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Jewish News supplement

“I felt I had failed as a person, that the world had closed in on me and that suicide was my only option… I was wrong. Jami saved my life.” Hannah, Jami service user

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Jewish News 20 September 2017

Jami Supplement / Resilience


RESILIENCE With one in four people in the UK experiencing a mental health problem each year, Jami wants the community to have a better understanding. Head On:The Mental Health Awareness Shabbat is one of the ways the organisation does this and one man in particular knows how to promote it

to, but there are less and less people one can go to in life,” says Epstein. “Superficially everyone else’s life seems perfect because of social media. On Facebook, all you see are pics of happy people on holiday in Mykonos or at birthday parties. We create snapshots of perfection and that is what we present to the world. “Of course, people who are grown up and emotionally intelligent know that life isn’t like that. But kids have a real sense that everything in everyone else’s life is fine. Then when their friends tell them it isn’t, they get confused. Is life good or is it terrible? How do we get through life when it is so overwhelming?” Epstein is visibly moved to the point of tears as he reflects on the impact all this has on young lives and it is not just the sunny snaps on Facebook that concern him. “In order to be heard on public forums, views are extreme and speech less filtered. You can’t just disagree without it turning into a slanging match. This means there is no ability to maintain different points of view in your own head at the same time. “Strong mental health depends on a sense of one’s own inner calm and well-being, regardless of what is going on around you. But in order to do that, you need to have an immense personal reservoir of resilience.” Building that resilience and helping our community to better understand mental health are reasons why Head On, The Mental Health Awareness Shabbat was held for the first time last year and will be again on 19 and 20 January 2018. Rabbi Epstein was pivotal to the success of

Rabbi David Epstein wants to see more communities understanding mental health

the event and, in fact, originated the concept after drawing inspiration from Bo, the parasha about the final three plagues. “It was this, the last one, which describes a

❝The Lord said to Moses, “Stretch

forth your hand toward the heavens, and there will be darkness over the land of Egypt, and the darkness will become darker.” So Moses stretched forth his hand toward the heavens, and there was thick darkness over the entire land of Egypt for three days. They did not see each other, and no one rose from his place for three days, but for all the children of Israel there was light in their dwellings.

96. THIS WAS THE NUMBER of things on Rabbi Daniel Epstein’s to-do list one week before Rosh Hashanah. There were more to add – many more – but he wanted to make time for Jami. Rabbi Epstein will always set aside time for Jami because he is genuinely passionate about the charity, and his relationship with it preceded his ‘official’ appointment as minister at Cockfosters and N Southgate Synagogue in 2015. A spark was lit for Epstein on the night he met Laurie Rackind, Jami’s Chief Executive during a get-to-know families session at the shul; and from there on, the former PR and marketing expert wanted to make a relevant contribution. Returning with his family from Israel after making aliyah in 1998, Epstein was new to the role of pastoral leader, but he knew that the function of the rabbinate had changed due to contemporary challenges. “Rabbis used to be the functionees of the syngagogue, performing weddings, advising on kashrut, etc, but people‘s lives were much more straightforward then,” says Epstein. “You would go from school to university and then get a job. A job you could be in for the rest of your life if you so wished and with a gold carriage clock or a pen at the end of it. You would also have enough equity in your house to retire. “But over the past 20 to 30 years, life has so become unpredictable. And the challenges of not knowing where you are going or what is coming up are overwhelming for many people.” “We’ve got to a point where people are suffering, but they are stigmatised for it,” Epstein continues. “If they had a physical ailment, such as a broken leg, you would be round there like a shot with food, with care and with love and asking, ‘Can I help you?’, but if someone is signed off for four weeks for anxiety and depression, the common reaction is, ‘Oh, well see you soon’ and walk away.” Epstein notes that across the country, rabbis are seeing more and more families dealing with mental health challenges, cases of self-harm and, at its most extreme, suicide. “Often all that is needed is someone to talk

tangible physical darkness that for me conjures up that sense of emotional paralysis felt by those who can’t see a way forward. “They are pinned in their dark world, but as it says in the text – ‘there was light for the children of Israel’. In other words, the plague is not for them.” Epstein prepared a sermon around the text, which was sent out to synagogues of all denominations. “Mental health issues cross all denominations. We all suffer it, we all feel it... and we need to understand that book smart intelligence and emotional resilience are very different things. A mental health condition is an illness like any other.” For better understanding, Rabbi Epstein has read many books about mental health and he presents one of his favourites – Grit: Why passion and resilience are the secrets to success by American psychologist Angela Duckworth. “She writes about resilience and determination, and my job is to help people find their own reserve of resilience. “It is the same job and one of the biggest challenges parents and teachers face every day as they try to stop their loved ones and students from caving too quickly and realising they have more capability than they think.” Over time, Rabbi Epstein has found that the

