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“I want to take him round in my heart” – runner to take part in London Marathon for Suffolk Mind in memory of her partner

A Suffolk woman, who lost her partner to suicide last year, will be running the Virgin London Marathon in his memory in April to fundraise for Suffolk Mind.

Natasha Miles tragically lost her partner Nick in May 2019 after what she now knows to be a long battle with mental illness. She applied for the marathon place that Suffolk Mind had secured through a lottery process.

Natasha said: “After tragically losing Nick, I felt passionate about raising awareness of mental health.

“My life will never be the same, but if I can help others in any way, I am determined to do so. Many of us have suffered varying degrees of mental ill health in our own lives, but we should not feel embarrassed or anxious about reaching out for support.

“Suffolk Mind is an amazing charity, that works extremely hard to help the community in all aspects of mental health and wellbeing and I am so pleased to support them.”

Natasha’s family and friends will be willing her on throughout the 26.2 miles on Sunday 26th April 2020. She has started her training already and will be running on the day with her friend.

Natasha continued: “For sure, doing the London Marathon is going to be extremely emotional – I miss Nick every single day. But to possibly achieve something that we both had talked about doing together, will mean the world to me. I know it’s what he would want me to do as I was always setting us new challenges.

“It is part of my own healing process, to carry his memory with me throughout my life in a very positive way and on the day of the London Marathon. I want to take him round in my heart”

Community Fundraising Coordinator at Suffolk Mind, Lizzy Tuthill said: “Natasha is a fantastic advocate for Suffolk Mind and we are so pleased she will be running the London Marathon for us.

“We want to make Suffolk the best place in the world for talking about and taking care of mental health, and with the help of people like Natasha, we hope to achieve that mission”.

You can sponsor Natasha here.

Author: Kristina Brinkley
Posted on: 7th January 2020

Woman who lost her husband to suicide raises money for Suffolk Mind through running race in his memory

A Felixstowe woman who lost her husband to suicide has raised £1,000 for independent mental health charity Suffolk Mind through a running race named in his memory.

Annabel Bennett is part of the Felixstowe Road Runners which has organised the Richard Bennett Felixstowe Coastal race for the past six years. It was renamed from the Felixstowe Coastal Race in memory of Richard after he took his own life in December 2013 when he was 56-years-old.

Annabel said “Richard and I were both part of the Felixstowe Road Runners – he was a really good runner himself. He always encouraged people and supported them with their hobby, he was very well thought of at the club. That’s why the group decided it would be a great tribute to name the run after him.”

“On race day, when I’d finished talking about Richard there was a massive clap. People wanted to be part of the race because they knew Richard”.

The race, which was held on Sunday 15th September 2019, was very popular, with the 500 spaces being filled within 24 hours. Money raised from the registrations was given to Suffolk Mind this year.

Annabel continued: “Suffolk Mind does such wonderful work for mental health, and ever since the race has been named after Richard, we have supported them, especially this year.

“Richard suffered from depression for many years and was ashamed of his illness. He didn’t talk freely about it with many people and that’s why I am keen to raise awareness. The warning signs were there before Richard took his own life, but it was still such a shock. I think it’s so important to take notice of the people around you, your colleagues, family and friends.”

Community Fundraising Coordinator at Suffolk Mind, Lizzy Tuthill said: “We are so grateful to Annabel and the Felixstowe Road Runners for raising money and awareness for Suffolk Mind. We were so pleased to be part of the fantastic event. Money such as this helps us in our mission of making Suffolk the best place in the world for talking about and taking care of mental health”.

Author: Kristina Brinkley
Posted on: 18th December 2019

Suffolk Mind service for people with a Borderline Personality Disorder doubles in size

Independent mental health charity, Suffolk Mind, has expanded its innovative service for people with a Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), to help a hundred more people a year across Suffolk. 

Waves is funded directly by the NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk and NHS West Suffolk clinical commissioning groups (the CCGs) and is for people with a diagnosis or traits of Borderline Personality Disorder.

