Head On: Mental Health Awareness Shabbat 2019

Jami’s third annual Head On: Mental Health Awareness Shabbat delivered on its commitment to raise awareness – and remove the stigma – of mental ill health in the Jewish community.

16th January 2019

Held by Jami, the mental health service for the Jewish community, this year’s Head On Shabbat was 11/12 January.  Over 120 individuals, synagogues and organisations led activities, discussions and gave sermons about the importance of mental wellbeing. Most brave were the people who stood up in their communities for the first time to share the impact of mental ill health on their own lives, including two of our own Jami Ambassadors.

Head On deliberately takes place the week of Parashat Bo, which tells of the Plague of Darkness – a suitable launch pad for discussions on the nature of mental health.

Many synagogues held discussion groups led by mental health professionals.  At Edgware United, Sara Cooper, Head of Clinical Services at Raphael Jewish Counselling, discussed ‘Is there such a thing as Jewish Counselling?’; Psychotherapist David Brodtman spoke to the Hampstead Dennington Park Community; and Kol Chai Reform held a panel discussion with representatives from the Harrow Samaritans as well as the OLLIE Foundation.

Schools and communal organisations led their own events, including Clore Tikva Primary School running special assemblies to introduce the Mental Health Awareness Shabbat to their pupils.

After participating in the Shabbat, a member of Pinner United said “I’m sure people learnt a lot about mental health and Jami that they never knew.  It is just the start of discussions for our community and it’s got us all talking and thinking”.

Shenley’s Rabbi Garber told us “the subject of good mental health and mental health awareness and support is so important and impacts all of us. Thank you for setting up and running this initiative”.

Jami provided the following resources to all those participating in Head On:

  • Mental health related sermons from United, Reform, Liberal, S&P Sephardi and Masorti Rabbonim
  • Youth activity pack
  • Key facts on mental health
  • Information on Head Room Education Courses and Workshops

The Jewish community often leads the way in many aspects of health provision, medical research and social care. With 98% of income coming from donations, Jami relies on the community’s support to deliver its essential services. Together we have an opportunity to tackle mental illness Head On breaking down the stigma, raising awareness of mental health issues and creating parity of esteem.

Click here for more information on Head On: Mental Health Awareness Shabbat

Young Jami’s ‘Lights On’ Launch Event

On Thursday 22 June, ‘Young Jami’, hosted their launch event at the Light House in Shoreditch for 150 young professionals.  The committee, chaired by Gabi Mendelsohn, is made up of 11 members in their early 20’s to 30’s who are all passionate about mental health and want to raise awareness amongst young adults.

The event was called ‘Lights On’ and the theme was ‘bringing light to mental health’. The committee’s mission is to shine a light on mental health, a subject that is often left in the dark and not openly spoken about.

Gabi Mendelsohn welcomed guests “We all have mental health, just as we all have physical health and our mental health, like our physical health doesn’t always stay the same.  Mental illness, just like physical illness, can affect anyone. We all know someone, or personally may be struggling with a mental illness – it is definitely an issue that affects us all.”

Guest speaker Luciana Berger MP, Labour’s expert and campaigner on mental health, spoke about how “we need to shift the emphasis from dealing with crises, to prevention of mental ill health and promotion of good mental health. This would mean faster access to talking therapy, more support from employers, and a more open attitude towards mental illness in society and the Jewish community.”

Simone Saidel, Peer Support Worker at Jami spoke about how she provides support for those experiencing mental ill health. “My role at Jami is to work with people, not for them, supporting them during their recovery journey. The rapport and trust I have built with those I work with and the change I have seen in many, has really proved how effective peer support work can be.”

Fantastic raffle prizes were generously donated, including a 2-night stay at St Anne’s Manor, a Jimmy Choo purse and necklace, restaurant vouchers and personal training sessions and a sports blender.

Guests left with a better understanding of mental health and a strong commitment to helping Young Jami raise awareness and vital funds that will help transform the landscape of mental health.


Mitzvah Day 2018

On Sunday 18 November The Jami warehouse in Borehamwood invited people to get involved in various Mitzvah Day projects. The response from the community was fantastic with different events taking place over the Mitzvah Day weekend.

Lighthouse London Church for the second year in a row kindly collected donations within the community to donate to Jami.

The Jami warehouse also ran an exciting upcycling project from the warehouse and various sites in the community. Edgware and Hendon Reform Synagogue held a candle making workshop using some of the many books donated where volunteers turned old books into stunning flame- free candles.

