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Budding 7-year-old DJ uses her new lockdown skill to raise hundreds of pounds for Suffolk Mind

Amelie Thurman from Felixstowe has raised more than £450 for local mental health charity, Suffolk Mind by DJing her own virtual ‘Glastonbury’ show.

Amelie used her lockdown time to learn the new skill of DJing and wanted to use it to raise money for charity.

The 7-year-old held her show online on Saturday 27th June 2020. On the day people bought virtual drinks for the festival by donating through JustGiving and Amelie pinned their drinks to a board behind her during her set.

Amelie’s original fundraising target was £100 which she has gone above and beyond.

Amelie said: “I love all the different types of music there is and dancing is my favourite thing to do! I can’t believe how much money we raised and I really hope it helps the charity.”

Amelie’s mum Lucy, said “We told her about the amazing work that Suffolk Mind were doing to support people through the Coronavirus and she decided that was the charity for her!

“Amelie’s Stepdad, Steve has been amazingly patient and creative whilst teaching Amelie how to DJ and it’s been a lovely opportunity for them to bond over music.”

Lizzy Tuthill, Community Fundraising Coordinator at Suffolk Mind said: “Amelie is just fantastic, and we can’t thank her enough for her support. Holding a virtual music show for people to tune in to is a great way to lift peoples’ spirits whilst also raising money for Suffolk Mind.

“Fundraising such as this helps Suffolk Mind in our mission of making Suffolk the best place in the world for talking about and taking care of mental health.”

You can still support Amelie by sponsoring her here.

Author: Kristina Brinkley
Posted on: 1st July 2020

Suffolk Mind will not reopen Quay Place after lockdown restrictions end

The board of trustees and leadership team of mental health charity, Suffolk Mind, has taken the tough decision to close Quay Place heritage and wellbeing centre, in Ipswich.

The building was opened in November 2016 following an eight-year project with the Churches Conservation Trust to restore St Mary at the Quay church.

The project was funded mainly by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, but has been costly to run since its opening. A challenging location in the middle of the Star Lane one-way system, the building has grown income at more than 20% each year, but not quickly enough to cover the expensive running costs including maintenance of a medieval church, utility bills and staffing.

Once the remainder of the Lottery grant had been spent, Suffolk Mind was about to start subsidising the building out of its own income and reserves. Due to the impact of Coronavirus and the government lockdown, the board felt this was a subsidy the charity could no longer afford.

Jon Neal, chief executive of Suffolk Mind, said: “It’s really sad to have to make a decision like this. Quay Place has been part of Suffolk Mind for many years now, and it holds a special place in the hearts of many staff, volunteers and people who visited.

“We’re proud of what we’ve achieved, but also sad that we haven’t been able to get the costs and income to a place where we can keep Quay Place open.

“Suffolk Mind is, first and foremost, a mental health charity. We have a responsibility to help as many people as we can in a way that is financially viable and sustainable and that makes the biggest difference.”

Author: Jon Neal
Posted on: 15th June 2020

Suffolk Mind joins the #SuffolkSaysThanks initiative to help improve mental health as research shows two-fifths of people in Suffolk feel unappreciated

Independent mental health charity, Suffolk Mind have joined forces with other charities, along with the NHS and local councils to encourage the people of Suffolk to say thank you to each other for the small things in life.

The #SuffolkSaysThanks initiative is a community campaign launched as part of a wider project to support the mental health of the Suffolk community.

The new Suffolk Says Thanks website provides some fun, simple ways to enable every Suffolk resident to express their gratitude to other people in their lives. It includes posters, social media graphics and letter templates to recognise the brilliant work that family, friends, neighbours, postal workers, local delivery drivers, teachers and refuse collectors do for the community.

You can access the new website here.

Jon Neal, CEO of Suffolk Mind said: “In our research carried out to rate how well the community of Suffolk is dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, we found that 43% of people are not meeting their emotional need for status. This means they don’t feel valued or appreciated for the contribution they are making to the world.

“Status is important for good mental health, and so we wanted to join the #SuffolkSaysThanks campaign to encourage people to recognise the small acts of kindness in their lives – however large or small.