20 September 2017 Jewish News


Resilience / Jami Supplement easiest time to talk to his congregants about building emotional strength is at funerals and shivas. “I know it sounds weird,” he admits. “But that is when they are vulnerable and open to guidance. I try to get them to realise that while they may be afraid they are never alone. “In this world, we have every person we might need to get us from cradle to grave. Doctors, teachers, rabbis, life coaches, dieticians and declutterers. Someone for every eventuality, and if we have all that, then we have paradise.” Rabbi Epstein wells up again at his own words. It’s a response that underlines his passion for the charity and concern for those he wants to help. He is hopeful that next year’s Mental Health Awareness Shabbat will attract even more communities across the country, so they, too, can have a better understanding. “Last year at our synagogue, we had a panel discussion including myself, Laurie, and two psychologists, one of whom dealt with children, and 150 people showed up. Afterwards, some of them came up to me and said I never realised that my mother/ father/grandparent was suffering with mental health issues all those years.”

Jami’s CEO Laurie Rackind, far right, and Rabbi Epstein at last year’s panel forum

Although Rabbi Epstein acknowledges that medication and clinical intervention can help, the main aim is to assistthose struggling to prepare for the life they don’t know. The need for this has become more acute than ever before. “Politics is uncertain, finance is uncertain, and there are no frames of reference any more, so you feel like you’re adrift. But the small still voice within is where real

strength comes from. “Shabbat can be a good way to find it. Away from technology, you can have that quiet time and it is not about how frum you are. Just switching off devices keeps the world away for 25 hours.” Rabbi Epstein believes that we can’t talk about mental health issues enough and his ever-expanding ‘to do’ list included a meeting with a vicar in the West End to discuss a mental health interfaith initiative and another at a mosque in Edmonton.

“We are at a point where helping people with things that are socially challenging is going to be the calling of the next generation,” says the astute rabbi. “But we can start now by teaching them about resilience, capability and inner strength.”  Rabbi Epstein hopes your community will participate on the weekend of 19 January for Head On: The Mental Health Awareness Shabbat

19TH & 20th JANUARY 2018 Right now, 1 in 4 people in the UK experience a mental health problem each year.

Brought to you by

Registered Charity 1003345. A Company Limited by Guarantee 2618170.

Following the success of last year’s ground-breaking community-wide Shabbat event, please save the date for 2018’s Mental Health Awareness Shabbat. 2018’s MHAS promises to bring more insightful talks, training sessions and engaging activities, with more organisations joining the conversation to help tackle the stigma that surrounds mental illness, HEAD ON.

To register your interest or to find out more please visit


Jewish News 20 September 2017

Jami Supplement / Menu for life

MENU FOR LIFE At Jami’s Head Room Café, the food is delicious and advice is more than a side dish. Naomi Frankel went along It is a universal truth that the best conversations often happen over a cup of tea. And nobody knows this better than Jami – who, with their Head Room café project, have taken mental health out from the shadows and into the heart of the high street. Supported by the Maurice and Vivienne Wohl Charitable Foundation, the one-stop social enterprise on Golders Green Road encourages customers to sip, shop and share for the community’s mental health charity. Sharing is the main emphasis here according to Daniel, one of the small team of ‘Heads Up’ workers who are easily spotted around the trendy Shoreditch-style café in their distinctive blue T-shirts. My initial assumption was that Heads Up workers solely operate through approaching customers and drawing them into conversation, but contrary to this, the aim is to reach out to people on a much wider basis. “We found that while it’s important to offer the opportunity for people to have a one-toone chat with a Heads Up worker to signpost them to appropriate resources (statutory mental health services, community organisations such as Jami and volunteering opportunities), the main way that people have used these conversations is to ask about how to support others who are struggling with their mental health,” explains Daniel. Head Room’s approach has thus developed more of a social focus by helping the community better understand mental health and facilitate their ability to be supportive. Combining a café with a well-being project is a daring venture, but Daniel explains its growing appeal is “because we’re a local café, so a lot of people come from the community