The service helps build confidence and self-esteem by providing a safe and supportive environment for people to learn new skills. It also helps to make positive connections and achieve personal goals by helping people maintain their own mental wellbeing.

Jodie Goolding, from Ipswich, was a client with Waves from May 2018 to May 2019:  “I joined Waves to help regulate my emotions and find support from people who have the same diagnosis as me. Throughout the year, I learnt life skills and methods to help me cope in a crisis.

During her time at Waves, Jodie also volunteered for Suffolk Mind. She has now moved on to university: “Waves was the start of my recovery and it has helped me gain confidence and open up about my past”.

Waves had previously been running weekly sessions in Bury St Edmunds and Ipswich but will now be operating two further days in Ipswich as well as opening new groups in Felixstowe and Haverhill. 160 people a year will now be helped, compared to the 60 being seen previously each year.

Helen Shenton, Waves Manager, said: “It’s fantastic that we’ve received this funding from the CCGs to more than double the Waves service.

“It’s an innovative service that is much needed by the community of Suffolk. Extra funding means the service becomes more accessible to people in different areas, as well as reducing our current waiting list by half.

“This is a great opportunity to increase understanding and awareness of Borderline Personality Disorder and to continue to support the mental wellbeing of Suffolk residents.”

Dr Rosalind Tandy, a GP in Bury St Edmunds and mental health lead for NHS West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We know that there has been a positive and meaningful impact on those who have participated in the weekly sessions. It therefore is logical to expand the service further so that even more people can benefit.

“Waves offers people the opportunity to become more confident, happy and fulfilled individuals and I am pleased that the CCGs are able to support its expansion through the good work of Suffolk Mind.”

Personality disorders are mental health conditions which affect people in some of the following ways:

  • Being easily overwhelmed by strong emotions such as distress, anxiety, anger or feelings of low self-esteem
  • Avoiding other people and feeling a lack of emotional connection with others
  • Seeking control over strong emotions through self-harm (for example, abusing drugs and alcohol, or taking overdoses) or, in rare cases, threatening other people
  • Becoming very attached to someone in a short space of time, before ‘pushing’ them away before they can be let down

Suffolk County Council estimates* around 84,000 people in Suffolk “have enough traits of personality disorder to justify further investigation.”

Jon Neal, chief executive of Suffolk Mind, said: “It’s great that the NHS has funded the expansion of this effective and popular service as part of the review of mental health services undertaken over the last 18 months. We hope to be able to expand further in future years to meet the need that’s been identified across the county.”

If you have a diagnosis of or traits of a Borderline Personality Disorder you can self-refer for the Waves service here.

Author: Kristina Brinkley
Posted on: 16th December 2019

The Suffolk Mind GreenCare project to celebrate the festivities by making a Christmas feast in a shed on their allotment

We may think making Christmas dinner in the comfort of our own home is difficult, well imagine preparing a Christmas feast in a shed on an allotment? That’s what the Suffolk Mind GreenCare service is doing to celebrate the festivities. 

Staff, volunteers and service users at the Hadleigh allotment project make their festive fry-up annually and this year they are holding their mini Christmas day on Friday 13th December 2019.

Sarah Manton-Roseblade, GreenCare Manager said: “We always like to celebrate Christmas at the Hadleigh allotment project and what better way than to make a delicious festive fry-up. We’ll be cooking the famous pigs in blankets, brussels sprouts, carrots, eggs and fried potatoes, and for dessert there will be mince pies. It’s great to come together to celebrate the Christmas season with nice food and a good chat”.

The Suffolk Mind GreenCare project is made up of four allotments across Suffolk (Hadleigh, Haverhill, Bury St Edmunds and Ipswich). Each site offers people the opportunity to learn about gardening and contribute to the creation of a thriving growing space that benefits everyone. People can also make new friends and get support from other group members.

Sarah Manton-Roseblade continues: “Being on an allotment is a great way to meet your physical and emotional needs; people meet others and become part of a community, they achieve something new and it enables them to have some meaning and purpose in their life whilst gently increasing their activity levels also.”