“Why not write a letter to a friend just to check their ok and to thank them for being there for you in the past? Or create a poster for your kids to thank them for not falling out with each other today. Or create a social media post to thank your local school for staying in touch so well during lock down.

“This campaign is all about thanking those who don’t often get thanked.”

Author: Kristina Brinkley
Posted on: 4th June 2020

Suffolk Mind launches new fundraising campaign to plug £50,000 donations gap

Suffolk Mind has launched a new video fundraising campaign during Mental Health Awareness Week (18th -24th May) having missed out on around £50,000 of anticipated donations due to the Coronavirus pandemic so far.

The independent mental health charity, that receives no direct funding from the national Mind charity, has released a video featuring its CEO, Jon Neal, highlighting the impact of the lockdown, the support they are continuing to provide and how people can support the charity.

Since the coronavirus outbreak, vital fundraising events, including the London Marathon, Great East Swim and Orwell Challenge, have been cancelled. Events such as these provide important income to the charity that enables new services to be developed, helping more people across Suffolk, especially at such an important time like this.

Suffolk Mind predict that if fundraising events continue to be cancelled, they will lose more than £150,000 in donations this year.

Jon Neal, CEO of Suffolk Mind, said: “We have adapted our services and provided more resources over the past two months to ensure those who need it are continuing to receive vital support.

But nobody is running marathons, climbing mountains or hosting bake sales at the moment. So we are asking for the support of the Suffolk community to enable us to continue providing as much support as possible, both now and for many more years into the future when we’ll be needed even more.”

Suffolk Mind has recently launched a new service to provide counselling to our fantastic frontline NHS staff and care workers, over 70’s support and counselling for men.

Lizzy Tuthill, Community Fundraising Coordinator at Suffolk Mind said: “Donations and support are especially important right now to help us maintain and keep developing these services in response to the changing needs of our community. Taking on a home fundraising challenge or making an online donation will help us support Suffolk people, through this challenging period and beyond.

Donate to support Suffolk Mind today

Author: Kristina Brinkley
Posted on: 22nd May 2020

More than half of Suffolk residents are not getting good sleep during the COVID-19 pandemic

During Mental Health Awareness Week (18th May – 24th May) independent mental health charity, Suffolk Mind has released the results of a survey looking at the impact the coronavirus pandemic on mental health.

The research suggests 53% of us are not feeling rested after sleep. Groups who are most affected are:

  • 87% of under 25’s
  • 85% of those in full time work
  • 78% of people unable to work

Sleep is key to emotional wellbeing and we all need the right amount and quality in a 24 hour period – about eight hours for the average adult, and less as we get older.

Naomi Simons, Research and Evaluation Manager said: “Sleep is often the first thing to go when someone is struggling with their mental health. Getting the right balance between dream sleep and other types of sleep, including deep recuperative sleep, can be affected by how well you are meeting other key emotional needs.

“Our research shows nearly two-fifths of people are not meeting their need for meaning and purpose at the moment. That could be due to losing work or being furloughed, which could lead to worry and in turn, poor quality sleep. Many people are also struggling to meet needs for community, status and receiving attention.”

Suffolk Mind has put the following five top tips together to help you get a better night’s sleep:

  • Work on addressing unmet emotional needs – so that there is less to worry about! Use the Emotional Needs Audit here.
  • Have regular times for going to bed and getting up – and stick to them
  • Cut down on caffeine in the second half of the day
  • Avoid watching TV or internet surfing in the two hours before we go to bed
  • Use blackout blinds and/or eye masks to block out the light

The research has been conducted by Suffolk Mind to help inform the county’s response to Coronavirus. Other findings include:

  • 53% of people are not meeting their emotional need for community
  • 43% are not meeting their need for status
  • 38% don’t feel they receive enough attention

Jon Neal, CEO of Suffolk Mind said: “It’s really important we capture this data, so we can work on resources and services to help people with their own mental health – and not just now, but in the future when things change again.

“It is a difficult time for many at the moment, so we have been creating online blogs, videos and activities for children and adults to encourage them to meet their own emotional needs.”

“We have also launched new services including counselling for our vital NHS and care workers, support for over 70s and men.”

To access our online resources, click here. You can also still take part in the Emotional Needs and Resources survey here.

