This year, University Mental Health day falls under an unprecedented era of social distancing, where many are separated from friends and family. Not being able to connect with loved ones in person for a prolonged period of time can sometimes result in a decline of personal wellbeing, both mentally and emotionally.
At Rum Kitchen, we believe that celebrating life to its fullest is a core part of our mission to Be More Carnival. However, we also recognise that it’s just as important to understand the current headspace you are in and embrace it. Not every day is as vibrant as we might hope it to be, and that is perfectly okay. We are human, and we are allowed to feel, but we are also allowed to choose how we seize the day.
Today, we pay homage to our big sister Carnival in Rio de Janeiro – for the last 19 years, partygoers from the Nise da Silveira Institute have participated in this famous festivity to showcase mental health issues within the Brazilian community, the importance of its awareness, and the inclusion of those who experience it. Dancers, performers, and organisers can also be those who suffer from mental illness, which is what makes Rio Carnival so different to the rest – the integration of a typically shunned fraction of society highlights the accelerating inclusivity of all communities.
Here are 3 things that we can all take away about mental health from the Rio Carnival:
- There is no division between those who suffer from mental illness and those who don’t. Mental health issues are invisible to the human eye, which is why we always emphasise the importance of showing respect and kindness to others through Generosity of Spirit.
- You have the power to take control of your narrative. Don’t let the boundaries of fear circulating mental health stop you from telling your story. Our journeys through life are all different, but we can always learn from one another.
- Everyone can express their creativity, regardless of the state of their health. Artistic expression comes from within, and we believe that anyone is capable of manifesting their inner Carnival through thick and thin.
by Syahirah Harun – Team Member at Rum Kitchen Brixton