because it looks nice and they like the food. The mental health objective comes through that.” This is achieved in a variety of ways; from meaningful, Instagrammable quotes artfully hung around the café to the ‘wellbeing menu’ featured alongside the food menu. Aiming to nourish mind and soul, it is packed chock full of information on Heads Up workers, the weekly programme and special events arranged by Daniel and his colleagues. The weekly programme includes bite-sized mindfulness and colouring sessions, a discussion group on mental health and the media and an informal drop in called ‘communitea’ – a chance to have a cuppa, meet new people and help build the Head Room community. People use it as a way to find out more about the café and Jami, as well as to contribute ideas for what they want to see on the programme. “We get great feedback from these,” comments Daniel. “In particular, people are saying it’s great to have a welcoming Jewish space that really gets what’s going on for them.” I am curious to know if it is only those with clear mental health issues who attend, but Daniel replies with an insightful answer. “People think mental illness only affects a few, but in fact it’s a spectrum we’re all on. It’s not us or them, it’s something we all need to be thinking about.” He adds: “We get a diverse crowd of people coming, Jews and non-Jews alike.” This diversity was particularly apparent

Heads Up worker Daniel promoting the purpose of the café on Golders Green Road

at special events such as Tikkun Leil (eve) Shavuot, where the café opened for a mental health themed teach-in. Texts such as the book of Ruth were used as a discussion point for important topics such as famine, bereavement and migration. “These circumstances affect both the individual and community at large,” explains Daniel. “Mental health individualises distress, but the community also needs to learn how to deal with distress and difference.” Indeed, no topic is too difficult to address at Head Room. To commemorate World Suicide Prevention Day on Sunday, 10 September, a community learning event was held titled ‘Breaking the Taboo: how to talk openly about suicide’. Mental Health Awareness week last May was marked with a programme of engaging events. One particular triumph was a hired parking spot outside the café, transformed into a ‘pop up wellbeing garden’, literally bringing the conversation to the street. Focused around the main theme, Surviving or Thriving, activities included braceletmaking as well as people writing on notes what the theme meant for them. “The playful approach was appreciated, and doing something creative was an easy way to start a conversation,” says Daniel. “I recall one woman who made a bracelet in memory of her sister who passed away. She was talking about it at the same time, sharing her personal story of loss to this small table of people sitting and working.” For those who do want to talk on a one-toone basis, the sandwich chalkboard at the entrance to the café advertises the times that a Heads Up worker will be available to chat. Trained as a Peer Support Worker, Daniel draws upon his own experiences of struggling with mental health to help others, and believes this collaborative approach and normalising of issues is often what people need. “I see a handful of people a day. They usually approach me, either directly or indirectly through handing in a ‘Feedback’ postcard, which helps those who are shy engage with Heads Up worker. There are a few unobtrusive questions on the back and the opportunity to leave your details for Jami to get in contact.” Daniel tells me that some “do end up coming back regularly, whether it’s to see me or attend groups while some don’t. The people I see change all the time”. It is clear that an informal, open approach to mental health, coupled with determination to banish stigma from the community has contributed in making this social initiative such a success.

20 September 2017 Jewish News


Hannah’s story / Jami Supplement


Hello, I’m Hannah and I have been anxious for as long as I can remember.

one I could confide in without feeling humiliated.

First it manifested as incessant and irrational worry, particularly at night. I would lie awake in bed catastrophising about how the world would end. At one stage I couldn’t lie down in certain positions because I was afraid I’d hear my heart stop. Living in an emotionally turbulent household didn’t help either; it acted as an inaccurate microcosm of how the outer world functioned, further fuelling my anxious disposition.

I left school halfway through and spent the next few years being passed around from one mental health professional to another. I got nowhere and my condition worsened to the point where I couldn’t function, finally culminating in a massive breakdown at the age of 21.

As I graduated onto secondary school, so did my anxiety. It started latching onto probable events like failing tests, embarrassment in social situations and a fear of authority and getting into trouble. To make matters worse, I encountered some unsavoury characters who further reinforced my distorted vision of the world. I felt safe neither inside nor outside my own home and spent most of my school years waking up and going to bed terrified. I became withdrawn and depressed and struggled to find some-

I felt that I had failed as a person, that the world had closed in on me and that suicide was my only option to escape my never-ending misery. During my breakdown, a family friend suggested I contact Jami for support alongside the statutory counselling and medication I was receiving. I remember my first appointment with one of Jami’s occupational therapists, telling her that I was too far gone to be helped.

