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21 February 2017

Why Volunteer?

 Event Volunteer, Rick, has lots of reasons he loves to volunteer...

  • It gives you the satisfaction of doing something that helps others.
  • You can do work that was previously unavailable because the only qualification required is to have had life experiences.
  • It fills in time that would otherwise have been spent watching Jeremy Kyle and Escape to the Country.
  • Your self-esteem will rocket as you accomplish new dreams.
  • You can pass on your handy coping strategies to others in need of a friendly face.
  • It helps you to accept state benefits and restores inner pride because you’re contributing.
  • It can open so many previously closed doors.
  • You can aid the professionals in their search for understanding of your symptoms.
  • You can lighten the dark places of your own condition by helping others in similar distress.
  • You can help poorly funded charities raise much needed funds for further services.
  • You can make someone’s day a bit warmer by sharing the time for a coffee.
  • Your day will be spent with other volunteers who have similar goals.
  • You can proudly tell people that you’re a volunteer when they ask what your job is.
  • You don’t have to explain to the boss why you can’t get to work on a bad day.
  • You can try new and varied careers.
  • Every hour spent volunteering, no matter what it is, helps keep charities running.
  • Your labours are ALWAYS greatly appreciated by management.
  • You’ll uncover hidden talents and long since buried creative abilities.

So, in answer to the question – WHY NOT VOLUNTEER!

- Rick Mc

Find out more about our current Volunteer Opportunities.

By Chris Wood, 21 February 2017 – 0 comments

14 February 2017

Sue's R.E.D January Journey

Sue Hood

Caption: Sue celebrating her incredible R.E.D January achievements!

I’ve wanted to do a sponsored event for some time now...

...however I have problems with my balance and fall over if I try and multi task, so outdoor events are a non-starter. When I saw the promotion for R.E.D January I leapt at the chance and signed up straight away……..nope I didn’t think of the huge mountain I would have to cross to reach February in one piece! All I saw was a way of giving back to Mind - a charity that has given me so much help support and guidance since I have been ill.

So January arrived and I had set a modest target to raise £150. I had sponsors already and with their support ringing in my ears I started my challenge. I was aiming to run and cycle in the gym and on the days I couldn’t, I was going to walk the dogs. I set myself an additional target of being able to run 5k by the end of the month.

I hadn’t been to the gym more than once a week for ages, but the thought of letting people down was the motivation that I needed. I was overwhelmed by the support of my family and friends; not only was I enjoying running but “we” smashed the donation total and in the end raised over £300. The days when I just wanted to stop were the days that ended up the best by the time I came out of the gym - I felt great, in a knackered sort of way, and glad that I hadn’t given in.

I ended up running 5k ….. I almost crawled at some points ...and cycled 10k on those days as well. By the end of the month my body felt broken but I was so pleased that I exceeded my targets, it was a group effort so Thank you RED January , thank you Mind for being there when I’ve needed you, and a huge thank you to my family, friends and support workers who stopped me over doing things some days and pulled me out of the house on others.

I’m not running everyday but I now have the confidence to go to the gym three times a week. If you are reading this thinking “no way”, then think again: if you can only get out of the house and walk a short distance you will soon feel the benefits, get a friend to go with you, it really helps, above all don’t beat yourself up if you can’t get out, tomorrow is another day.

-Sue Hood, R.E.D January 2017

By Chris Wood, 14 February 2017 – 0 comments

27 January 2017

A Yearly Review

Rick Mc

Caption: Rick Mc


Here’s a little thought that may be of some use to those of you struggling with New Year resolutions.

According to some sources, the term April Fool comes from the fact that New Year used to be celebrated on April 1st. The ancient folk of Pagan times would make their resolutions for the coming year and generally they would be broken within days; hence they became April Fools for making promises they couldn’t keep.

Sound familiar?

What I tend to do, instead of making fanciful and unrealistic resolutions, is to do a review of the previous year and see what needs changing.

