Ten unique mental health projects in the UK

May 13, 2024 | News

<br /> Positive News: 10 unique mental health initiatives in the UK that are helping people.<br />

Mental health issues can affect us all. Support comes in many forms. Here are some UK initiatives that help people through video games, music, growing food, and more.

Mental health issues can affect us all. Support comes in many forms. Here are some UK initiatives that help people through video games, music, growing food, and more.

Anyone can face mental health challenges, whether you’re an elite athlete or a returning vet. But that doesn’t necessarily mean we need the same level of support.

We look at 10 different support projects that are doing things differently during Mental Health Awareness Week (13-19th May).


Michael describes his first encounter with Tich as “meeting an old love”. The veteran felt isolated and struggled to readjust back to civilian life. “The nightmares kicked in,” he says, “I could not see beyond the black.”

Then, Tich was paired up with him through Bravehound. This Scottish charity pairs veterans with mental health conditions and specially trained support dogs. Michael says, “[She is] that mutual friend which a human cannot offer you sometimes.”

Image: Anna Dudkova/Unsplash

The Burnt Chef Project

It’s not surprising that eight out of ten people who work in the hospitality industry experience mental health issues. Research shows that nearly half of those who work in hospitality would not feel comfortable sharing their experiences with colleagues.

The Burnt Chef Project addresses the issue in a direct manner, providing free 24/7 access to psychotherapists and counsellors who are clinically trained, as well as training sessions in person.

The Burnt Chef Project

3) Farmerados

The kitchen is the heart of any farmhouse, but a project in Somerset has taken the idea to the next level. Farmerados hosts a pop-up kitchen at agricultural shows and market across the county. They are stocked with fresh brews, biscuits and more. This is in response to studies that found farmers are at a higher-than-average risk of mental illness and suicide.

The team says that farmers are proud and strong people, so it is not easy to talk about problems. “Our mission is cultivate communities in which farmers can share their burdens, learn from each other, and feel lighter,” says the team.

Image: Benjamin Davies/Unsplash

Hip Hop Heals

Kiz Manley, the UK’s very first hip-hop therapist, is a pioneer in this field. After using writing to cope with her own grief she was inspired by MC culture to combine science-based poetry and art therapy techniques.

Hip Hop Heals is a Birmingham-based organization that offers workshops to young people who are underrepresented, with a focus on self care and trauma processing.

Image: Forja2 Mx/Unsplash

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Black Minds Matter

It was a game changer when Sharifa began therapy with Black Minds Matter. She says: “It felt like a brand-new experience not to have to explain the nuances of black experience as it was understood and shared.” The work we did was deep and has helped me profoundly.”

The charity works in conjunction with a group of black therapists who provide culturally relevant one-to-one therapy. “That’s what you get,” they say. “That’s exactly what you deserve.”

Image of Lucy J Toms

6) Sporting Wellness

One of the most difficult parts of being a pro athlete is deciding when to quit your sport. Where can you go for confidential, non-judgmental advice?

Enter Sporting Wellness. This charity aims to support all professional athletes with mental health, whether they are retiring, competing with their friends, or under pressure to perform.

Image: Sporting Wellness

Safe In Our World

Emily Mitchell, then 17, released Fractured Minds – an escape-room style video game that focused on mental health. She explained that “each room represents a unique aspect of mental illness, and how it impacts people’s lives on a daily basis.”

It has also been a springboard to change in the video games industry. Royalties have helped fund Safe In Our World a charity that challenges work hard, play harder culture. In just four short years, representatives have trained 350 mental health first aiders and 150 people from underrepresented groups in mental health awareness.

Image: Safe in Our World

8) Songs And Smiles

Arthur was 91 years old when he first attended his Songs and Smiles session. He was initially reluctant to participate as the only male. Anita, his granddaughter, said that after a few sessions it brought “sparkle” to his life. He told her, “It’s my favorite day of the week. I love seeing the babies’ smiles and how much they enjoy the bubbles.”

The Together Project runs the programme that brings together children aged under four years old, their parents, and residents of care homes to form an intergenerational group. More than 2,000 people attended a session in 2023.

Image: Together Project

9) Black Dog Outdoors

In the last few years, Black Dog Outdoors organized almost 60 bouldering and climbing events. The focus is not on how high one can climb. It’s all about having a positive mental health connection to the outdoors.

Participants report an immediate boost in mood, whether it’s a scramble over the rocks in the Lake District, or summiting a crag on Snowdonia.

Image: Kieran Yates/Unsplash


MindFood is hidden in a small plot of land in Ealing. It may look like a typical patch of fresh vegetables, but Building Wellbeing is a programme that helps men manage their mental wellbeing.

The charity created the drop-ins after realizing that few men attended their mental health gardening sessions. They focus on DIY projects, self-care advice and a cup of tea. “Our sessions aren’t a talking therapy so no one is forced to talk about their feelings.” MindFood is “doing therapy”: an escape from daily pressures and a chance for a reset.

Image: Lucy Clark/Mind Food

Black Minds Matter. Credit: Lucy J Toms

Find out more here about mental health organizations that can help. Click here to learn more

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