Author: Kristina Brinkley
Posted on: 18th May 2020

Four Suffolk charities work together on campaign to keep fundraising within the county

Suffolk Mind, Home Start in Suffolk, Survivors in Transition and 4YP have come together to create a campaign video to encourage fundraising to stay in Suffolk. Figures from Suffolk Community Foundation show an estimated 78% of funds raised in Suffolk leave the county to support large national and international charities, with very little of it coming back[1]. 

Click here to view the video.

A light-hearted video with the support of Home-Start in Suffolk Patron Anthony Horowitz OBE, has been created to highlight how each of the four local charities are supporting the community of Suffolk during the COVID-19 pandemic. They have all adapted services to ensure those who need it are continuing to receive vital support, while also creating new services to meet changing demand.

The four charities work with some of the most vulnerable people in the county: Suffolk Mind is an independent mental health charity offering support services to help the mental wellbeing of adults, families and children; Home Start in Suffolk offers vital support to struggling families; Survivors in Transition supports those in who have experienced any form of sexual abuse in their childhood; and 4YP improves the social, emotional, and physical health and wellbeing of young people in Suffolk.

Lizzy Tuthill, Community Fundraising Coordinator at Suffolk Mind said: “We are so pleased to have this opportunity to work with other local charities to raise awareness and inform our community about what we all do and how we can come together to help support people in Suffolk. At Suffolk Mind, we are adapting and developing new services for those in our county, including our fantastic frontline NHS staff who now have access to counselling and online support from our expert team. Donations and support are especially important right now to help us maintain and keep developing these services in response to the changing needs of our community. Taking on a home fundraising challenge or making an online donation will help us support Suffolk people, through this challenging period and beyond.”

Alison Watson, Marketing and Fundraising Manager at Home Start in Suffolk said “We are so pleased to have been part of this collaboration and to show the Suffolk community how our charities are working together to support our local community.  At Home-Start in Suffolk we are continuing to support vulnerable families across the county with regular telephone and video calls from our amazing team of volunteers.  Whilst physical distancing is important at this time, emotional support is vital and staying connected is hugely important for our supported families’ emotional well-being. During this uncertain time our organisations need the support of Suffolk people more than ever and any donations will help us to continue to support our Suffolk Community now and in the future.”

Georgia Memory, Business and Marketing Coordinator at 4YP said: “Collaborating with three other fantastic local charities has been great to raise awareness and inform Suffolk that we are still here to listen, support and help where it is needed. 4YP are adapting and developing as many services as possible to ensure vulnerable young people in Suffolk are not forgotten about, which is why we appreciate the community of Suffolk donating to ensure Suffolk people get the support they need.”

Fiona Ellis, Co-Founder & CEO at Survivors in Transition said: “SiT are so pleased to be joining these other amazing Suffolk charities in both reassuring the public that we’re still here, still open and still supporting our respective service users and also to encourage Suffolk residents to think local when donating to a charity. We’ve got you – but we need you to support us too and you can do this by donating to one of our amazing charities #supportussuffolk”

Author: Kristina Brinkley
Posted on: 27th April 2020

New service offers NHS Staff mental health support during the Coronavirus pandemic

A new mental health service has been launched, offering telephone support to all NHS and care staff in Suffolk and North East Essex during the Coronavirus outbreak.

Suffolk and North East Essex Clinical Commissioning Groups together with independent mental health charities Suffolk Mind and Mid and North East Essex Mind, have come together to open this dedicated telephone support service. The teams will offer help and practical solutions during this challenging period. Counselling will also be offered to those who need extra support through Suffolk or Mid and North East Essex Minds depending on their location.

Staff will be able to access the service whether they are based in a hospital, GP surgery or in the community setting, as well as those who work in care, voluntary sector organisations and Hospices within Suffolk and North East Essex.

Suffolk Mind have also been commissioned to provide online support to NHS and care staff during the pandemic. Qualified emotional needs trainers will be hosting interactive group sessions using the Emotional Needs and Resources model. ‘Meeting Emotional Needs in Practice’ and ‘Keeping Calm (Mindful Breathing)’ sessions will support people to enable them to maintain their own emotional health by reducing stress.

