New mental health support service launched for health and care staff
A new support service for health and care staff across Norfolk and Suffolk has launched to help them cope with the immense pressures of working during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Norfolk and Suffolk COVID-19 support service; run in partnership by Suffolk Mind and Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) will give all health and care staff rapid access to mental health support from local mental health specialists.
Health and care staff can call the confidential COVID-19 support service on 0300 123 1335 Monday to Friday 09:30 – 16:30
Specially trained Suffolk Mind call handlers will offer emotional support, signposting and referral into the dedicated COVID support clinical team run by NSFT if treatment is needed.
Diane Palmer, a lead nurse at NSFT said: “I feel privileged to be developing and leading this important new service, which will provide rapid access to psychological support for frontline health, social care and care staff who have been supporting the response to the COVID-19
Tony Wooderson from Suffolk Mind said “We are so pleased to be offering this service to the amazing professionals who are doing such a vital job on the frontline. We want to ensure they are receiving the support they need during this incredibly challenging time.
“We are here to be a listening ear, offer emotional support and signpost wherever necessary”.
Jonathan Warren, chief executive at NSFT said: “Every one of us in the health and care system has been affected by the pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic. During this incredibly difficult time, our health and care staff continue to provide the highest standards of care to the people in our communities, and it’s vital that we look after them while they care for others.
“This funding from NHS England provides us with an opportunity to enhance the existing national and local support on offer to these staff, improve the resilience of teams, and crucially help to keep our staff well and able to continue their fantastic work across the health and care system.”
Author: Kristina Brinkley
Posted on: 26th January 2021
Connect with each other during lockdown to halt decline in mental health
Suffolk Mind has issued a plea to local people to write letters, telephone people they haven’t spoken to for a while, shout to neighbours over garden fences, or do whatever they can to connect with others to try and halt the decline in our mental health due to lockdown.
For those that would like to participate, the charity is launching a Suffolk Mind PenPals scheme. People can write to Suffolk Mind and a volunteer will write back within two weeks or so. For more details click here.
Suffolk Mind has released data that shows the proportion of the local population at risk of stress and mental ill health has more than doubled since this time a year ago – before the coronavirus pandemic.
More than half of us (55%) are not, on average, meeting our emotional needs – the key to avoiding stress and maintaining good mental health. And it may be people that have never experienced any kind of struggle before that are doing so for the first time.
Jon Neal, chief executive of Suffolk Mind, said: “We look at mental health through the emotional needs we all have that must be met to stay well. The biggest fall has been in feeling part of a wider community – this fell in the first lockdown, but has continued to fall.
“This may seem obvious, with people unable to see anyone else, but it’s the rate of decline that’s concerning us most. And with little certainty as to when the current lockdown will end, it means wellbeing is unlikely to recover for some time.
“Around two thirds of us now say we do not feel part of a wider community. An increasing number of us don’t feel that we have meaning and purpose in our lives, and more of us are feeling like we have no control, we’re not making choices for ourselves.”
Suffolk Mind has updated the resources on the Covid19 section of its website, providing more tips, videos, blogs and infographics to help people understand their mental health and enable them to do something to help.
We are also providing Suffolk’s Needs Met sessions to the public, a virtual training course with information about how people can meet their emotional needs to stay mentally well. To attend, people just need the coupon code ‘snmopencourse’ when they book here.
“The one thing all of us can do is connect with another human being in a meaningful way. Write a letter, make a telephone call, have a conversation over a fence at a big distance. Do something to connect with people. You might not think you need it, but you probably do. And even if you don’t, there are plenty of people out there do.
“This should be our equivalent of clapping on a Thursday night to respect key workers. The need now is to connect with each other so we all feel part of a community again. We’ve got lots of resources on our website to inspire you with writing suggestions, toolkits and advice. And if you can’t think of someone to write to, write to us and we’ll write back.”
Author: Kristina Brinkley
Posted on: 22nd January 2021
Suffolk Mind wins national award for service quality and safety
Suffolk Mind is celebrating, after winning a national Mind award for Service Quality and Safety.