You can self-refer to the GreenCare project or become a volunteer with us, more details here.

Author: Kristina Brinkley
Posted on: 10th December 2019

Suffolk Mind expands service to help people with mental health issues gain or retain employment

Suffolk Mind has expanded its Suffolk Work Well (SWW) service to help more people to gain or retain employment.

SWW launched in Felixstowe and Ipswich in March 2019 but will now also operate from Saxmundham. To celebrate the launch, we’re hosting a Suffolk’s Needs Met session on Monday 25th November for local interested parties including health professionals, local business HR representatives, an East Suffolk Council representative and Action Community Trust Connect 4 Health staff.

Suffolk Work Well is a free service providing back-to-work support, one-to-one sessions with a dedicated Case Worker and better in-work support through a Personal Wellbeing Plan. The programme is tailored to meet the needs and aspirations of the individual and enables people to understand their emotional needs in order to stay well.

Almost one in three people have experienced mental health problems while in employment, and mental ill-health is the leading cause of sickness absence in the UK. (1)

Tony Wooderson, Suffolk Work Well Co-ordinator, said: “The Suffolk Work Well service was originally set up following a grant from the Big Lottery fund in Ipswich and Felixstowe. However, a need for the service was identified in Saxmundham and the surrounding areas so we successfully sought further funding from the Local Enterprise Partnership to expand.

“So far we have helped in excess of 60 people, most of whom have reported improved wellbeing enabling them to gain employment, access courses or retain their employment.

“Suffolk Work Well is a special service which supports the client even once they gain employment and where appropriate liaise with employers to facilitate workplace wellbeing too. We all have emotional needs that must be met in order to avoid stress and stay mentally well. Going to work is an effective way of meeting needs for achievement, status, community and attention – as long as the workplace environment is a good one.

“By helping people to gain and retain employment, we are helping them to meet their emotional needs and, hopefully, stay well.”

To self-refer or for more information click here. Your Jobcentre, your HR Team, Health Professional,  Support Worker, Care Coordinator or Psychiatrist who also refer and/or email the service suffolkworkwell@suffolkmind.org.uk to gain further information and advice.

Author: Kristina Brinkley
Posted on: 22nd November 2019

Vital out-of-hours helpline expands to help more people with their mental health

Independent mental health charity Suffolk Mind has expanded its support line service, Suffolk Night Owls (SNO), to 7 nights a week, thanks to funding from the NHS Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

SNO is a telephone, text and email service which currently operates on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights from 7pm to 1am. Due to increased demand on the service, leading to funding from the NHS, it will now run every night of the week.

SNO is available in Suffolk to people with complex emotional needs, including those with a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) or who present with behaviours typical of such conditions. Support line workers listen to clients in a non-judgemental way to support those who need a chat or are in crisis. The service is different to other helpline, like The Samaritans, in that all of our clients are pre-registered, enabling us to offer a personalised and tailored service to individuals who are seeking support in times of need. Suffolk Night Owls manages the service with strict boundaries in place in order to support and safeguard both those using the service and those working for it.

The SNO team take more than 4,500 calls, texts and emails a year and that figure is now expected to nearly double.

Becky Attwater, Deputy Manager of SNO said: “We’re so pleased to have received this funding from the NHS to support people in Suffolk during a time of day when other services are not running and people feel alone or are struggling with there own mental health difficulties.

“Suffolk Night Owls gives people an opportunity to talk about their feelings and daily struggles, providing a safe space for people to just be themselves in a non-judgemental environment  where they are heard and, where needed, offered advice and signposting.”

In an evaluation by Suffolk County Council, someone who uses the service gave the team this feedback: “Since using Suffolk Night Owls I have had no need to seek any other support. Not only are they there when I’m feeling suicidal, I can talk with them as a safety mechanism. This means if I am experiencing a really bad day, instead of doing what comes naturally by self-harming or self-medicating, I know I can speak to someone”

Jon Neal, chief executive of Suffolk Mind, added: “The review of mental health services in Suffolk identified the need to expand Suffolk Night Owls. We are grateful to them for increasing our funding to allow us to provide this much valued service seven nights a week.