Jon Neal, Chief Executive of Suffolk Mind said: “We’re proud and honoured to be in a position to support NHS workers in our area – whether frontline or those, like many of us, getting to grips with a new way of working.

“Whatever role people are playing in the health system, they are crucial to tackling the pandemic, keeping people safe, and ensuring we provide the best care possible to those who need it.

“At Suffolk Mind we will do all we can to enable people to be aware of their emotional needs and how to get them met in order to avoid stress.”

Lisa Llewelyn, Director of Workforce for the Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care System said ‘We know our health and care staff are providing tremendous support, not just to the patients they’re treating, but to each other, across the health service. As the pandemic continues, our workforce will face new and growing challenges on a daily basis, and it’s therefore more important than ever that all our NHS and Care staff are able to access the support service we have developed with our partners Mind, to help them manage their wellbeing, in a way that suits their needs.

Author: Kristina Brinkley
Posted on: 21st April 2020

Suffolk Mind releases helpful resources to support the mental health of young people across the county

The independent mental health charity, Suffolk Mind have released a number of resources offering help and advice to parents, carers and children to encourage mental wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Staff in the EARLY (Emotional Awareness and Resilience Learnt Young) Minds team have created videos, blogs and activities to help children to stay well by meeting their emotional needs whilst at home.

Due to school closures, the Suffolk Mind EARLY Minds programme is currently unable to run. This programme is for primary schools and teaches children, teachers and parents about emotional needs and how to improve wellbeing. Our team wants to continue offering this help through a number of resources on our website.

The Children and Young People’s Facilitator at Suffolk Mind, Louise Harris said: “As a former primary school teacher and mum myself, I understand the pressures that parents are currently feeling whilst trying to manage finances, run a home, work and be a teacher for your children. That is why at Suffolk Mind, we thought it was important to create useful resources to help the whole family to stay mentally well by meeting emotional needs. This keeps stress levels low and allows our immune system to fight back and work to promote recovery from illness.

“In my blog, I have suggested a number of ways you can do this: allow time and space for each other so you can each have your privacy; with your child’s help, create a day-to-day structure for them so they have a sense of control and security; take regular breaks from work to give your child attention throughout the day and take part in an activity of their choice; set up video calls with family members and friends to help your children feel part of a community.”

You can access this blog and further resources here.

Author: Kristina Brinkley
Posted on: 21st April 2020

Suffolk Mind gardening expert offers advice to help people get outdoors to help their mental health

Our Suffolk Mind gardening expert is encouraging people to get out in the garden or grow produce in their own homes to help their mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sarah Manton-Roseblade is the manager of the GreenCare service which 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.

This service is currently unable to run, so we are encouraging people to get growing at home instead.

Sarah said: “Being out in the garden or growing things in your own home is a great way to meet your physical and emotional needs. It enables you to achieve something new, gives you some meaning and purpose and gently increases your activity levels too.”

Here are some handy ideas and tips to help you:

  • It is sunflower season – from May you can plant Sunflower seeds directly in the ground where you want them to grow. If you don’t have a garden, from mid-April seeds can be planted in a pot and left by the windowsill. Keep them watered and as they start to grow make sure you use a stick to support them.
  • Grow your own veg – it’s a great time to start growing your own vegetables. Easy vegetables to grow are things like lettuce, carrots, sugar snap peas and dwarf French beans as they don’t take up too much space in the garden. You can also grow salad leaves and pea shoots in a pot on your windowsill.
  • Herbs grow well on the windowsill – things like coriander and basil (when it’s a little warmer) are great herbs to start with.
  • Here are some helpful websites’ to help you grow your own produce: www.gardenorganic.org.uk and www.rhs.org.uk.

Suffolk Mind have also put together a number of resources to help people with their mental health whilst at home. Click here for more details.

Author: Kristina Brinkley
Posted on: 7th April 2020

COVID-19 virus precautions at Suffolk Mind

Update: Tuesday 12th May 2020

A message from our CEO, Jon Neal to people who use our services, our supporters, staff and volunteers…

I just wanted to respond to the statement from the Prime Minister on Sunday. Basically nothing has really changed as far as Suffolk Mind is concerned.

Quay Place remains closed for the foreseeable future.