Ten-year-old Meir, who shared his tenth birthday with Mitzvah Day, wanted to get involved in Jami’s upcycling project after his parents heard a talk by Jami at their shul. They approached Jami to ask if he could hold his birthday party at the Jami warehouse on Mitzvah Day morning. Meir and his friends spent the morning sanding, prepping and priming chairs which they then transformed into fabulous new creations using different fabrics and materials and canvasses of art using old puzzle pieces.

In the afternoon, Borehamwood Masorti’s Bnei Mitzvah group also joined the upcycling project. All items made will be sold in the Head Room Café, Jami Warehouse and Social Enterprise Hub and online.

Another Jami project was to collect unwanted foreign change. Individual members of the community chose to support this initiative, as did Stanmore and Canons Park United Synagogue who asked their members for donations and had an open collection at the shul.

Woodside Park United Synagogue put on an afternoon tea and people from Jami were welcomed and provided musical entertainment.

Jami’s Annual Dinner 2018

Jami held its annual dinner last night at One Marylebone where over 300 guests attended to support the Jewish community’s mental health service. The annual dinner raised £350,000 which will go towards funding Jami’s vital services.

As the profile of mental health keeps growing nationally and within the community, Jami demonstrated during the evening how it is committed to ‘Transforming the Landscape of Mental Health’, by helping to reduce stigma, build resilience and create better health outcomes.

Doug Krikler, Chairman, welcomed guests and explained  “Jami’s challenge as an organisation, and our challenge as a community over the next few years is to focus both on early intervention and building resilience across all generations – whilst continuing to provide direct support to ever increasing numbers of individuals in our care, who need the specialist intervention of a dedicated and committed mental health service.”

During the evening guests heard speaker, Lord Stevenson CBE, speak about his work in the mental health sector and what he’s learnt. He also gave a personal insight into his clinical depression and the differences between thriving, struggling and being ill.

View the photos


At the event, Jami’s new fundraising was shown in which seven people who are supported by Jami shared their experiences by reading the letters they had written. One service user, Jon, said “Being diagnosed with depression has affected every tiny atom of my life. I’ve lived through great highs and huge lows. Lows where I’ve even tried to end my life. I’m alive today because of Jami.”

Watch the film


A huge thank you to all of our advertisers for supporting our dinner brochure and to Jennye Seres and Emma Hart for helping secure adverts and shape the content.

View the brochure

“Being diagnosed with depression has affected every tiny atom of my life. I’ve lived through great highs and huge lows. Lows where I’ve even tried to end my life. I’m alive today because of Jami.” - Jon, Jami service user

Jami’s whole population approach to suicide

Our community is affected by suicide like every community. Death from suicide is shocking and causes much heartache, pain and sorrow. Together we can strive to preserve life as well as acknowledging the trauma that a suicide brings to a family and the wider community. 

Jami is committed to a whole populations approach, which means working

with everyone, to prevent suicide, raise awareness and learning across our community on this most sensitive and taboo of subjects.

We are presenting two forthcoming educational events. The first event  “The Ripple Effect” on Tuesday 16th October in Edgware, 7.00 -9.00pm, is aimed at educators of all kinds including teachers, youth workers and educational leadership, Rabbis and other communal leaders. This evening will look at coping with the aftermath of a suicide and how to respond effectively to community need in the wake of a suicide. We will also look at a concept relatively new to the UK called  ‘postvention’, activities which reduce risk and promote healing after a suicide.

The second, Breaking the Taboo: How to Talk Openly about Suicide, Tuesday 13 November, 6.30 – 8.30pm, is for anyone in the community who wishes to talk about this difficult subject in a supportive environment and takes place at our Head Room Café in Golders Green.

We hope that these educational and community spaces can bring further help and support to our community.

As a postscript we regularly train community members in Mental Health First Aid which includes information on suicide prevention.

To book onto our courses click here.

Booking not required for the Head Room Café event.

Rosh Hashanah Appeal 2018

Labels are for jars. Not people.
Please help us remove them.

Mark lives with severe anxiety, making it difficult for him to communicate or focus on simple tasks.

Jami supported Mark to build his confidence and set himself small personal goals. Mark started volunteering at the Jami warehouse, learning new skills and putting structure back into his day. Mark then felt ready to get back into paid employment, so Jami helped with his CV, interview preparation and found him a job which he very much enjoys.

Sara has Bipolar Affective Disorder and due to her fluctuating moods was often unable to manage day to day responsibilities.

A Jami Occupational Therapist worked with Sara to identify her needs, hobbies and interests and supported her to develop a meaningful weekly structure. Sara now attends and volunteers at a weekly community craft group and is able to budget her finances and look after herself at home.

Due to Harry having Schizophrenia he hears voices and has always felt anxious about not being accepted.