“We want to help as many people as possible to look after themselves and those around them. We’re aiming to prevent periods of serious mental ill health as much as possible, so that the stretched resources of the NHS can be there when people need them most.”

You can access the SNO service by self-referring here.

Author: Kristina Brinkley
Posted on: 21st October 2019

Suffolk Mind officially launches programme to help prevent mental ill health in primary school children

On World Mental Health Day (Thursday 10th October 2019), Suffolk Mind has officially launched a one-of-a kind-programme to help prevent mental ill health in Suffolk primary school children.

The independent mental health charity hosted an EARLY (Emotional Awareness and Resilience Learnt Young) Minds session with St Helen’s Primary School at Quay Place, Ipswich on Thursday 10th October between 10am and 11.30am.

According to major new research conducted by Mind, three in five young people (11-19 years of age) have either experienced a mental health problem themselves, or are close to someone who has and half of all mental health problems have been established by the age of 14, rising to 75% by the age of 24.

Suffolk Mind wants to teach young people (from Year 1 upwards), their teachers, parents and carers about their emotional needs and how to improve their wellbeing. The charity hopes this approach will prevent mental ill health from occurring in the future.

Jon Neal, Chief Executive of Suffolk Mind said, “EARLY Minds is part of a whole school approach which is different to others in that it teaches people how to prevent mental ill health, moving beyond teaching them to spot the signs of people already unwell.

“Current Government plans and campaigns simply deal with the symptoms of unmet emotional needs, rather than working on the causes of mental ill health.

“By focusing so much attention on things like Mental Health First Aid, they are ignoring the real issues. The pressure we are putting on our children and young people is impacting their needs for security, control and respect. And the prevalence and reliance upon screens is harming their needs for attention and achievement.”

Suffolk Mind has been piloting the project for around two years, working with schools such as Laureate Community Academy, Saxmundham Primary and Sidegate Lane Primary.

Charlie Green, the lead trainer on the Early Minds project at Suffolk Mind said: “This programme educates and inspires children by increasing their understanding of emotional wellbeing as well as teaching techniques, such as dragon breathing, to be able to calm strong emotions, think clearly and empathise with others. They’ll learn skills that they can take home and teach their families, through story telling, working in small groups and group discussions. The sessions are interactive, thought provoking and enjoyable for the children.”


Author: Kristina Brinkley
Posted on: 14th October 2019

Suffolk Mind hosts event to help people get back into work

Suffolk Mind is hosting an event for people looking for support and guidance to get themselves back into the workplace.

The free Return to Work event is being held at Quay Place, Ipswich on Wednesday 25 September, 10am – 3pm. There will be confidence workshops, CV and interview advice from recruitment experts polkadotfrog, plus workshops from Suffolk Mind explaining how people can keep themselves mentally well by meeting their emotional needs.

Chief Executive of Suffolk Mind, Jon Neal said: “We all have mental health, and we all have the same emotional needs that must be met in order to stay well and not stressed. Work, or volunteering, can provide opportunities to meet all sorts of needs like Meaning and Purpose, Achievement, Community and Status, for example.

“Sometimes it can be a very stressful experience to even apply for a new job, let alone attend an interview, perhaps for the first time in many years, or start a new role. This is because we’re not fully in control of what will happen, and we can get anxious about an unknown or unfamiliar environment.

“We want to offer as much guidance and assistance as possible to people in Suffolk who are looking to get back to work.”

We will be offering people the chance to pick up a piece of clothing from our pre-loved rail for their interviews and working life with a stylist on hand to help you chose the right outfit.

It’s also an opportunity to meet the Suffolk Mind volunteering team.

