WI Campaigns

The WI campaigns on a number of international, national and local issues
WIs vote on a shortlist of resolutions in December and discuss proposals to go to the AGM, in May of each year.


Mental Health Matters

It is wonderful news that in the Worcestershire Federation’s Centenary year, Callow End’s Resolution arguing that mental health matters as much as physical health was passed at the Annual Meeting on 6 June with a storming 98% majority.  So, this vital issue becomes the focus of a new WI campaign and all members will be able to get involved in promoting conversations about mental health and how the issues it raises can be addressed in our society at national, local and individual level.

Louise Jones, the proposer of the Resolution for Callow End WI argued most persuasively for the urgency of this campaign – “we often feel free to talk frankly about our physical health ... (but) many people, both old and young, often feel they will be judged if they say they have a mental health issue”.  She concluded, “If this resolution is successful, it will change forever the way we feel about, and discuss, mental health issues.  It will cascade knowledge and understanding about mental health through our families, communities and workplaces, and could help lead to a much needed UK wide cultural change”.

Seconding the Resolution, Caroline Hall, Bewdley WI, focused on the ways in which all of us can take action to initiate change. “We can train ourselves to listen actively and recognise even the quietest cry for help.  We can learn how to show others that we are open to talking about mental health and how to start these conversations.  We can learn how to respond when a confidence is shared, and know what resources are available locally that we can signpost to.”

The expert witness, Andrew Molodynski, Consultant Psychiatrist from Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, gave a powerful and moving exposition of the urgency of the campaign, based on frontline clinical practice and all too troublesome familiarity with pressures on the resources, staff and patients involved in the mental health services.  In spite of determined efforts, NFWI had been unable to find anyone willing to oppose the Resolution, and so Mary Clarke, Vice President of NFWI Public Affairs Committee outlined the points which might be considered to counter it.

In the debate which followed from the floor, many cogent points were made in support of the Resolution and giving indicators of areas where the campaign might lead.  The debate was moving and heartfelt, leaving no-one who heard it in any doubt of how many lives this campaign might touch.  And the final joy of this momentous day was that the afternoon’s Keynote Speaker, Huw Edwards, gave a spontaneous, personal and ringing endorsement of the WI’s campaigning effectiveness, focusing on the 2 issues he perceived as most important to society today: Plastic Soup and Mental Health Awareness.  What an end to a wonderful day!