Since the launch of Hallmark Cards’ mental wellness programme in April, we’ve held a series of presentations, training sessions and interactive workshops focused on mental wellbeing.

Most recently, we welcomed Joanne Reid from The Recovery Shoe-Box Project. Established by Megan Reid, Joanne’s daughter, recovery shoe-boxes are free mental health toolkits to help people when times are hardest. Megan started the project as she’d personally benefited from using sensory items as a distraction technique.

Preparing to pack the shoe-boxes

The kits include items that can pamper, soothe and motivate. They also contain self-care tips, positive quotes and leaflets for mental health support.

Though the campaign began in Harrogate, it soon evolved. To date, the volunteers have sent out 1,434 shoe-boxes. Each toolkit can be specially tailored to the recipient’s preferences, including their favourite colour and activities.

Distraction techniques include origami

Megan believed that when we’re very distressed, it’s difficult to think rationally and decide how to help ourselves. It can therefore be useful to collect new ‘tools’ and keep them in an emergency bag or box in a prominent and handy place. Then, when you feel overwhelmed, you can easily find something that will help you cope.

Sadly, Megan passed away in February. Her friends and family are continuing the project and upholding Megan’s vision: to help people who are battling against mental illness and support the recovery process.

We love the project and were delighted to create a pair of cards to be included in the shoe-boxes. Designed by Katherine Hartley, written by Adam Yare and overseen by Kerrie Starr, the cards highlight the importance of self-care.

3,000 pairs of these cards will be placed in the shoe-boxes to help motivate those struggling with their mental wellbeing. They can be kept by the recipient or sent to someone in need of a pick-me-up. We hope the cards can make a genuine difference in creating a more emotionally-connected world.

Creating Crafts for the Project

In an interactive session led by Joanne, Hallmarkers created items for the recovery shoe-boxes. These included origami, bags of pearl jelly, and stress relief balloons.

Stress relief balloons filled with couscous

Though the items were easy (and fun) to make, they can make a big impact on someone’s mindset.

As well as providing a coping technique for others, crafting can improve your own mental wellbeing. A study by Otaga University showed that after engaging in crafty activities – such as knitting and drawing – people felt happier and calmer, and had more energy the following day.

Uplifting quotes are included in the kits

It was incredibly inspiring to hear Joanne talk about Megan’s dedication to the project. And the crafting session was so popular, we’re already looking into more ways we can support the campaign.

Get Involved

Click the link below to find out how you can get involved with this fantastic project.