The recognition was as part of the annual Mind Network Excellence Awards which recognises the best in the 120-strong national Mind network.
Suffolk Mind was up against several other local Mind associations for the award in the Sustainability and Growth Category.
The Mind Network Excellence Awards are made up of 13 categories, split into the Mind Quality Mark’s (MQM) three current overarching areas – Leadership and Governance, Sustainability and Growth, and Influence and Engagement. Overall, there were 60 local Minds nominated.
To win the award, Suffolk Mind demonstrated that they are delivering excellent practice and working beyond MQM benchmarks.
Jon Neal, CEO of Suffolk Mind said: “Service quality, and health and safety, are the bedrock of everything we do at Suffolk Mind, so I’m incredibly proud of our team for achieving this national recognition.
“The Mind Quality Mark is a benchmark against which all local Mind charities are judged across England and Wales. It will be reassuring to the people that use our services, and to those that commission them, that our staff and volunteers are at the top of their game in this crucial area.”
Author: Kristina Brinkley
Posted on: 14th January 2021
RAF serviceman to virtually travel to Lapland to raise money for Suffolk Mind
RAF serviceman and Suffolk Mind volunteer, Declan O’Keeffe is joining a number of service members to cover 2,200 miles – which is the distance to Lapland – to raise money for Suffolk Mind and the RAF Association.
The 12 days of Christmas Event will run from Tuesday 1st December until Sunday 13th December. The service members will each travel more than 100 miles by walking, running, cycling or rowing to help a virtual Father Christmas get to Lapland ahead of the big day.
Declan, who is from Bury St Edmunds, explains why he has chosen to support Suffolk Mind: “I volunteer for the Suffolk Night Owls telephone support line as I have had experience of mental health issues myself.
“Recently I have had friends that have taken their own lives because they were struggling and did not know who to turn to for help. I want to help people in a similar situation where all they need is to talk to somebody.”
In September, Declan conducted a wheelchair marathon with an ex-serviceman to raise awareness of the charities he supports: “During this challenge, I raised £150 for Suffolk Mind and have kept my fundraising page open to continue to raise money and awareness through this next challenge.”
Lizzy Tuthill, Community Fundraising Coordinator at Suffolk Mind said: “This fundraising event sounds so exciting, and a great idea in the run up to Christmas.
“The fact that Declan not only volunteers for us but fundraises for us too is fantastic. People like Declan help us in our mission of making Suffolk the best place in the world to talk about and take care of mental health.”
You can support Declan on his JustGiving page here.
Author: Kristina Brinkley
Posted on: 26th November 2020
Suffolk Mind and Active Suffolk join forces to encourage more women into physical activity
Mental health charity Suffolk Mind and Active Suffolk have teamed up to help support more local women and girls to participate in physical activity over the winter months. It’s after figures show that the gender gap has widened significantly. Currently 22% of women are achieving 30 minutes of physical activity 5 times per week, compared to 35% during April of this year. This huge 13% drop is compared to a 5% decrease identified amongst men.
Women in Sport stated that 32% of women couldn’t prioritise doing exercise during the first lockdown as they had too much to do for others.
To encourage participation, Active Suffolk have recruited 14 of their This Girl Can Ambassadors to take part and promote the 100 Miles for Suffolk Mind challenge. This means they will be running, swimming, biking, hopping, or covering the distance of 100 miles in a more unique or challenging way than usual. Some will be doing it on their own, and some will be joining friends, family, or colleagues to reach the milestone whist raising money for Suffolk Mind.
Anna Salisbury, local This Girl Can Ambassador said:
“I decided to take part in the 100 Miles for Suffolk Mind challenge as during the first lockdown I really struggled with my anxiety levels and found that by keeping active my mental health vastly improved.
“Just going for a mile walk once a day in the fresh air and sunshine really improved my mood and made me much more proactive the rest of the day. I would encourage anyone out there struggling in these strange times just to try and grab a few minutes’ walk each day to clear your head and refresh – it really does help.”
