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Mental Health Awareness Week

Today is the first day of Mental Health Awareness Week – and this year’s theme is kindness!

Amidst the fear and uncertainty of recent months, we have seen kindness and mutual support shining like a light across our communities. It has given us hope and reminded us that we are not alone, even while many of us are physically apart.

The kindness of family, friends, neighbours, strangers, and key workers has kept company with those who are isolated, delivered food to those who cannot leave their houses, and been a listening ear and support to those who are feeling overwhelmed.

We have seen countless examples of the impact of kindness across Concern Group – we have chosen just a few to share with you here.

We will be sharing more stories and pictures throughout the week on our Insight Healthcare and Mental Health Concern Twitter accounts, using the hashtags #KindnessMatters and #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek, so please do follow along!

Kindness in the community

GraphicWe have been overwhelmed by the number of volunteers for our Mental Health Concern community services! People have approached us directly and through Newcastle City Council’s Citylife Line volunteering service, and they have been doing all kinds of things for some of the most vulnerable people in our community.

We have been matching volunteers with people who live alone and need telephone companionship as they live alone, providing free shopping and delivery service to those who are unable to get online delivery slots, and collecting prescriptions for people who are unable to access their local pharmacy.

We have also been collaborating with other organisations – such as Newcastle Central Mosque, which has provided volunteer drivers and has linked us people up with taxi firms who are collecting shopping for people!

Tom and Lucy, two of our wonderful volunteers, have shared with us about their experience.

Tom delivering a prescription

Tom, pictured here delivering a prescription, said:

“I decided to volunteer after being furloughed at work and saw it as an opportunity to do something I usually wouldn’t have time for. It’s given me purpose.

The best thing is seeing the difference it makes to people receiving our help. There are so many in our community who had no one to turn to until we contacted them. Now they have security of their basic needs, and many more who haven’t needed us yet have the peace of mind we’re here for them.

It’s rewarding to have several people said they are now happier, as well as healthier as we’ve relieved so much stress and uncertainty for them. One lady’s diabetes is more controlled now that she’s eating properly, again after a couple of weeks struggling to get shopping.

It has been great to see the good work everyone is doing. The team at Mental Health Concern was already working so hard and to readily take on such a huge job is very courageous. They are such a pleasure to work with and I am enjoying my experience with them. It’s heart-warming to see other volunteers coming forward to help those of our community in need.”

Lucy said:

“I usually work 50 hours a week minimum, but during the current pandemic found myself only working half that. My own parents are elderly but live in Manchester, so I was unable to help them myself. I guess I looked to help people as much as I could and hoped they would perhaps be helped locally if they needed that.

Predominantly I have been shopping for various people who for various reasons are isolating at the moment and finding it impossible to get delivery slots from the supermarkets and running out of essentials. One lady I spoke to was just really wanting some bread, she had only had crackers for a week.

I don’t expect gratitude at all, but it is just great knowing someone hasn’t got that to worry about.”

Kindness at a distance

Speech bubbles

In Insight Healthcare, our NHS talking therapy services have adapted brilliantly to the COVID-19 safety guidelines – and as a result we have been able to keep them all open throughout the outbreak.

Our therapists have been supporting people by telephone and video chat during COVID-19, and we have had some fantastic feedback about what this has meant to people.

One talking therapy client wrote to us to say this:

“I liked my therapist from the get-go, along with making me feel relaxed understanding the process she was very honest and passionate about making sure I get the right help. I knew again I had come to the right place and had the right person to help me.

In just 6 weeks I have made some incredible changes with my therapist’s direct and well prescribed relevant guidance. It’s really changed my life. I can’t thank her and the service enough for the support.

It is very heart-warming to meet the people involved in this service and to know the support is available for so many people. I have referred others to Insight – hopefully when they are ready, they will seek help.

Thank you for giving me my life back.”

Another client wrote to say:

“To know I have some contact whilst in isolation means everything to me.

Off-loading my worries and learning how I can still manage my feelings at home is most useful to me right now and will be to so many others too.

People out there need these phone calls, even the ones that are not in therapy would benefit greatly from these calls. Please pass on to all of your colleagues how important they are right now to many people.”

If you’re finding it hard to cope, you can self-refer to our talking therapy services here.

Make sure you follow along our other stories and pictures throughout the week on our Mental Health Concern and Insight Healthcare Twitter accounts!

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