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News Archive October 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

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