Jami’s hub coordinator suggested Harry come to a weekly group. At the first group he only stayed for 10 minutes. Each week he would stay a little longer and now he attends 3 groups on a weekly basis and socialises with new friends over a hot meal at lunch time.

Samantha has depression. She became isolated, sitting home alone for days.

Jami paired Samantha up with Ruth, a befriender who visits Samantha fortnightly. They meet for coffee, watch a film, or go shopping. Samantha looks forward to their meetings which make her feel less alone, gives her someone to talk to and fun activities to enjoy. Samantha now has the confidence to go to the local shops independently.

can pay for attendance at an education seminar on managing anxiety and depression
can fund a case worker to conduct an initial one-to-one assessment session
can help groups of patients in hospital during Yom Tovim to celebrate with traditional food and services
can fund a month of peer support led sessions at one of our hubs aimed at inspiring a sense of hope and recovery for someone like Harry
can fund eight sessions with an Occupational Therapist to help someone like Sara manage her daily life
can train a group of people in Mental Health First Aid
Your support at this time of year will make a positive difference – Thank You.

Grand Opening of the Jami Warehouse and Head Room Bikes

Jami Warehouse & Head Room Bikes Grand opening – Sunday 29th July 9am – 2pm


• The newest and coolest charity retail store in Borehamwood has arrived
• Great products at amazing prices
• All sales help raise funds to ensure we can continue to provide our much needed services to those experiencing a mental health issue in our community.

New and preloved items
Vintage and retro pieces
Outfits at bargain prices
Toys, games & puzzles

SIP, SHOP & SHARE at the Jami warehouse
Enjoy a freshly brewed coffee and take some time out whilst searching our great selection of products at bargain prices.

Head Room Bikes

Welcome to the new second-hand bike shop on the block, Head Room Bikes, in association with Recycleyourcycle.org.uk. We are proud to bring you good quality, great value, reconditioned second hand bikes to Borehamwood.

Not only are our bikes excellent value for money, when you buy a Head Room Bike, your money goes directly to Jami, the mental health charity for the Jewish community.

Head Room Bikes and the Jami Warehouse shop are part of Jami’s Social Enterprise, enabling people living with mental illness and volunteers to have a positive and focussed contribution to raising much needed funds for Jami.
If you are interested in becoming a volunteer or donating product please get in contact by emailing either:
warehouse@jamiuk.org or

Where to find us
Unit 1, Borehamwood Enterprise Centre, Borehamwood WD6 4RQ.

Visit our Facebook page for more details @HeadRoomBikes

Team Jami raises £22,000

Yesterday saw Team Jami, made up of Michele, Jonny and Mark run 26.2 miles through the streets of London in 23-degree heat in an amazing effort to raise much needed funds for Jami, the community’s mental health service. Collectively, Team Jami have so far raised an incredible £22,000!

The dedication and effort that Team Jami had put into training for, and running the marathon paid off as they all completed the marathon in fantastic times. Mark was the first to cross the finish line with a great time of just under 5 hours. Mark said “I am running for Jami because I think helping people to get their lives back on track and supporting people through difficult times is a very important thing to do, and because we all need to talk more about our mental health.”

Michele decided to run her first marathon to coincide with her 60th birthday and is something that she has been keen to tick off her bucket list. Michele said she chose to run for Jami as she knows how difficult living with a mental illness can be for both the person with the diagnosis and their family. Michele said “in November 2011, a close family member attempted to take their own life. A shocking event and completely unexpected – it leaves a legacy that has an impact on day-to-day-lives and will continue to do”. Michele’s story has inspired many and was featured as a case study on the BBC.Passionate about the cause and with sheer perseverance, Michele has raised a staggering £15,000 for Jami!

Jonny Lethbridge chose to run for Jami and The Southover Partnership as he too knows how mental illness can have a devastating impact on the family and how crucial their services are for people experiencing a mental health problem.  Jonny’s daughter had missed over a year of school, had over 70 medical consultations, been prescribed over 25 medications, and sadly attempted suicide 75 times, all before she was 10 years old. Jonny is keen to break the stigma and raise awareness of mental health so that more can be done for those who need support. Jonny commented “Running the London Marathon was one of the hardest challenges of my life. But does not come close to the challenge of raising a child with mental health conditions. Without the support of charities like JAMI this challenge would be impossible. That’s why it was a pleasure to run and raise funds for the amazing work of Jami.”

"Running the London Marathon was one of the hardest challenges of my life. But does not come close to the challenge of raising a child with mental health conditions."

If you would like to support Team Jami, please donate here.

If you’ve been inspired by the stories from Team Jami 2018 and would like to run for Jami in next year’s London Marathon, please contact Muriel Stempel on 0208 458 2223 or email her at Muriel.stempel@jamiuk.org