We’re still delivering supported housing in as safe a way as possible, maintaining physically distancing – and I’m incredibly proud of our support workers, team leaders and managers in those projects.

We’re still protecting the residents of Montrose House, our registered care home, which remains closed to visitors for the moment.

Waves, Evolve Trans, Eating Recovery, Suffolk Work Well and all our groups continue to meet over Zoom or by telephone.

And our workplace wellbeing training continues to be delivered online as well.

For the moment, the changes we made just before lockdown are still with us and I don’t know when they will change.

Over the last seven weeks I’ve been immensely proud of the work of all our staff. I’m particularly pleased that we’ve been able to create new services to free up resource in our local NHS mental health trust, and that we’ve been able to provide NHS workers with counselling and online group support.

There’s still a long way to go, and the most important thing for me is the safety of our staff, volunteers and the people that use our services.

Thank you, as always. And stay safe.


Update: Friday 20th March 2020

A message from our CEO, Jon Neal to people who use our services, our supporters, staff and volunteers…

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we try to change what we do to provide some kind of service to people that need us across Suffolk.

Our supported housing needs to operate pretty much as usual, but with everything else we took the decision to start moving from face-to-face provision, like group work and one-to-ones, to telephone or online support.

We did this before the Government told us to so we could ensure as smooth a process as possible for the people who use our services and to try and maintain a level of support that’s effective, safe and deliverable in the current climate.

We now have three main priorities.

  • Keeping up and effective and safe level of support in our housing projects, including Montrose House, our care home in Ipswich. This means potentially redeploying staff if people start needing to self-isolate
  • Our second priority is to provide some kind of telephone or online support to people that would usually be accessing our services like Waves, Suffolk Night Owls, Eating Recovery, Suffolk Work Well, Evolve Trans, Healthy Minds Counselling. Much of this is in place now, and more will begin over the next few days
  • And thirdly we want to provide as much support as possible to everyone in Suffolk and beyond who are living with changed circumstances – whatever they may be. Whether self-isolating, looking after kids who are out of school, coping with increased demand in health and retail, or just worrying about what the future might hold for you and your business or job

Hopefully starting today, we’ll have a load of resources, videos and tools available to everyone and we’ll update them every day. Keep an eye on our website and social media outlets for more.

Meanwhile, stay safe, stay connected, look after each other and be kind.


How do we meet emotional needs while self-isolating or working from home?

Mental and physical health depends upon meeting emotional needs in healthy ways (see chart below). This keeps stress levels low and allows our immune system to fight back and work to promote recovery from illness. Meeting emotional needs if we are socially isolated is challenging, and even more so if we are concerned about virus infection. What can we do to give ourselves the best chance of meeting needs to stay well? Let’s think through the emotional needs we are all familiar with.  

Security & Control

Taking active steps to control risk of infection clearly supports us to meet emotional needs for security and control. However, given that the future is unpredictable – and even experts have limited information about the virus – we need to take steps to keep ourselves calm in uncertain circumstances. It is natural for our imaginations to seek to solve problems, but with limited information, this can lead to trying to fill in the gaps with unhelpful worrying.

  • Remind yourself of the steps you are taking, keeping a list if it’s helpful. For example, washing your hands before and after and eating; cleaning your door handles regularly; and keeping surfaces clean
  • Remind yourself as often as you need to that you have done all that you can with the information that you have   
  • If you are spending more time at home, create routines to give yourself structure, both if you are working from home, but if not, activities which you enjoy
  • Spend some time remembering times when you have had to be cheerful and optimistic in the face of adversity    

Community, Attention and Emotional Connection

How do we stay connected to the wider community and give ourselves opportunity to share attention and emotional connection?

  • Contact people you know who may be self-isolating by phone, messaging apps or email. Ask them how they are and if they would like to talk either over the phone or with video calling
  • Seek to set up groups with your friends so you can share conversation and positive support. If there are activities you can be both be doing together perhaps share them over video calls   

Privacy – time alone to calm down and reflect

It may seem that the need for privacy would be easy to meet while staying at home. However, if you live in a busy household with children and other relatives this could be difficult. An even bigger challenge to the need for privacy is the risk of spending too much time reading or watching coronavirus articles and videos online or on screens. What can do to meet the need for privacy at home?

