I had long wondered how Mind was able to provide life-changing mental health support that had a local focus, but with a national reach. In the end, the answer was quite simple really - and it comes in the form of local Minds.
At the beginning of May I embarked on an exciting new journey as Head of Networks (Wales), a role that sees me working closely with local Minds in Wales and supporting them to help more people living with a mental health problem.
Day one of the role saw me make the trip to North Wales, visiting my first ever local Mind in Conwy Mind, before heading over to Vale of Clwyd Mind, and it didn’t take long for me to realise that the local Mind network is a very special place indeed, the beating heart of their communities in which they reside and a lifeline to so many.
The hyperlocal support responding directly to the needs of communities is impressive, and when you consider there are 19 local Minds across Wales providing mental health support for children, young people and adults, the scale of the offer is staggering and quite unique. With services including talking therapies, crisis helplines, drop-in centres, employment and training schemes, counselling and befriending, there is much support on offer and tailored to respond to need.
On the road
One of the local Minds I have been fortunate to visit recently is Mind Pembrokeshire, which also saw a visit from Deputy Minister for Mental Health and Wellbeing, Lynne Neagle MS on the same day. It was during this visit, that I was in awe of the passion demonstrated by the service delivery team to make a difference to people’s lives as they talked about the type of support they provide. I also had the pleasure of meeting some people who use the services of Mind Pembrokeshire from their location in Haverfordwest.
One person I was chatting to told me how Mind Pembrokeshire had quite literally saved their life and has since been provided a safe space to connect regularly with others and provided them with a real sense of purpose through a fantastic outdoor project. This is of course just one story, and with a reach of 31,000 there are many more stories tell.
Services and support
Of those 31,000 people engaged in local Mind services in Wales in the last year, either through digital channels or face to face engagement, this has been achieved across a wide range of community relevant support and services that meet the needs within their locality, with this support typically coming at no cost. One of these services is supported self-help, which is a free guided self-help course for anyone over the age of 18 in Wales, in which people can sign up to themselves, or through their GP or another health professional. You can find out more here.
Of course, there are many more services available and whether you want to access peer support in Aberystwyth or mindfulness sessions in Ystradgynlais, there is a local Mind out there to support with what you need.
What does the future hold?
As the cost of living crisis continues to take hold, it is only natural that this will begin to impact on the mental health of our communities, but just as local Minds continued to support through the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic, you can guarantee they will be here to support through the current challenges facing our communities.
I am now three months into the role, and I could not be prouder to say that I work for Mind and I am very much looking forward to working closely with local Mind colleagues to ensure that people living with a mental health problem gets both the support and respect they deserve.
If you or anyone you know is living with a mental health problem, then please do not hesitate to reach out to one of the local Minds in your area to see the range of services and support available.
Information & Support
When you’re living with a mental health problem, or supporting someone who is, having access to the right information - about a condition, treatment options, or practical issues - is vital. Visit our information pages to find out more.
Share your story with others
Blogs and stories can show that people with mental health problems are cared about, understood and listened to. We can use it to challenge the status quo and change attitudes.