market to see what’s new this year and to find out if the negative press has dampened the festive spirits.

Ruth Fisher, producer of Edinburgh’s Christmas, told us that she is very pleased with the opening weekend and how the market is going so far.

The Christmas market welcomed over 88,000 people on Saturday, its opening day.

Last year over the whole of the holiday period, over one million unique visitors attended the Christmas market.

Despite the negatives that have been associated with Edinburgh’s Christmas this year, the public and vendors appear to be in good spirits and ready for Christmas.

MOVEMBER: HOW MEN, AND WOMEN, ARE DOING AT THE HALF-WAY POINT

In 2003, the Movember movement began with just 30 men, the original ‘Mo Bros’ from Melbourne, Australia.

Since then, Movember has evolved into a community of over five million people across the world, including women as ‘Mo Sistas’.

Now in its 16th year, EN4 News has spoken to five people taking part to hear their motivations and how they are finding Movember now we are half-way through the month.

The original idea for Movember originated from two friends joking about ‘bringing the moustache back’. Inspired by their friend’s mother who was at the time fundraising for breast cancer, they chose to encourage their friends to join them in growing a ‘Mo’ and made their campaign about men’s health and prostate cancer.

Since launching, Movember has raised over £598 million for men’s health around the world. Last year alone, participants across the UK raised over £10 million.

In addition to growing a moustache, people are invited to join the cause by running or walking 60 kilometres in November. The distance is to represent the 60 men who commit suicide every hour across the world.

To learn more, visit the Movember website and find out how you can get involved in Movember 2020.

Mental Health from a Rural Perspective

By Laura McCulloch

In the UK one farmer every week commits suicide because of a mental illness. 90% of people suffering with poor mental health in the agricultural industry find the stigma and discrimination associated with mental illness more difficult to deal with than the diagnosis itself.

The ‘Are Ewe Okay’ campaign aims to break the stigma surrounding mental wellbeing for young farmers based in rural Scotland. The Edinburgh based initiative is ran by the Scottish Association of Young Farmer Clubs (SAYFC) and targets 14 to 30-year-olds.

SAYFC National Committee member, Lucy McClymont, knows first-hand the vitality of the campaign in rural areas: “We have more members than ever discussing their feelings and thoughts. We are now seeing SAYFC clubs’ complete challenges to raise money and awareness for the campaign. In my home region, Are Ewe Okay has become more important than ever after we recently lost a valued member due to poor mental health.”

Are Ewe Okay has found that many mental health campaigns are targeted towards the masses, usually within urban areas. As a result, they are working towards expanding their reach.

Lucy continued to highlight the importance of raising awareness across the country: “I don’t think urban areas fully understand what goes on in the farming community. High quality British produce is expected on plates every day, yet I feel many forget the process behind it.

“I strongly feel there needs to be more transparency between the rural and urban divide.”

World Mental Health Day: The Pill and Our Mental Health 

‘Stress and Pressure’ contributing to rise in youth suicide rate in Scotland 

In an attempt to shed some light on the severity of rural mental illness, the campaign conducted research into the triggers which are common amongst sufferers.

Results indicated that 67% of respondents had experienced career linked depression, 22% had suicidal thoughts and 12% reported self-harming behaviour.

Infographic by Elise Kennedy

SAYFC’s 3500 members organise events based on the slogan to ‘listen, talk and share’.

This includes the European Rally, where 80 people from 15 European countries came together for a week to discuss the challenges of living in rural locations.

Image by Steph Burch

Scottish member, Abby Forsyth, discussed her recent experience at the rally: “I learnt how important it is to look after our own mental health but also how fortunate Scotland is to have the Are Ewe Okay campaign. Some of the countries had nothing set up to help their young farmers.”

SAYFC research has shown that many farmers find it hard to admit to when they are struggling in their work. However, the campaign is encouraging a more open discussion on mental health within the industry.

Abby continued: “Young farmers are finally beginning to open up about their struggles and admit they need help. This is a huge step in the right direction towards combatting the stigma of mental health.”

The campaign’s future is looking bright, according to Lucy, who has plans in place to introduce a mental health first aider into every young farmer’s club across Scotland: “Our aim is to continue preventing rural isolation. The importance of speaking is invaluable and after all, its okay not to be okay.”

For more information visit:https://www.sayfc.org/talks—support

 

 

World Mental Health Day: The Pill and Our Mental Health

By Beth Murray

It is no secret amongst women that the little pink pill so many of us take every day comes with some nasty side-effects. One of the most common being anxiety and depression and sadly many of us suffer with this in silence.

The introduction of the pill in the 1960s was a revelation. Initially it was only available for married women with the consent of a doctor, but it wasn’t until 1974 that it became readily available on the NHS for women across the UK. This allowed women to use sex for pleasure, rather than just a way to procreate.

