A Suffolk Mind service to help people with mental health issues to gain or retain employment has been extended for a further two years
A Suffolk Mind service to support those with mental health issues to gain or retain their employment will continue to run for a further two years, thanks to funding from the National Lottery.
The independent mental health charity, Suffolk Mind launched Suffolk Work Well (SWW) in March 2019. It was funded to run for two years, however, due to the success and demand for the service, it has now been granted extra funding to continue until 2023.
Since its launch, Suffolk Work Well has supported more than 250 people to gain or retain their employment. The free service provides a supportive back-to-work system, one-to-one support sessions with a dedicated Case Worker and better in-work support through a Personal Wellbeing Plan.
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: “We are so pleased to have received this funding from the National Lottery to continue running this much needed service in Suffolk. When we first launched the service, it was based in Ipswich and Felixstowe, but now with the help of online technology, we have been able to expand our reach to everyone in Suffolk.
“We know that appropriate work, combined with the right support, is good for people’s mental health. With everything that has happened in the last year, we want to ensure people feel supported in the workplace or whilst they are job hunting”.
To self-refer or for more information click here. You can also be referred through your Jobcentre, your HR Team, your GP, Support Worker, Care Coordinator, Psychiatrist or Mental Health Practitioner via our online referral form.
Author: Kristina Brinkley
Posted on: 6th July 2021
Suffolk Mind raises enough money to publish a book about the benefits of exercise on mental health to give to every four-to-five-year-old in Suffolk
Suffolk Mind have confirmed that every reception aged child (four-to-five-years-old) will receive a free storybook in September, teaching them about the benefits of exercise on their mental health.
Independent mental health charity, Suffolk Mind launched a Crowdfunding campaign on World Book Day in March to raise enough money to publish over 8,000 copies of ‘Sammy the Sea Squirt’. With the help of many supporters including Suffolk County Council, the East of England Co-op, Treatt, and the arc in Bury St Edmunds this can now become a reality.
The picture book is based on the character Sammy the Sea Squirt, who moves with ocean friends to look after memory and emotions. Head of Education at Suffolk Mind, Ezra Hewing, has written the story, and a local children’s illustrator has brought the characters to life.
Ezra Hewing said: “We are so grateful to everyone who supported this campaign so we can deliver a very special book to all four-to-five-year-olds in Suffolk during their first year of school.
“We want to ensure that children know the benefits of exercise on their mental health from a young age to help them to learn the skills to be emotionally resilient as they continue to grow into adulthood.”
A number of schools supported the campaign by hosting their own Sammy the Sea Squirt fundraising day on Friday 28th May by dressing up in colourful clothes and taking part in lots of fun, education activities.
Suffolk’s Most Active County Partnership and Public Health Suffolk have also supported the campaign throughout and will be distributing the books to children when they return to school in September.
Cllr Andrew Reid, Cabinet Member for Public Health, Public Protection, & Communities, said: “We are delighted to see this project come to fruition. It’s a really imaginative way of helping children and families understand how important it is for our children’s physical and mental health that they are active from a young age and build strong foundations for being active throughout their lives.
“Hearty congratulations to everyone involved in the successful fundraising campaign and I look forward to seeing the finished version of the book distributed to all reception age children in Suffolk later in the year.”
The Crowdfunding campaign will close at midnight tonight (Friday 11th June 2021).
Author: Kristina Brinkley
Posted on: 11th June 2021
Members of the Suffolk Fire and Rescue service to take part in the Great East Swim in memory of teammate’s brother
Members of the Suffolk Fire and Rescue service will be taking on the Great East Swim on Saturday 19th June 2021 in memory of their Group Manager’s brother, who took his own life in 2016.
Sally Hammond will be joining 10 of her team to swim one mile across Alton Water to raise money for independent mental health charity Suffolk Mind. She will be remembering her brother Carl who had struggled with depression.
Sally said: “I’m supporting Suffolk Mind because one in four blue light workers suffer mental illness at some time in their career and need support which Suffolk Mind offer.
“My brother was a police officer who suffered poor mental health. Part of the reason he didn’t seek the help he needed was due to the stigma attached to his illness.
