Debjani Chatterjee: Silly Buddies
In response to Sheffield Flourish's competition, Debjani Chatterjee introduces the idea of creating a buddy system within the mental health community to help people in need not only have someone to talk to, but to have someone to have fun with.
Maybe being a ‘Silly Buddy’ is part of the answer
There are many ways in which Sheffield people are already engaged in making our city more mental health friendly; through increasing awareness and offering education and training, to promoting things such as volunteering, mindfulness and other forms of helpful meditation. Furthermore, a host of creative and therapeutic activities are already being promoted through Sheffield Flourish e.g. gardening, writing, artwork, photography and filming, cooking, singing and music, walking and dance and exercise. We are bound to increasingly feel the positive effects of these activities. As a city, I believe we already have great community spirit, a really caring voluntary sector and many self-help groups.
That is why I know that we have a strong foundation on which we can continue to build because we can always do more for well being. But one thing that sometimes gets overlooked by well-meaning people, is that we also need to pay attention to having fun, playing and being silly. The child in each of us needs nurturing in many ways, and while our subject and our purpose is a serious one, play – especially playing together – in pairs or in groups, is crucially important.
We all know that having a buddy is beneficial. We all need friends, especially at times of distress. So why can’t we, as a city, cultivate a system of buddying? This doesn’t mean that buddies should just be there for important things like listening and sharing; buddies are also for fun. Let’s have more buddies for playing together, for having fun and for just being silly at times! And I call upon everyone, but especially the ‘seriously great and the good’, the ‘wheeler-dealers and leaders’ of our society, let us start by being a silly buddy.