Despite the unfortunate side-effects which accompany it, the pill remains the most popular form of contraception in the UK despite there being over ten different variations available.

Infographic by Elise Kennedy

According to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, in 2016, 19% of pregnancies among young women under the age of 25 were unplanned. Contraception is vitally important in the UK to ensure that that rate doesn’t rise.

Mental Health from a Rural Perspective 

‘Stress and Pressure’ contribute to rise in youth suicide rate in Scotland 

Personally, I have been taking the pill on and off for the past five years. When I was 16, I was prescribed Triregol, a combined pill which contains two different types of hormones. The pack is designed to mimic your normal hormone levels throughout your menstrual cycle. In general, I didn’t notice many side-effects while I was taking it.

My first experience of the pill impacting my mental health came when I moved to start studying at university. I was switched from Triregol onto the notorious Rigevidon pill. Although I didn’t know it at the time, this particular pill is known for its horrendous side-effects. Rigevidon is one of the cheapest pills for the NHS to prescribe which makes it the most commonly used across the UK. Last year, a petition to ban Rigevidon gained more than 27,000 signatures.

Infographic by Elise Kennedy

The NHS describe Rigevidon as identical to its pricier counterpart, Microgynon, despite thousands of women experiencing intense symptoms like depression and blood clots, that aren’t caused by the more expensive alternative.

I took Rigevidon for two months over Christmas three years ago, and they were the worst two months I have ever experienced.

I was miserable. I spent days in bed crying over nothing. I would have panic-attacks worrying about being lonely. I once cried for almost an hour because I couldn’t get a lump out of my duvet; it wasn’t healthy. I thought I was failing as a student, I had just left home, I thought everything should be fun all the time. It hadn’t crossed my mind that there was something else causing my poor mental health.

I can’t remember what made me think to question the impact the pill was having on me, but once I did, it felt as though a piece of a jigsaw had been found.

I stopped taking it and within one week it was remarkable how different I felt. I was essentially back to normal; happy and in a healthy mindset. Taking the pill had warped my mind into a depression which overshadowed every aspect of my life.

After this, I made the choice to take a break from contraception and after a few months returned to my original pill, with seemingly no side-effects.

Infographic by Elise Kennedy

Three years on, after a contraception free summer, I started taking Triregol again last week. Within four days, I could barely bring myself to get out of bed.

Lately I’ve been very active, waking up early, going to the gym most days. However, this week, I have cancelled all my yoga and exercise classes and instead lay in bed for hours staring at the ceiling.

Day six was when I realised what was happening. I was up and about, the day was going fine until I tried to register for a new doctor: there was a six to eight week waiting list. This left me completely flat. I walked home feeling like the day was ruined. As I reached my door I struggled to unlock it – the restaurant below us places plants which partially block our entrance – and it reduced me to tears. After walking up the stairs, I walked into my flat and noticed that the lightbulbs in the bathroom has been replaced meaning we would no longer be using the toilet in the dark, more tears.

I lay on my bed unable to move. I had so much to get done but no motivation. As I lay there, I was staring mindlessly at nothing, when I noticed the little pink  packet.

Six days was all it took for the contraceptive pill to completely take over my mind. Two days on and I have been prescribed a different one. For the next two months I am going to be hyper-aware of any changes in my mood or attitude.

I am conscious to remain mindful and wary in case there is more to the issue than the contraceptive I have been taking. Recognising what is causing the problem for people on contraception is the biggest step. Poor mental health and depression is such a delicate issue which manifests in so many different forms.

There has been concern over whether the continued popularity of the pill is down to a lack of knowledge of other contraceptives, rather than a desire to specifically use the pill.

For anyone using, or considering using any form of contraception, not just the pill, I would encourage awareness and checking in with yourself and how you are feeling. Contraception being readily available for free in the UK is such a privilege that many women in the world don’t experience.

Everyone is different, don’t settle for something that leaves you feeling low, investigate your options and fight for your mental health.

 

Earlier this year, a spokesperson for the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency responded to the concerns over Rigevidon saying: “The benefits of any combined hormonal contraceptive far outweigh the risk of serious side effects – prescribers and women should be aware of the major risk factors for blood clots and the key signs and symptoms, which are clearly described in the package leaflet.”

EN4 News has contacted Rigevidon for a statement on this story. 

Rethink Mental Illness

NHS support and advice for people living with mental illness.

Phone: 0300 5000 927 (Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 4pm)

Website: www.rethink.org

Mind

Promotes the views and needs of people with mental health problems.

Phone: 0300 123 3393 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm)

Website: www.mind.org.uk

Relationships

Relate

The UK’s largest provider of relationship support.

Website: www.relate.org.uk

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