“It’s important for us to be proactive, have empathy and be more understanding of mental health illnesses which can be very debilitating”.
This will be the 5th Great East Swim Sally and her team have taken part in since 2015.
Lizzy Tuthill, Community Fundraising Coordinator said: “We’re so pleased Sally and her team will be taking part in the Great East Swim for Suffolk Mind. Money raised from events like this goes towards helping us in our mission of making Suffolk the best place in the world to talk about and take care of mental health.”
Suffolk Mind still have free charity places available for either the half or one-mile swims. The event will be following strict covid-secure procedures, ensuring the safety of participants, spectators, and Great Swim crew.
To sign up for one of Suffolk Mind’s charity places, click here.
Author: Kristina Brinkley
Posted on: 7th June 2021
Suffolk Mind launches course for primary school staff to help them support the mental health of their students and themselves
Suffolk Mind have launched a new one-day course for primary school staff to help them to support their students’ mental health as well as their own.
Emotional Wellbeing in the Classroom aims to equip teachers, support assistants and leadership teams with the skills to talk to pupils, other staff, and parents and carers about their wellbeing. The training teaches techniques to support the whole classroom to stay mentally well.
The course includes:
- Mindful breathing
- How movement improves mental wellbeing
- A lesson in emotional needs and resources
- And the neuroscience behind why children may perhaps react differently to the same situation
Attendees will come away from the workshop with a wellbeing class culture action plan.
The course has been coproduced with a teaching focus group post-Covid and addresses the needs and issues that have been raised in classrooms across Suffolk during the pandemic.
Katie Hollis, Children and Young People Coordinator at Suffolk Mind said: “This course comes at a vital time when students and teachers may need some extra support with their mental wellbeing.
“It has been a challenging time for many, especially young people who have had to cope with many changes to their routines in the last year. We want to ensure school staff are equipped to be able to deal with the emotions of stress and worry that some may be feeling due to these challenges”.
Individual places are available on the course, which is being led by mental health experts at Suffolk Mind and takes place over Zoom on Tuesday 22nd June, Tuesday 6th July and Thursday 15th July. There are 12 places per course.
For more details about the course and to book a place, click here.
Author: Kristina Brinkley
Posted on: 26th May 2021
Suffolk Mind marks Mental Health Awareness Week by encouraging you to connect with nature
During Mental Health Awareness Week (Monday 10 May – Sunday 16 May 2021), Suffolk Mind are releasing tips and advice to encourage people to connect with nature to improve mental health.
Suffolk Mind data shows the number of local people at risk of stress and mental ill health has more than doubled since before the coronavirus pandemic, so it is more important than ever to raise awareness of mental health.
More than half of us (55%) are not, on average, meeting our emotional needs – the key to avoiding stress and maintaining good mental health. This is up from 24.2% before the pandemic.
Throughout this week, Suffolk Mind will be encouraging people to plant seeds on their windowsills, make bird feeders, join a nature trail, pledge to take on the 100 Miles for Suffolk Mind challenge, create a bug hotel or join a movement session based around our book character, Sammy the Sea Squirt.
They will also be supporting other activities, organised by partner charities, like the Take 10 reading challenge, and the East Anglian Daily Times Welcome back to Wellbeing online event on 12 May.
Ezra Hewing, Head of Education at Suffolk Mind said: “Mental Health depends on meeting emotional needs which include the needs to share attention, to have privacy, so we can calm down and reflect, and to have meaning and purpose in our lives. We can meet these needs when we connect with nature.
“Getting away from busy lives and demands can be hard when we’re surrounded by screens and distractions. Connecting with nature can give us the privacy to be free to relax. Attention is precious, and giving attention to nature can help us slow down and return to a relaxed state.”
During the Awareness Week, our GreenCare allotment projects will be reopening after pausing in December 2020 due to Covid-19 restrictions. Sarah Manton-Roseblade is the manager: “It’s been around 5 months since we stopped this service to keep people safe, but we are really excited to get back to supporting people in the open space.
“Our four allotments across Suffolk are places where people can feel like they really achieve something; they see the seeds that they plant, grow into beautiful flowers, fruit and vegetables. They also have the chance to chat to other participants and volunteers whilst having a well-earned cup of tea.