I was so wrong. Jami saved my life. Within a few months, I went from being frightened and immobile to being frightened and taking on new opportunities. I entered my first job, which has influenced my career path and given me direction, and I started participating in social events. It was sometimes incredibly difficult to make progress, but Jami supported me every step of the way, helping me to organise my thoughts and being the voice of reason I so desperately needed. Jami also encouraged me to continue with my education and I have now accepted a place to study at a world-class university in September. I can’t thank them enough. Currently Jami is helping more than 1,300 people who, like me, have experienced mental ill health and need support with their

daily struggles. Jami receives almost no statutory funding and relies heavily on the support of the community to fund its vital services. As the demand increases, so does the strain on resources. Any help you can provide this Rosh Hashanah will be greatly appreciated. By supporting Jami, you are helping individuals like myself to move on with our lives. I still have anxiety, but I can now manage and know that I can access help when I need it. For the first time in a long while, the world is no longer a frightening place to me, but an exciting one with many opportunities that I look forward to taking. Wishing you a happy and healthy new year.

To find out more about Jami or to donate please visit


Jewish News 20 September 2017

Jami Supplement / Prospectus

Expand your horizons with Head Room

Café Culture Schools All Learners

Family & Parents Carers


Working in Mental Health

Young People


Learning with Jami’s Head Room programme Learning is at the heart of Jami’s Head Room programme. We all have mental health just as we all have physical health. Jami provides education about mental health and wellbeing to everyone in the Jewish community. We provide learning and development for all. This diversity of audience, is what makes our work unique and such a vital contribution to Jewish community learning. If you have not yet sampled Head Room education, we warmly invite you to participate in 2017/18. We also run a programme of cafe debates at Jami’s Head Room Café in Golders Green. We are so thrilled to be able to reach out in this way both on the High Street, in communities and of course across our own venues too. A selection of our courses and events from our new prospectus are detailed below.

Café Culture

Think Tank

Writers’ Open Mic Night

Do you have opinions about current legislation impacting on people with mental illness? Do you want to be more informed about the direction of travel of the NHS and Mental Health services? If so, our Think Tank could be for you. If you enjoy contributing to discussions and are happy to hear the opinions of others, could you contribute to our new group? Tuesdays, 5.30pm - 7.00pm 24th October 2017, 7th November 2017, 5th December 2017, 9th January 2018, 6th February 2018, 3rd April 2018, 8th May 2018, 5th June 2018, 3rd July 2018 Head Room Café, Golders Green

Do you fancy yourself a budding writer or poet or do you prefer to be in the audience? Come and join us at the Head Room Café for our writers’ open mic night. Sit back, relax, have a drink and a bite to eat whilst our writers and performers share with you some of their own work. Interested in reading your work? Please drop us a line to join our list for the night. Readings: 9.00pm - 10.00pm 10th October 2017, 18th January 2018, 12th April 2018, 7th June 2018 Head Room Café, Golders Green

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20 September 2017 Jewish News


Prospectus / Jami Supplement Family & Parents


“No one told me it would be like this”

If life is a book...are you ready for the next chapter?

You didn’t get a manual the day she was born. He didn’t come with a health warning. No one has written the job description to parenting. Wonder who would apply for a job that is hugely demanding, emotionally draining, working round the clock and financially a nightmare. Oh yeah, that’s you. Parenting can leave us in despair as well as provide great “nachus”, pride and joy. So come and reclaim your sanity and meet other parents juggling family life and their own mental wellbeing (aren’t all of us?).

Are you recently retired? Planning to retire? Are you looking forward to doing all those things you have not had time to do like become a more active member of your gym, a local charity or your synagogue?

On this course you will get the opportunity to reflect on what you feel is going well, get support to make small adjustments that might just add up to a big difference, gain some relaxation skills, tips for improving sleep and decreasing anxiety and become a more reflective, calmer parent.

Cost: Free for those who have used a Jami support service in the last twelve months or £20 for 5 weeks per person Five week course: Wednesdays, 11.15am - 12.45pm 8th November 2017, 15th November 2017, 22nd Novemer 2017, 29th November 2017, 6th December 2017 Martin B. Cohen Centre, Edgware

Some of us look forward to retiring and seeing more of family and friends, travelling and enjoying life, maybe giving something back. Yet there are many of us who remain ambivalent to this life transition. Work has been a place of socialising, friendship, meaning and purpose. Retirement feels empty and unknown. Wherever you feel you are on this spectrum join us to explore how we can retire and look after our mental health. Gain ideas to improve your mental wellbeing with others about to embark on this next chapter... These courses are offered free of charge.

