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Running for Mind

What made you decide to fundraise for Middlesbrough and Stockton Mind?

I have my own experiences of mental ill-health and know that Mind is a brilliant charity. I've also worked with some of the Mind team who work on the Firm Foundations project as part of my volunteering with Middlesbrough Foodbank. Recently, a member… Continue readingWhat made you decide to fundraise for Middlesbrough and Stockton Mind?

I have my own experiences of mental ill-health and know that Mind is a brilliant charity. I've also worked with some of the Mind team who work on the Firm Foundations project as part of my volunteering with Middlesbrough Foodbank. Recently, a member of the congregation at the church where I worship ended their own life, which was a huge shock to everyone - we'd been aware that they'd been struggling, but no-one had realised that we were seeing the brave face. It was during the funeral that I decided that I would fundraise for Mind, and in particular for the Middlesbrough & Stockton branch because of the work being done in those places and in Redcar too. It's absolutely vital that people have the support available, and given the under-funding that the NHS is experiencing, and the levels of stress as a result of the steel works closing, I felt I couldn't really choose any other organisation!

Why do you want to do the Tees Pride?

I re-discovered running reasonably recently, and discovered that it's oddly enjoyable. I have to force myself out on a run, and I wonder why on earth I'm torturing myself like this all the while I'm running, but when the run has ended, there's an amazing sense of achievement. I'd been taking part in the parkrun at Locke Park, Redcar, for some time when I heard about the Tees Pride 10k and decided to challenge myself to do it last year, so when the entries opened again this year, I knew I had to sign up. Last year my time was about an hour and six minutes and I'd really like to be a little bit faster than that this year - but if I'm not, that is OK. The important thing is to be taking part and completing the run - the atmosphere and cameraderie among the runners and spectators is amazing.

What are your thoughts on mental health and physical health?

They're more connected than we realise! A mental health illness can and does have an effect on physical health and vice versa. Motivation is a key part of looking after yourself, whether physically or mentally, and when that becomes difficult for whatever reason, it means that everything suffers - physical, mental and emotional health of the individual.

Do you think the attitudes to mental health are changing?

Yes, they are. Things are a lot more understood than they were, particularly by medical professionals, and by members of the general public. But I think that there is still a long way to go. Too many people still seem to think that it's possible to pull yourself up by your own bootstraps, or that Prozac is a cure-all, when in fact a more holistic approach is often needed. There's a lot of stuff on the internet about self-care, but it mainly seems to be about having a long soak in the bath or something of that nature, when in fact self-care quite often has to include the (very difficult) word "no". It's great that people are more aware, but we need more resources to help those of us living with mental ill-health because every person and every form of mental illness is unique and therefore needs a unique approach to treatment and support.

Website: louisaann-mccabe

Boxing for mental health

I'm taking part in g2events “punching for pounds” charity boxing match for Middlesbrough & Stockton Mind.

I decided to sign up for the event because it was an opportunity for me to do something for this amazing local charity. It is a chance for me to to have a goal and to dedicate myself to and see if I could get fit.… Continue readingI'm taking part in g2events “punching for pounds” charity boxing match for Middlesbrough & Stockton Mind.

I decided to sign up for the event because it was an opportunity for me to do something for this amazing local charity. It is a chance for me to to have a goal and to dedicate myself to and see if I could get fit. I had lost interest in football and other activities and I was noticing that I was worrying about the little things all the time. I started finding it hard to concentrate at work. So, this was a chance for me to get some focus and I wanted to get to get a sense of achievement from something.

My best mate wanted to sign up too. We have had a daft rivalry back going to when we were at school. We were always on rival football teams and I always tried to run faster than him in races. We always joked about having a boxing match and who would be fitter! So we are going to put this rivalry to bed: all for charity!!

We are now top of the bill and want to make lots of money for Middlesbrough & Stockton Mind.

I chose Middlesbrough & Stockton Mind because I have an insight to the work they do with my close family members that have used the service. I just think it’s great that if someone is feeling low, as we all do at times, and have no one to turn to, Mind are always going to be there to support people in all different situations.

WHY HAVING A MENTAL HEALTH BREAK IS IMPORTANT

The thought of taking a day off work or missing a lovely day out can leave us feeling guilty and worthless. It's a fact that when we cancel plans or take a day off we will feel bad for it and in many cases we won't and we carry on as normal, even when we know we shouldn't. When we look at mental health we sometimes see it… Continue readingThe thought of taking a day off work or missing a lovely day out can leave us feeling guilty and worthless. It's a fact that when we cancel plans or take a day off we will feel bad for it and in many cases we won't and we carry on as normal, even when we know we shouldn't. When we look at mental health we sometimes see it as something we shouldn't use to not do something and it's easier to say we have a bug or a bad cold. The thought of telling your boss your mental health is bad or telling your friend your struggling with depression is hard and we don't due to feeling guilty and being judged. The truth is there is nothing to feel guilty about when you need to take a mental health day and you sure as hell shouldn't feel judged, if you do then it says more about them than you, fact.

When your sick with a bad bug you take time off. This could be work, duties around the house or even going out for drinks with friends. You do it for many reasons but the main one is so you can get better quicker and this is the same for your mental health! Looking after yourself is number one priority when you are struggling with your mental health and getting yourself back into a good place is so important. You can't live a life with mental health and not take time for yourself, it's impossible. When your feeling burnt out or at a loss with your mental health just take a break. This could be for a day or longer and it will help. You can use the time to catch up on sleep, eating better or just sitting and doing nothing. Taking time away from work and home duties will give you the space to look after yourself and rest and get mentally recharged. Of course I'm not saying that a day off is going to cure your mental health issues, sometimes professional help is needed.

