Mind Matters

Mental health issues can drastically impact our lives. The feeling of being alone and desperate can be confusing and difficult to understand. Over the years, there has been such a stigma around depression and stress-related illnesses. However, thankfully, we are now much more informed and educated and can find help from many new initiatives, including mindfulness and other emerging therapies.

We are a nation constantly reaching out for answers on dealing with the increase in stress through commitments within our work and personal lives. New therapies, such as cold water, deep breathing, yoga, and connecting more with nature, are gaining popularity, while exploring ways to help yourself are on the up.

Our medical services are under pressure to support those with both physical and mental illnesses daily, which is why charities like Mind are even more critical than ever. With a nationwide network of experts, Mind works tirelessly through its teams of volunteers and high-profile ambassadors to help those in need. Joining forces to improve our mental health struggles can really make a difference.

We talked to Mind about their evolution, celebrity collaborations, and how their work supports the most vulnerable members of society.

Fighting the Stigma

With 1 in 4 of us experiencing mental health problems, the need for support has never been greater, but most don’t get the help they need, something Mind has been fighting to change.

Launched in 1946 as the National Association for Mental Health, the charity was the first to set up a mental health library for people to learn more about mental health, a topic that was rarely spoken about. Mind has successfully created community-based services and an evolution of a network of local hubs, reducing the stigma of mental health. This information remains as important today as it was then; Mind’s online information has been accessed over 20 million times, and the charity has over 4,000 members who help to guide its work.

Time to Change

By the millennium, the charity’s campaigning was gathering momentum, garnering support from new quarters. The ‘Time to Change’ campaign with Rethink Mental Illness, supported by Mind President Stephen Fry, reduced the stigma of mental illness by improving the attitudes of over 5.4 million people and reaching new audiences. A renewed focus in the 2010s Mind Matters helped to improve mental health in the workplace – it now reaches more than 1.5 million workplaces annually– and the charity was involved in landmark victories over discrimination of those with mental health problems. Tailored support was also delivered for emergency services personnel and young people, and by the end of the decade, the charity was answering over 100,000 calls annually to its Infoline.

Supporting Men

In 2009, Mind published ‘Get It Off Your Chest’, a report which drew on YouGov polling data and focus groups to understand the challenges facing men’s mental health. A decade later, Mind re-commissioned the survey, inviting 2,000 people to share their experiences of mental health and support.

The findings showed that, while there have been some improvements in men feeling able to seek help for their mental health, thanks in part to support from charities like Mind, an increasing number are experiencing mental health problems. Some of the more worrying findings identify that two in five men admit to feeling regularly worried or low, an increase from 37% in 2009, while the number of men who have suicidal thoughts when feeling low or worried has doubled to 10% in the last decade.

Mind is committed to improving male mental health, evidenced by its support of ‘Men in Mind’, a new campaigning Mirror podcast that urges people to open up about their feelings. By teaming up with high-profile names, including Simon Cowell, who speak openly about their mental health, the charity hopes more people will be encouraged to look for information, see a therapist, or talk to family members when they are struggling.

With Women in Mind

No-one is immune to poor mental health, and Mind’s latest campaign, ‘With Women in Mind’, aims to increase awareness of trauma and trauma-informed support available to young women, girls, and non-binary young people.

With 1 in 4 young women struggling with mental health, With Women in Mind is a community with the power and expertise to further the charity’s strategic support of young women and women with lived experience of trauma.

At Mind, we’re committed to becoming trauma-informed as an organisational attitude, ensuring that those struggling have access to the support they need and deserve -this new campaign With Women in Mind will make a huge difference to this mission.” Angela Kelly, (Senior Philanthropy Manager) Mind

Meet Georgia

“Hello, my name is Georgia. I am 20 years old and I am from South Wales. I have been an active volunteer across many projects with Mind for 4 years, and my recent role has been as a Youth Consultant. I have supported the development of a program which will support young women, girls, and non-binary people who have experienced trauma.

I have an ambition and passion to support young people who are currently struggling with their mental health due to having my own lived experience. I have childhood trauma and trauma from losing a relative in the Manchester Arena bombing in 2017. I struggled throughout my childhood and early teens with anxiety alongside the normal pressures of being this age from social media and needing to do well in school. Although trying to reach out to mental health services, like most people, I was put on an incredibly long waiting list. In this time, I developed a serious eating disorder as a way of coping with my mental health struggles. It was only when I had reached rock bottom that I was finally able to access the support I needed. However, this meant 9 months of a hospital admission and my whole life was put on hold. I feel that if I had had access to services earlier, I may have not got to a point of almost losing my life. Early intervention is key.

My role as a youth consultant with Mind has involved me working alongside three other incredible individuals, all with experiences of trauma. With support from Mind staff, we have designed a new program to provide support for young women, girls, and non-binary people who have faced trauma.

I feel extremely grateful to have been able to be involved in this piece of work because a program like this is so valuable. Not only will this work have such a crucial impact for many young people, it has already had a positive impact on my own recovery and wellbeing. I am proud to be able to show others that it’s ok to talk about our mental health and demonstrate that we can rise above our challenges and use this to create positive changes.”

We hope this article helps someone to reach out and share, and begin stepping towards gaining that freedom that is often lost with mental health issues. For more information on Mind and its services, visit www.mind.org.uk