One day seminar: Tuesday, 1st March 2018, 1.30pm - 5.00pm Redbridge Jewish Community Centre, Gants Hill One day seminar: Tuesday, 24th April 2018, 1.30pm - 5.00pm Jewish Care, Amélie House

CPD: Working in Mental Health, Volunteers, Carers Depression and Anxiety According to the Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey, published in September 2016, 1 in 6 adults have a common mental disorder including depression and anxiety. Both depression and anxiety can have a huge range of symptoms and a wide spectrum of severity. It’s a major public health issue. Come and join us to explore what depression and anxiety are, how they relate to our own daily lives and how we can help ourselves and others to cope better.

All Learners

Cost: £25 for self-paying individuals and voluntary sector staff and £35 for statutory sector staff e.g. NHS or local government Wednesday, 18th October 2017, 11.15am - 3.45pm Martin B. Cohen Centre, Edgware

Young People

“No one told me it would be like this”

Project Me: Life Choices and Independence

Life can be tough and can take its toll on our wellbeing and our ability and strength to cope. This course aims to enhance your wellbeing and build resilience by strengthening your ability to ‘bounce back’ and adapt to the pressures of everyday life. Together we will explore how to set realistic expectations based on the resources you have available and how you could build future resources to draw from. In our supportive learning environment begin to strengthen your resolve and avoid the ‘all or nothing thinking’ that can hold us back.

We invite young adults to join us for this 5 week course which will explore themes such as ‘adulting’ in 2018. The Urban Dictionary identifies the term adulting as: to do grown up things and hold responsibilities.

Cost: The courses are free for anyone who has used any of Jami’s support services in the last twelve months or £20 for 5 weeks. North London | Five week course: Wednesdays, 2.00pm - 3.30pm 11th April 2018, 18th April 2018, 25th April 2018, 2nd May 2018, 9th May 2018 Martin B. Cohen Centre, Edgware East London | Five week course: Tuesdays, 2.15pm - 3.45pm 12th June 2018, 19th June 2018, 26th June 2018, 3rd July 2018, 10th July 2018 Redbridge Jewish Community Centre, Gants Hill

What does being an adult mean to us and how do we navigate this new area? What are the pitfalls we need to watch out for and how can we organise ourselves, manage our wellbeing and be a part of the adult world on our own terms. Cost: The courses are free for anyone who has used any of Jami’s support services in the last twelve months or £20 for 5 weeks.

Five week course: Thursdays, 3.00pm - 4.30pm 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd, 29th May 2018 Martin B. Cohen Centre, Edgware

To book any of our courses, please complete and return the form overleaf. To view all of our courses, please see the full prospectus online at To receive a copy in the post or to find out more please call 020 8458 2223 or email

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Jewish News 20 September 2017

Jami Supplement / Head Room booking form

Family Wellbeing Day

This event is generously supported by Hampstead United Synagogue.

4 March 2018 10.00am — 3.00pm Hendon Cost: £25 each for an adult participant; Under 18s are free

Following on from our hugely successful Family Resilience Conference in 2017, Jami brings you a wellbeing day for the whole family. So bring children, grandparents, aunts and uncles - all warmly welcomed.

Concessionary rate of 30% off. Available for low income households, retired people. Light refreshments available throughout the day alongside a kosher milky packed lunch (included).

Participate in sessions on Family Mindfulness, Building Resilience and discover what makes your family fantastic. Try out our fun activities at the Wellbeing Shuk. We will also be welcoming the London Playback Theatre Company for a live performance.

To book or find out more, email or call us on 020 8458 2223 | 020 8458 2223 |

Mindfulness and Milkshakes at the Head Room Café

Suitable for adults and children aged 10 up (under adult supervision)

@JamiPeople |

If you’re aged 14-18 and would like to take part in some taster mindfulness and wellbeing activities to help you develop better tools to manage your stress come and join us. Free Head Room Café milkshakes included! Cost: £5


Registered Charity 1003345. A Company Limited by Guarantee 2618170.

Head Room Booking form

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This form is not a referral form for our support services. If you need to access Jami’s mental health support or carers services please call our Duty Team on 020 8458 2223 Course / Seminar name:

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Please return to: Jami Head Room, Martin B Cohen Centre for Wellbeing, Gould Way, Deansbrook Road, Edgware HA8 9GL JN-Supplement2017-R1.indd 4


How best would you describe yourself? (please tick all that apply to you)

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my personal development  I would like to learn more for my professional development

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Telephone: 020 8458 2223 19/09/2017 15:12

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