Volunteer Manager, Corrina Hanley said: “If you’re not quite ready to jump straight back into the workplace, volunteering is an excellent way of developing your confidence and gaining experience to help you in the future. Many of our volunteers who have come to join the team at Suffolk Mind have moved on to gain employment.

“We have many volunteering opportunities at Suffolk Mind from administration roles to support staff and Christmas Elves. There are more details on our website.”

Anyone can come along to the Return to Work event at Quay Place. Our workshops are free to attend but booking is recommended. To book your place and for more details click here.

Author: Kristina Brinkley
Posted on: 23rd September 2019

Suffolk Mind opens its doors to raise awareness and money for its GreenCare project

Suffolk Mind is opening its doors at its base in Bury St Edmunds (Oriental House, 5 St Andrews Street North) on Saturday 21st September between 10am and 1pm to raise awareness and money for its vital GreenCare project.

GreenCare is a service which runs four allotment projects across Suffolk, including in Bury St Edmunds, Ipswich, Haverhill and Hadleigh. They are places where people can come together as a group to improve their physical and mental health by gently increasing their activity levels, working alongside others.

Greencare Manager, Sarah Manton-Roseblade said: “For many of our participants this may be the only day of the week where they meet with others. Coming to our allotments gives people a sense of meaning and purpose, achievement and enables them to feel part of a community. They can grow produce, learn more about gardening and just enjoy a cup of tea.

“Anyone can self-refer for the GreenCare service, just visit our website.

In feedback received from a Suffolk Mind evaluation, a participant said: “GreenCare has allowed me to practice socialising and building skills in anticipation of returning to work at some point. It is a safe space within which I am rebuilding my confidence to help me improve working skills in the future. I do not know of any other service that could provide me with such a safe space.”

Our GreenCare project is one of the hardest to source funding for; every year we need to raise £12,000 in order to provide a professional and safe environment that participants can benefit from. That’s why we are hosting a ‘Doors Open Day’ at our office in Bury St Edmunds on Saturday 21st September between 10am and 1pm. It’s also a chance to showcase the wider work of Suffolk Mind.

Join us for:

  • A plant sale with produce from our allotments
  • Children’s fun activities
  • An art display by our art group
  • A community art project
  • A raffle with excellent prizes
  • Free tea, coffee and cake
  • And learn more about what we do and why we do it!

There’s no need to book to attend the ‘Doors Open Day’. It is being held at Oriental House, 5 St Andrews Street North, Bury St Edmunds, IP33 1TZ.

Author: Kristina Brinkley
Posted on: 18th September 2019

Suffolk Mind to support those struggling with their mental health at an event on World Suicide Prevention Day

Suffolk Mind is hosting a free event on World Suicide Prevention Day for people and their families, friends and co-workers to get help – from the first sign of mental ill health through to crisis point.

The drop-in event  on Tuesday 10th September is at Quay Place in Ipswich. A number of key agencies will be in attendance including The Samaritans, 4YP (Suffolk Youth Project), Julian Support and Public Health Suffolk. There will also be a number of workshops people can attend including ‘An Introduction to Emotional Needs and Resources’, ‘Talking about bereavement’ and ‘Link between domestic abuse and suicide’.

The World Health Organisation estimates that over 800,000 people take their own life each year – that’s one person every 40 seconds. In Suffolk, approximately one person takes their own life every week.

The Chief Executive of Suffolk Mind, Jon Neal said: “This is the second year we are hosting an event on World Suicide Prevention Day, as we want to continue to give invaluable support to those who need it.

“Among other things, we are offering people the chance to learn more about their emotional needs and how to meet them to stay mentally well. The loss of emotional connection is often a big risk factor for suicide; perhaps losing a relationship in a break-up or bereavement. If a person seems withdrawn socially, it may be an early indicator that they are experiencing depression, a symptom of which can be suicidal thoughts.”

The event is free to attend and runs between 10.30am and 3.30pm on Tuesday 10th September. Anyone can drop-in for support, however, prior booking on workshops is recommended here.

Author: Kristina Brinkley
Posted on: 6th September 2019

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