I’ve lived in Cumbria for over 2 years and at times it’s been a struggle. Although not a wasted year as I like to view it, the first year here was extremely hard and challenging. During that time I contacted services and spent most of the year battling to get the treatment I deserve. It is only now that those labours are coming to fruition.

I have long since learned that tiny footsteps are more easily maintained than giant strides, as quite often permanent change comes from fine tweaking rather than mass clear-outs.

Don’t be an April Fool this January - start making achievable adjustments instead of fanciful dreams.

- Rick Mc

By Chris Wood, 27 January 2017 – 0 comments

16 January 2017

High was the only place to be!

I'm not sure which road marathon training programme I'm following...

...well I'm clearly not following a standard one - as this Friday saw me up Helvellyn in winter conditions! it was beautiful - a bit full on and more than a little bit chilly but definitely made me feel alive.

My proviso for our 'day off run' was "well I should start trying to get some miles in and I don't really want to go up high as it might be a bit lairy" so I worked out a 15 mile relatively low level run; but thanks, as ever, to Chris who decided that this needed to be challenged as, on a day such as Friday, "high was the only place to be".

His constant ability to challenge and push does help - not everyone gets entered onto ultramarathons for their birthday presents!! And when we run together he waits for me and manages to bite his tongue when I start walking up the steep bits!

I find it hard to challenge myself at times and push myself out of my comfort zone and am (mostly) grateful when I'm helped to do that. I know my sense of achievement is something else when I have gone outside that comfort zone.

For me with the London Marathon - I know I can do the distance - I've done it before (although never on road) - but it is still outside my comfort zone as I'm having to do it with 1000's of others and I'm having to ask people to sponsor me - any other challenges have always been purely personal and I'v never done it to fund raise. But this is for something that I do feel so passionately about and actually it is great that alongside the fundraising there is a heightening awareness - more conversations are being had about why suicide prevention is so important.

I continue to be inspired by all the RED January lot who are continuing to dig deep and for some step out their comfort zones.

So here's to 2017 - lets continue to challenge ourselves - even in little ways.

- Juliet Gray

By Chris Wood, 16 January 2017 – 0 comments

09 January 2017

2016 in Review: Suicide Prevention, Blue Light Training and Mates In Mind

2016 has been a standout year for our training team.

By December 2016 we had trained over 3,500 Cumbrian residents in Suicide Alertness and Suicide Prevention skills over the last 4 years. A major achievement. We are now fired up to keep the funding going for this programme to reach our ultimate goal of training 10,000 people. The end of 2016 also bought us news that at last suicide rates in Cumbria are beginning to fall, bucking the national trends and with the combined efforts of workers across several sectors we expect this trend to continue.

Alongside our general suicide prevention training we have also been commissioned by Cumbria Children’s Services to deliver self-harm and suicide awareness training for workers supporting children and young people. In an 8 month period we trained over 700 people.

Our general mental health training services have experienced unprecedented demand. We trained over 170 emergency services staff and managers at the start of the year in mental health in the workplace awareness as part of Mind’s Blue Light Programme. We have engaged with over 20 local employers in workplace wellbeing and have provided various bespoke mental health training to a further 40 Health, Social Care and Third Sector groups, from Cruise through to Environmental Health officers.

Perhaps the most exciting developments however in our training team has been our involvement in Cumbria’s Headstart programme, aimed at developing resilience in children and young people in 2 pilot areas of the county. As part of this we have developed two curriculum embedded mental health training packages. The key package, Mates in Mind, is a peer support programme aimed at equipping 14-15 year olds with an understanding of how to recognise mental health issues and how to practically support and signpost their friends. We have delivered this programme to over 2,000 young people in Carlisle and Barrow with excellent results. Though Cumbria County Council were unsuccessful in securing funding to take Headstart forward in 2017 the interest generated by the programme has been overwhelming and we expect to secure funding of our own on 2017 to develop our training, and general support for children and young people further.

- Chris Wood, Business Development Manager

By Chris Wood, 09 January 2017 – 0 comments

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