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Every local Mind is different

Tuesday, 02 August 2022 Emma Dallimore


Emma Dallimore, Chief Executive of Hull and East Yorkshire Mind, blogs about the joys and challenges of leading a local Mind.

Being part of the Mind family

Local Minds across the country provide a wide range of services. But the one thing we all have in common is that we are Mind, we fight for people with mental health. People are at the heart of all that we do. 

Being linked to the larger national Mind charity gives us credibility. People know what Mind stands for. We support people with mental health problems, we want to help them live a fulfilling life and ensure that they are respected the same as anyone else. 

We listen, we respond

We’re a charity and we’re also professionals in our area, which means we know mental health. If someone gets a referral to us, it means that we’ll give them professional support, delivered with kindness and compassion. We have time to listen and give them the time to tell us about their concerns.

Many of our staff and volunteers have lived experience. They understand what might be happening and can offer practical advice on how to deal with your problem. Or signpost you to the right place, whether that is within Mind or elsewhere. 

We are trusted. In Hull and East Yorkshire, we work very closely with our NHS mental health trust.

We’re able to move quickly if we need to do things differently, which is something our partners in the NHS can’t always do. 

A major development for us was setting up a 24/7 mental health support line.

It used to be managed by the local NHS trust’s crisis support team, but they were inundated with calls and not all were from people in crisis.

We now take the calls, which means they can concentrate on crisis calls. Meanwhile we give time to people who want to talk, or who could be signposted to other services. Importantly, we have full access to NHS systems. If someone does need extra help we can access crisis services quickly for them.

Building trust

We work hard to build relationships with people. For our staff, it’s building trusting relationships with everyone who uses our services. We want everyone to receive an excellent service. We want people to feel that the support from us makes their life a little better. We want people to feel that we will fight for them, to help them be heard. 

We can only do this if we have good relationships. For me, it’s important we have good relationships with our commissioners, our local mental health NHS trust and local authorities (the people who make the final decisions about what services are provided). Other charity CEOs and the Mind family are also incredibly important to me. These relationships help me stay aware of what’s happening in our area and across the country. And this means I can influence people’s thinking based on what we see every day. 

Being responsible for running a local Mind

I’ve worked at Hull and East Yorkshire Mind for 14 years, the last three of those in my current role as Chief Executive. As a new CEO I felt brand new again. I’d never held such a position and to be honest it felt overwhelming. But within a couple of weeks other CEOs from nearby local Mind’s rallied round, came over and spent a day with me and we talked and talked, about the role, what it means, their challenges – and how important the local Mind network is. I asked lots of questions and they answered where they could.

The main thing I achieved from that day was knowing that I could go to them with any issue I had. And that even seasoned CEOs don’t have all the answers! 

Local Minds are like a family. We’re connected, which is pretty amazing and very supportive. I’ve worked for other charities and have never experienced this. I am biased though. I love Mind.

Fast forward 3 years and I’m in a very different position. Still loving my job, even more so now that I have that experience under my belt. Now, as well as talking to other CEOs, I have a great relationship with my Network Relations Manager who works for national Mind and knows our local network inside out. Whatever the issue, they are able to help us find a solution. This support is invaluable.

We’re independent

People often mistakenly believe that we get all our funding from national Mind – this isn’t true. We are responsible for our own funding; we are a charity in our own right, and we have to fundraise ourselves to ensure that the services we provide are sustainable. This isn’t always easy.

Funding through local government, the NHS and grant giving organisations can be very competitive. It also restricts what we can do, as we have to deliver within the constraints of that contract. This doesn’t mean it’s not important, it is. But we also need to receive other funds that we can use without restrictions from individuals and companies, so that we can continue to develop services in partnership with our local community. By having access to these non-restricted funds and working with some amazing individuals and organisations, we can provide the support that people tell us they need.

How you can support us

I would encourage anyone that can to volunteer for a local Mind. We have a wide variety of volunteer positions available, from helping in our housing services to being a listening ear on our mental health support line. It gives great insight to how a charity works, working with people with a mental health problem and can potentially lead to a job at the local Mind. Many of our volunteers have moved into paid employment with us. 

And of course, people can also support us by making a donation. A donation to a local Mind really does make a difference and directly helps people within the area of the local Mind. If you would like to make a donation and help change lives in Hull and East Yorkshire, please visit the Hull and East Yorkshire Mind website.

For more information on the work that we do, please visit the Hull and East Yorkshire Mind website or follow us on social media @MindHEY.

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