  • Agree a space with your family, which people can use to spend alone time free from distractions
  • Limit online and screen time to specific times of the day
  • Only visit sites which are reliable sources of expert government advice. Avoid media outlets and second-hand sources of information which sensationalise. Anything which drives up worry compromises the immune system
  • Spend some time thinking about alternative activities which can keep you occupied – especially activities which you feel confident doing which give you a sense of being in control

Achievement and Meaning & Purpose

We meet our need for achievement through being stretched to learn and overcome challenges. Learning also contributes to meeting the need for meaning & purpose, along with the sense that we are needed by others and that we are contributed to a larger cause than ourselves. Meaning & purpose significantly contribute to resilience when we are faced with difficult situations. What steps can we take to meet these needs when we are self-isolating?    

  • If you are working from home, break the day up with rewarding goals which can be achieved in short spaces of time
  • Time alone might provide you with opportunities to learn which have otherwise been hard to find. Are there activities, hobbies and interests you can spend time doing? Are there books you haven’t had a chance to read? Are there free online courses you can take?
  • Are there people you can support over the phone or on video call to reduce the effects of isolation?
  • Challenges which we share with others can give us a sense of being connected to a bigger cause than ourselves alone. By following agreed expert guidance and supporting each other through a difficult time, we can find a huge sense of shared meaning and purpose which supports our immune system and our mental health and wellbeing.

Bullet-point guide to the emotional needs

Security – Feeling like we have a place that is ours or where we belong. Safe territory that allows us to develop fully. Examples include:

  • Waking up to news reports of company difficulties would be a challenge to feeling safe at work
  • Domestic abuse would be an environmental challenge to need for security at home

Control – Having some autonomy and direction over our lives, being able to make choices. Examples include:

  • Input into targets and objectives at work
  • Being given a challenge and having the freedom to meet it in whatever way an individual or a team feel is right
  • Toddler wanting to put their own shoes on, or feed themselves when weaning “I want to do it!”

Community – Making relationships with others, and being part of something bigger than ourselves. Examples include:

  • Humans are tribal animals and need to feel part of a group – we’ve been organising ourselves into tribes for 350k years to keep ourselves safe from predators
  • Teenagers WhatsApping in the middle of the night are doing so to make sure they’re not excluded from a conversation the next day

Respect/Status – Feeling valued by our peers, teachers, parents…feeling that we matter and our opinions count. Examples include:

  • Getting real, concrete feedback from a line manager or employer
  • Not feeling “fobbed off” or handed over to someone who can’t tackle your problem or answer your question

Privacy – Time to ourselves, away from clients, colleagues, even family, to reflect and consolidate experiences. Examples include:

  • Some people car share, but after a few weeks, start making up excuses to not do it for a couple of days
  • People going from a long commute to a short one sometimes need to get this need met in a different way when it changes

Emotional Connection – Having someone in our lives who accepts us warts and all – whether a parent, partner, pet. Examples include:

  • Someone you can completely be yourself around
  • The sort of person who will turn up at the side of the A14 in the middle of the night for you

Achievement – Being stretched or challenged, mastering something, feeling that you’re competent at a skill. Examples include: 

  • Stretched is no the same as being stressed – we need stretch in the workplace, people need to be challenged and feel they are developing
  • Opportunities to try new things, different ways of working, taking on new learning

Meaning and Purpose – Feeling there’s a point to getting out of bed in the morning – whether looking after someone or something, volunteering, doing a job that makes a difference. Examples include:

  • Seeing the link between your individual role/job and the meaning and purpose of the organisation as a whole
  • E.g, janitor at NASA when JFK was visiting: “What’s your role here?”…”I’m helping to put a man on the moon.”

Attention  –We need to give and receive attention – seeing it as a form of nutrition, in that we can have too much or too little. Examples include:

  • Important to receive the right amount of attention from a line manager – not too much, so that you feel over-scrutinised, but not too little either, so that you feel ignored or under-valued
  • Good example is kids – if they don’t get attention, they will knock something over because negative attention is better than no attention at all
  • E.g office clown, Facebook status updates that are ambiguous and encourage people to ask how they are, etc

Author: Kristina Brinkley
Posted on: 20th March 2020

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