“We’re look forward to welcoming anyone to our groups. For more details, visit our website: www.suffolkmind.org.uk/greencare.”
The organisers of the awareness week, the Mental Health Foundation, set the ‘connect with nature’ theme after their research showed that 45% of people reported that being in green spaces has been vital for their mental health during the Covid-19 pandemic.
For tips and advice on how you can connect with nature during Mental Health Awareness Week, click here.
Author: Kristina Brinkley
Posted on: 10th May 2021
People across Suffolk invited to Take 10 to Read!
Children and adults across Suffolk invited to take part in national #Take10toRead challenge at 10am on Monday 10 May, as part of a new literacy campaign created by the National Literacy Trust in partnership with Suffolk County Council.
Schools, businesses and local organisations across Suffolk are invited to drop everything and read for just 10 minutes, which research shows is all that is needed each day to benefit mental wellbeing. National Literacy Trust research also shows that reading has been a source of escapism for young people over the past year, supporting their mental wellbeing and enabling them to dream about the future. Children and adults are invited to pick up a book, comic, magazine, or newspaper. All participants are invited to share photos on social media using the hashtag #Take10toRead, joining a national moment where over 100,000 people are expected to take part. Many organisations across the county are already making plans to get involved including campaign partners Suffolk Libraries and Suffolk Mind.
As part of this literacy campaign, schools can sign up to a virtual visit at 9.50am from award-winning local author Anthony Horowitz to introduce the challenge.
In the virtual event, Anthony will share his love of reading and writing, explaining what reading means to him and how he uses it to escape from everyday life. He’ll also talk about his favourite places to read, then introduce the #Take10toRead challenge at 10am.
Jon Neal, chief executive of Suffolk Mind, said: “Research shows that reading reduces stress levels, calming down our heart rate far more effectively than some of the other comforts we might turn to, such as making a cup of tea or zoning out by watching films or TV shows.
“Through reading or listening to fiction, we connect emotionally and build rapport with the characters we read about. We then practice the skill of entering other people’s lives by exercising empathy – an essential skill for forming and sustaining relationships. And, as we see the world from the viewpoint of a character with a very different outlook to ourselves, we learn to see the things from other points of view; regaining the flexibility of mind which low moods or depression can rob us of.
Find more information and register for the Take 10 event here.
Author: Kristina Brinkley
Posted on: 6th May 2021
Ipswich Town Football Club promotes the importance of mental health for charity match day takeover
Suffolk Mind will be joining Ipswich Town on Sunday 9th May 2021 for a special match day takeover to promote the importance of mental wellbeing.
The charity hopes mental health-themed match days like this will raise awareness and encourage conversation among football fans about their mental health, and raise vital funds for the services they provide in the local community.
Though the charity and its volunteers won’t be able to interact with fans face-to-face at the match, they hope that by working with the club to do a virtual takeover they can raise awareness about the support they offer and raise funds at the same time.
As part of the takeover, Ipswich Town players have appeared in a video highlighting the importance of mental health support during a difficult year for many people.
Players will also be sporting Suffolk Mind t-shirts while they warm up. They will be using their platforms to promote mental health, and Suffolk Mind will be making a special appearance in the match-day programme, including support information.
A dedicated Ipswich Town giving page has also been set up for people to make any donations here.
The virtual charity match day comes as part of Mind’s partnership with the EFL (English Football League), which has already seen the squiggle of Mind’s logo appear on the shirts of Ipswich Town’s players. Over the course of the partnership Suffolk Mind has built closer links with the club by delivering training and support to help bring a lasting legacy around mental health in football.
Mind’s national charity partnership with the EFL launched at the start of the 2018/19 season and has since been extended to run until the end of the 2021/22 season. Working with all 72 EFL clubs across the country it aims to:
o raise awareness of mental health with fans, clubs and staff
o raise funds to deliver life-changing support
o help improve the approach to mental health in football working with other partners in the game.
Lizzy Tuthill, Community Fundraising Coordinator said: “Every year, one in four of us will experience a mental health problem. That could be one person in every family, hundreds of football players and many thousands of football fans. The effects of the pandemic have undoubtedly made things more challenging.