1. DON'T FEEL GUILTY
You wouldn't feel guilty for taking time off if you broke your leg so why is your mental health different? Don't feel guilty! You are taking time off to look after yourself. If it's from work they will manage and if it's from home duties someone else can pick up your load. Your not a machine and sometimes you need a break. Let people know what is bothering you and what they can do to help. It could be simple things like your partner cooks dinner more and does some cleaning or it might be something bigger like your college takes on a little more work for a few days. Either way your looking after your health and you shouldn't feel guilty. I think you will be surprised at how much people will want to help you.

2. REST, REST AND REST!
When you are on your on your break for your mental health rest! Don't use this time to do random jobs that you have been meaning to get around to or spending your time stressing because your having time off! Get yourself into bed and catch up on some sleep. When we don't get enough sleep we become more anxious and depressed. If your struggling to sleep go visit your GP and they might be able to give you something for the short term. Try and find things that help you relax and do them. Reading, walking, TV or even just having a peaceful cup of tea can help you feel more refreshed and ready to get back into the swing of things.

3. IT WILL BENEFIT YOU & OTHERS
Not only will you feel better after having some much needed time off but it will help others as well. You will go back into work with a refreshed brain and soul your work flow will be better and your boss will love you for it. If you have had time off from home duties you will come back ready to take over again but less stressed, so no more arguments over tiny things that mean nothing. Looking after yourself looks after others around you - because they can get on without worrying so much about you!

4. IT'S GOOD FOR THE SOUL
Taking time off for your mental health is so so good for you. It just gives you that space and time to sort out what is going on and just giving yourself some time to heal. Self care is so important and it really does make you feel good. Even if all you plan to do is eat, sleep and have a bubble bath it will make you feel better. Just giving yourself some much needed care does wonders on the body and mind. Time out is proven to make time in better.

Website: https://www.fixmeinfortyfive.com/

Steven's volunteering story

To mark the end of another successful Volunteers Week, we spoke to Steven who has volunteered for our charity for over two years now.

Before volunteering, Steven received support from Middlesbrough and Stockton Mind and got introduced to the idea of volunteering by the MFC Foundation.

Steven played football with the… Continue readingTo mark the end of another successful Volunteers Week, we spoke to Steven who has volunteered for our charity for over two years now.

Before volunteering, Steven received support from Middlesbrough and Stockton Mind and got introduced to the idea of volunteering by the MFC Foundation.

Steven played football with the foundation through our previous sports project and went on to coach for the organisation. This then spurred the idea of running bowls sessions at Thornaby Pavilion and other activities to improve your mental health.

“When I started volunteering I loved meeting new friends – it changed my life and put me on the right path. I buzz from meeting like-minded people who understand and have similar interests”.

Steven now volunteers on the Appropriate Adult service and is also a Recovery Champion for the Living Life team.

As an appropriate adult volunteer Steven supports people through the custodial process and as a Recovery Champion he visits people on their first one to one and talks about his mental health experiences in a none professional manner.

“Volunteering has a lot more opportunities and a lot more ways to make a difference. Don’t hold back, don’t let anything hold you back – go for it.

“If anyone is sat in their house hesitating thinking they’re not good enough or are suffering. Go and dip your toes in the water and find out. Come and meet people like me”.

If you would like to find out more about our volunteering roles click below.

Website: http://www.middlesbroughandstocktonmind.org.uk/volunteering.aspx

What volunteering means to me

I cannot recommend volunteering enough, it can help you in so many aspects of your life. You can get work experience from it, gain skills to put on your cv that can help you in to employment and progress to do something you have a genuine interest in or you just love doing. You can meet some amazing people and make new… Continue readingI cannot recommend volunteering enough, it can help you in so many aspects of your life. You can get work experience from it, gain skills to put on your cv that can help you in to employment and progress to do something you have a genuine interest in or you just love doing. You can meet some amazing people and make new friends, usually people who have a common interest with you which is a bonus. You’re usually volunteering for a good cause or charity, whether it is mental health and raising awareness or even dog walking at a local animal shelter, you are doing something that has such a positive impact and trust me you will feel amazing for doing it. I think a good way to think what you would enjoy giving your time to, would be to think what you would like as a career if money wasn’t an issue. Basically, what do you love to do or would love to do?

Before I started volunteering, I thought it was very limited as to what you could do. I mainly thought it would be working (for free) in a charity shop. Not that there’s anything wrong with that at all, because I would be more than happy to give me time to that, I have experience in retail and enjoy being around people. However there’s so much more to it. You can give your time by fundraising, writing blogs or taking part in videos/filming, attending training, attending meetings such as anti stigma meetings which raise awareness around mental health, attending or even co facilitate training and events and this is just to name a few that I have personally taken part in but there is so much more and you’re never expected to do something you don’t want to or you aren’t comfortable with. You are the one giving your time, so you still have a say in how you can help.

I enjoy being part of the anti stigma volunteer group because I’ve met a lot of like minded people who I would call friends. The people in the group inspire me and they are people I want to surround myself with to be a better person. It’s enabled me to better my understanding around mental health so I have been able to manage and cope better with my own issues. I can fit it around my job as I’ve written blog posts and attended events outside of working hours which I thoroughly enjoy. I’ve attended training and even co facilitated an event which has been paid work. I’ve attended a awards evening and won a volunteering award which is brilliant and really lovely to get recognition. We have regular meetings to discuss opportunities such as events and awareness days/weeks and how we can make the most of them to break the stigma and make mental health an every day topic. Our input is ours taken in to account and everyone always has their say.

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Middlesbrough and Stockton Mind is the business name of Middlesbrough Mind Limited. Registered Charity No. 1118098. Company Limited by Guarantee No. 5884630 in England.

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