The Women in Sport research carried out during the first lockdown identified several barriers to physical activity, including the difficulty of juggling working from home and childcare. Older women also reported shielding due to long term conditions and in addition, women were found to have increased anxiety levels compared to men.
Now that the new lockdown rules are less restrictive, it is hoped that this collaboration between Active Suffolk and Suffolk Mind will help to support local women back to a more active lifestyle.
Local This Girl Can ambassador Clair Fiddaman found working from home and keeping active a challenge during the first lockdown and is using the Suffolk Mind challenge to make changes this time around, she said:
“I decided to take part in the 100 Miles for Suffolk Mind challenge to try and get me out in the fresh air as much as possible. I’m working from home and have been since March, but I have got into a bad habit of sitting to work, getting lunch and sitting to watch TV. By the end of the day sometimes I had done less than 1000 steps! This challenge gives me a good excuse to get moving every day, even if I can only squeeze in 15 mins!”
Community Fundraising Coordinator Lizzy Tuthill said: “Physical exercise is a great way to help your mental health, especially now when times are uncertain, and more of us are experiencing everyday life a little differently. Research shows that 30 minutes of brisk walking three to four times a week – getting our heart rate above its resting level – is enough to trigger endorphin release which can be equivalent in its effect to anti-depressant medication.
“We are working with Active Suffolk and our local This Girl Can ambassadors as we want to encourage more women to get into activity to increase their wellbeing, whilst also raising money for Suffolk Mind.”
The 100 Miles for Suffolk Mind challenge will be replacing the charity’s RED January campaign in 2021. Anyone can sign up to the challenge by clicking here.
Author: Kristina Brinkley
Posted on: 19th November 2020
Suffolk Mind marks its 10-year anniversary ahead of World Mental Health Day
Ahead of World Mental Health Day on Saturday 10th October 2020, Suffolk Mind is celebrating its 10-year anniversary by launching a new fundraising campaign.
The independent mental health charity became Suffolk Mind in 2010 through the merger of East Suffolk and West Suffolk Mind.
Jon Neal, CEO of Suffolk Mind said: “We have achieved so much in 10 years, since the two organisations came together and started to work towards making Suffolk the best place in the world for talking about and taking care of mental health.
“Much has changed in the past decade and Suffolk Mind has moved with the times, adapting our services to the needs of the population as much as we can.
“Central to our work has been the Emotional Needs & Resources model that forms everything we do. We’re on a mission to enable everyone in Suffolk to learn about their emotional needs, and develop their innate resources to get them met in healthy ways. We’re now working in schools, communities and workplaces, making them better environments for mental health, and enabling people to help themselves and those around them.”
To mark the milestone, Suffolk Mind has launched a ‘10 for 10’ campaign where people are being encouraged to donate £10 to the charity so it can continue to support the community of Suffolk for another 10 years and more.
On World Mental Health Day, Suffolk Mind is also releasing ‘10 ways you can support your own mental health’, written by the Head of Mental Health Education at Suffolk Mind, Ezra Hewing.
Ginny Idehen, Head of Business Operations at Suffolk Mind said: “We would love to use our Birthday to create a real buzz around what we do, and encourage people to help us to do more.
“By making a donation to Suffolk Mind people are helping us to continue the work and services we provide to our local community.
“We run services that are helping people right now such as counselling and support over the phone day and night and we are constantly developing new services, training and resources in order to improve people’s lives in practical ways.
“We want to ensure we are here now and into the future to continue to provide this support.
Author: Kristina Brinkley
Posted on: 7th October 2020
Rail Operator speaks out about saving someone’s life on World Suicide Prevention Day
A GB Railfreight Rail Operator has saved the life of a man who was standing over the edge of a bridge towards a railway line, after mental health training from Suffolk Mind.
Harry, who is based in Eastleigh, was on shift at the end of August when he stopped to help the man; he ensured all rail services in the area were stopped and approached the man to talk him down from the situation.
Harry recently had mental health training from Suffolk Mind to understand the key link between emotional needs and wellbeing and how to communicate with people who may be experiencing distress.
Harry said: “Being trained by Suffolk Mind gave me the confidence to approach the man. I used the techniques to understand his needs and told him a personal story to inspire him to talk to me.