“We know that many fans have been particularly affected by the pandemic through missing out on the camaraderie and community spirit felt by being together on match days. Through this virtual charity match day, we want to let fans know that although we can’t all be together for the match, we are still here for them if they need support.
“We are proud to be working with Ipswich Town over the course of the partnership to raise wider awareness about mental health among fans and within the local community, as well as raising vital funds for our services.”
Dan Palfrey, Ipswich Town’s PR manager said: “We’ve worked closely with Suffolk Mind for three years now, and are delighted to continue supporting them and raising vital awareness of mental health amongst our fans through initiatives such as their matchday takeover against Fleetwood.”
For more information about the charity match day and to donate, click here.
Author: Kristina Brinkley
Posted on: 6th May 2021
Local organisations help Suffolk Mind to fund book for every four-to-five-year-old in Suffolk
A number of local organisations have joined in Suffolk Mind’s project to fund a book linking exercise to mental health for every reception aged child (four-to-five-years-old) in Suffolk.
Suffolk Mind launched a Crowdfunding appeal on World Book Day (Thursday 4th March) and have raised £6,675 so far. They are hoping to reach a target of £40,000 to be able to publish 8,000 books teaching children about the benefits of exercise on their mental health, in a fun, colourful way.
The picture book is based on the character Sammy the Sea Squirt, who moves with ocean friends to look after memory and emotions. Head of Education at Suffolk Mind, Ezra Hewing, has written the story, and a local children’s illustrator has brought the characters to life. Public Health Suffolk have organised the distribution to the school children.
The East of England Co-op are backing the Crowdfunding campaign and have pledged to give 10% of whatever is raised.
Niall O’Keeffe, Joint Chief Executive for the East of England Co-op, said: “The past year has highlighted the importance of wellbeing and physical activity for people of all ages. This storybook is an engaging and fun way to encourage children to think about how they can be more active, and provides parents and carers with an opportunity to start conversations about wellbeing, which will also help them in later life. Getting a copy of this book to all four to five year olds is something we’re very proud to support.”
TREATT PLC are among other local people and organisations to support the project, having pledged £1,000 to help Suffolk Mind reach their target.
Ezra Hewing said: “We want say a massive thank you to these organisations and any other person who has donated to our Sammy the Sea Squirt campaign. This is a very important project, to educate children on how to look after their mental health now and into adulthood.
“Movement and exercise makes the heart and body strong and healthy, but it also burns off harmful stress hormones to stop them damaging children’s brains when they are at their most vulnerable. Help us to support our future generations by getting our Sammy the Sea Squirt book into the hands of every four-five-year-old in Suffolk.”
To support the Crowdfunding campaign, and receive a number of rewards, visit our Crowdfunder page here.
Author: Kristina Brinkley
Posted on: 1st April 2021
Working together to provide better care for everyone
The last year has demonstrated how communities pull together at times of crisis, when lots of people need support in many different ways.
Life has changed for everyone – whether furloughed or not…working from home, or working in an environment that’s busier or much quieter than usual. For all of us, the way we meet our emotional needs and stay well has been different.
As we start to look towards a time when things change again, Suffolk Mind has joined together with other local charities and public sector bodies to support the Integrated Care Academy at the University of Suffolk.
Our involvement stems around our desire to make Suffolk the best place in the world for talking about and taking care of mental health. To achieve this ambition, we’re always keen to recruit others to the cause – we can’t do it alone.
So it makes sense to want to create a future in which people come from all over the world to Suffolk to learn about the best way to deliver integrated care.
For us, this means delivering care that enables people to meet their emotional needs, rather than putting up barriers – and it means everyone delivering care to people is skilled in identifying unmet needs and coaching people through spotting the barriers and coming up with solutions.
Working with the University of Suffolk, we hope to raise more awareness of our approach, and train people who deliver services to be able to help the people they see in a more holistic way. If we’re all using the same language, and working towards identifying unmet emotional needs, then we stand a better chance of keeping people at the wellbeing end of the mental health continuum.
You can read more about our suggested approach to health in this paper.