“It took about 10 minutes before he began speaking to me and an off duty British Transport Police Officer. We were chatting for about 15 minutes until help arrived from Network Rail and the police. I felt quite shaken after the incident, but pleased and proud I was able to assist in saving his life”.
Ezra Hewing, Head of Mental Health Education at Suffolk Mind, said: “This heroic incident just shows how important mental health training is for businesses and individuals. The fact that Harry had the confidence to approach this man in need was absolutely fantastic, and ultimately saved his life.
“People like Harry, who have gained the skills to support mental health, are able to make a difference at a critical moment. It really highlights the need for the wider population to understand the importance of emotional needs and how to meet them.”
For more details about our Workplace Wellbeing courses, click here.
Author: Kristina Brinkley
Posted on: 10th September 2020
The number of people stressed and at risk of slipping into mental ill health in Suffolk nearly doubled during lockdown
Independent mental health charity, Suffolk Mind, has released the results of a survey looking at the impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on mental health in the county.
It reveals that during the lockdown period (March – June 2020) nearly half of people in Suffolk (46.3%) were not meeting their emotional needs on average, and therefore liable to stress and potential mental health issues. This compared to the year before lockdown when it was one in four people (24.2%).
Those that were unable to work, unemployed people and those who are gender non-binary were most likely to experience a significant decrease in wellbeing during the pandemic.
Abi a volunteer at Suffolk Mind found it a difficult few months: “Lockdown has been a complete struggle for me – I’ve not had anything to do, I can’t work due to a life lasting disability and I couldn’t see anyone. I struggle with the whole idea that there is something out there that can harm you, it panics me.
“I had nice things booked like holidays and events and they’ve been cancelled. I just don’t see the fun in life anymore, I don’t see joy; I feel as if I’m just existing in a world that is not very nice.
“I’ve never needed support for my mental health, but I am looking to access some through Suffolk Mind. I just need someone to talk to and discuss my worries.”
The research also showed that:
· 45% of people were not meeting the need for community, feeling connected to a group
· 46% of respondents were not feeling appreciated and valued
· 39% didn’t feel as if they had control and autonomy over their lives
Naomi Simons, Research and Evaluation Manager at Suffolk Mind, said: “As a county, our need to feel connected to a wider community, our need for status, and for control were, overall, the least well met on average during the pandemic.
“The fact that 45% of us that were not meeting the need for community could be explained by physical distancing measures, preventing us from meeting up with our friends and family, and leading to the cancellation of many organised group activities. This was particularly felt among younger people.
“Equally, 46% of respondents were not meeting their need for status or respect, which is about feeling appreciated and recognised. This could be due to the number of people not in active employment as a result of the pandemic; something which is also likely to have had an impact on meaning and purpose.
“Again, it’s perhaps not surprising that 39% didn’t feel as if they had control and autonomy over their lives, given none of us could predict what was going to happen next.”
Jon Neal, CEO of Suffolk Mind, said: “Nearly half of people in Suffolk struggled during lockdown and they could be knocking on the door of mental health services any day now looking to access support. But while this research highlights the great importance of mental health services in our county, it also points to some of the things we can all do to help keep mental ill health at bay.
“How can we get community groups up and running again, in a safe way, as soon as possible? What other opportunities can we create for people to get meaning and purpose in their lives, and to feel valued by their community? There is probably some unemployment on the horizon, what can we do to enable people to continue learning, and to be stretched and challenged so they meet the need for achievement?
“At Suffolk Mind we encourage people to look after themselves and others around them by meeting emotional needs. To help people who are struggling we are continuing to make available on our website free resources and advice.
“It is also important to continue working together across the system, with, for example, the Suffolk Says Thanks campaign. This is all about encouraging people to appreciate and thank each other for the small things in life.”
Have a look around our website or call us on 03001116000 if you are looking for support.
And visit SuffolkSaysThanks.com to join the campaign to show appreciation.
Access the full report here.
Author: Kristina Brinkley
Posted on: 21st August 2020
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