Author: Kristina Brinkley
Posted on: 29th March 2021
Suffolk Mind launches appeal to fund a book for every four-to-five-year-old in Suffolk
Suffolk Mind has launched a crowdfunding appeal on World Book Day (Thursday 4th March 2021) to fund the creation of a book, based around the benefits of exercise on mental health, to be given to every Reception aged child (four-to-five-years-old) in Suffolk.
Movement and exercise makes the heart and body strong and healthy, but it also burns off harmful stress hormones to stop them damaging children’s brains when they are at their most vulnerable. Figures show that 35% of children and young people said their mental health had got worse during the Covid-19 pandemic, so the need to make the link between movement and brain health is more important than ever.
Ezra Hewing, Head of Education at Suffolk Mind, tells a tale in Suffolk Mind’s EARLY Minds primary school’s training of a Sea Squirt called Sammy who moves with ocean friends to look after their memory and emotions. Supported by Suffolk’s Most Active County programme, this tale has now been turned into a picture book. A local children’s illustrator has brought the characters to life, and Public Health Suffolk are organising its distribution to school children across the county.
Ezra Hewing said: “This is such an important project, to ensure that children from a young age know the benefits of exercise on their mental health. We want children to learn the skills to be emotionally resilient as they continue to grow into adulthood.
“Nobody wants their child to experience poor mental or physical health. But what can parents and carers do to protect their child? How can they support them to grow up to be positive and emotionally resilient adults?
“We’re appealing to parents, grandparents, businesses and anyone else who has an interest in our children’s future, to help us fund the book to give to every four-to-five-year-old in Suffolk. The story has been written and the characters have been created, now all we need is the support of our local community to be able to publish more than 8,000 copies.”
Dennis Stevenson, Suffolk Mind patron and former Chairman of Pearson Plc, is supporting the campaign. He said: “Having been involved at a national level in mental health policy, I know how important it is that we educate our children and young people about how they can stay well.
“What Suffolk Mind has done is to use an entertaining and engaging story about a sea squirt to make a serious point about the relationship between movement and mental health. I’ve made a contribution towards this crucial project and hope others will follow suit – donating whatever they can afford – to try and get this book into the sticky hands of as many four-to-five-year-olds as possible.”
Prior to the pandemic, figures showed that three in five young people (11-19 years of age) had either experienced a mental health problem themselves, or were close to someone who had and half of all mental health problems had been established by the age of 14, rising to 75% by the age of 24
Research from the University of Essex published in 2018 showed that the decrease in childhood fitness in the past two decades has been so great, the least fit child in a class of 30 tested in 1998 would be among the five fittest in a class of 30 children tested today.
Cllr James Reeder, Suffolk County Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Health and Prevention, said: “We know that physical activity helps children to build strong muscles and bones, helps build their confidence, improves their ability to learn and helps maintain their mental and emotional wellbeing.
“Suffolk’s Most Active County campaign is therefore delighted to endorse the Suffolk Mind crowdfunding appeal for the ‘Sammy the Sea Squirt’ book, which will provide parents with an exciting and engaging way of talking to their children about the importance of movement, through storytelling.
“It would be wonderful if we could provide a Sammy the Sea Squirt book for every four-to-five-year-old in Suffolk. Please do support it if you can. Together we can give Suffolk’s children the best start in life.”
Emma Graham the Illustrator working on the project said: “It is wonderful to be asked to work on such an important project. I love illustrating children’s books, and bringing Sammy and friends to life from Ezra’s story has been fun. I look forward to creating the finished illustrations and book, as I know Sammy’s story will encourage children to move, exercise and have fun, and keep their brains healthy too.”
To mark the launch of the Crowdfunding appeal and World Book Day, Suffolk Mind is hosting a Facebook live event at 4.30pm on Thursday 4th March 2021. This will include a sample of the Sammy the Sea Squirt story and an exercise session for all the family. Please visit our Facebook page to access this session: @SuffolkMind1.
For details about our Crowdfunding appeal please visit: www.crowdfunder.co.uk/sammytheseasquirt.
To watch our animation video explaining the project, visit our YouTube channel by clicking here.
Author: Kristina Brinkley
Posted on: 4th March 2021