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Anxious Minds: Transforming Lives in the Northeast with Limited Funds

improving north east mental health

Anxious Minds, founded in 2015, is a remarkable charity dedicated to improving the mental health of individuals across the North East of England. The charity addresses critical mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, PTSD and the aftermath of abuse. Since its start Anxious Minds has significantly impacted the lives of countless individuals, providing essential services and support.

Comprehensive Services

Anxious Minds offers a wide range of services designed to support mental health and well-being. These include:

  • Peer Support Groups: Facilitated by trained professionals, these groups offer a safe space for individuals to share their experiences and support each other.
  • Counselling Services: With over 25 counsellors and three clinical supervisors across two centres, Anxious Minds provides professional counselling to those in distress.
  • Workshops and Training: Educational programs on mental health topics such as stress management, mindfulness and emotional resilience.
  • Online Resources: Accessible self-help guides, educational articles, and online therapy sessions.
  • Veteran Support: The North East Veteran Recovery College supports veterans and their families, offering tailored mental health and addiction services.
  • Outdoor Therapy: Utilising the healing power of nature, this project has been featured on BBC Look North multiple times.
  • Addiction Recovery: In partnership with SMART UK, Anxious Minds offers support for individuals struggling with addiction.
  • Community Engagement: The charity’s Veteran and Community Kitchen provides hot meals to hundreds of people in need every week.

Impact and Recognition

Anxious Minds has received numerous awards for its outstanding work, including the Prime Minister’s Point of Light Award and the Mental Health Charity of the Year award. The charity’s innovative approaches, such as the Let’s Talk Project, have transformed the lives of over 700 people by providing a supportive community and expert advice. Anxious Minds’ services have grown significantly, with over 19,000 people benefiting from their counselling, support groups and educational programs in the past two years.

Adapting During the Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic posed significant challenges, yet Anxious Minds continued to provide vital mental health support. They adapted their services to meet the changing needs of the community, addressing issues such as emotional stress, loss, and domestic violence.

Key Support and Funding

Despite limited financial resources, Anxious Minds has secured funding from major grant makers, including The Trusthouse Charitable Foundation, The Veteran Foundation, and The National Lottery Community Fund. This support has been crucial in enabling the charity to expand its services and reach more individuals in need.

Introduction to Mental Health in the North East

The North East of England has big mental health issues. A 2016 survey showed that more people here struggle with their mental health than anywhere else in the UK. About 1 in every 4 people in the UK face mental health problems.

This can affect their daily life, relationships, or their health. In the North East, we also see a lot of mental health problems in young people. There are high levels of self-harm and alcohol and drug use. This shows we need to do more to help people with their mental health.

Mental Health Statistics

Life in the UK is often very busy. It’s important to look after our mental, physical, and emotional health. Doing exercise and spending time in nature can make you feel happier and calmer. But, in the North East, more and more people are feeling sad, anxious or alone.

These feelings might come from difficult events in life. People can get help from counselling, CBT or support groups. There is also help online, medication and other types of therapies.

They provide counselling, mentoring, and creative activities. In the North East, Anxious Minds is doing great work. They offer support for people in distress, like counselling and day services. There are other groups in the North East too, focusing on mental health support.

“Five steps to mental wellbeing include connecting with others, being active, lifelong learning, giving to others and practicing mindfulness.”

These efforts in the North East make a big difference. They help those struggling with mental health. The work done by these groups and the North East’s people means we’re moving forward. There’s still work to do, but we can make things better.

The Origin of Anxious Minds

anxious minds

Anxious Minds was established in 2015 by Edward Dean,driven by his personal battles with mental health issues, PTSD and clinical depression and the lack of accessible support services available. Using his war pension to fund the charity, Edward was determined to make a difference after experiencing first hand the difficulties in accessing timely and effective mental health care.

Edward recognised the urgent need for a community-based charity dedicated to supporting individuals facing similar challenges. His own struggles highlighted the severe gap in mental health services, as he had sought help but found none, leading to the loss of everything he had. This profound experience fueled his commitment to create Anxious Minds, providing hope and support to those in need.

With a mission to enhance mental well-being and deliver high-quality, accessible, and effective support, Anxious Minds embarked on its journey. Founded on the core values of compassion, inclusivity and empowerment, the charity strives to create a community where everyone, regardless of their background or circumstances, can receive the help they need.

Ten years later, Edward Dean remains a volunteer CEO, dedicated to the cause. He humbly states,

“It’s not about me; it’s about people like me who, at their darkest moments, reach out for support and are met with closed doors.”

Early Challenges and Growth

Initially, the charity faced significant challenges, including limited financial resources and a small team. However, driven by a passionate commitment to mental health advocacy, Anxious Minds quickly began to make a positive impact. The charity’s early efforts focused on providing peer support groups, counselling services and educational workshops designed to help individuals manage their mental health effectively.

Community Support and Expansion

Over time, Anxious Minds gained the support of various community members, volunteers and organisations. This support was instrumental in the charity’s growth and allowed it to expand its services to meet the increasing demand for mental health support in the North East of England. The dedication and hard work of the team, many of whom had personal experiences with mental health issues, helped to create a supportive and understanding environment for service users.

Recognition and Continued Commitment

As Anxious Minds continued to grow, it received recognition for its outstanding work in the mental health sector. Awards such as the Prime Minister’s Point of Light Award and the Mental Health Charity of the Year award highlighted the charity’s significant contributions to the community.

Today, Anxious Minds remains dedicated to its mission, providing a wide range of services to support individuals with mental health challenges. The charity continues to adapt and expand its offerings, ensuring that it can meet the evolving needs of the community and provide vital support to those in crisis.

The team at Anxious Minds includes people who have faced mental illness. They use their own experiences to help others. This approach has created a caring community where everyone feels supported.

They provide many services such as peer groups, workshops, and individual counselling. Online resources are also available. By offering a wide range of help, over 700 people have been supported in the last two years. They aim to reduce the stigma around mental health issues.

In the North East, mental health support is greatly needed. This area reports the highest number of people with mental health issues in the UK. Anxious Minds works hard to reach more people and offer greater support.

Anxious Minds is making its services even better. They plan to increase counselling and psychotherapy from 3 to 7 areas. This will help more people in the North East get the support they need.

They also offer online counselling, which starts from £25 per session. This is much cheaper than most online options. As a result, about 200 people get help every week through their website, with short waiting times.

Anxious Minds has become a key support for those in the North East facing mental health issues. It has helped by offering a welcoming space, reducing stigma and making support easy to find and afford.

Anxious Minds faces significant challenges in securing the necessary funding. Despite these financial hurdles, the charity’s dedicated staff work tirelessly, often earning minimum wage and putting in countless unpaid hours. Additionally, they are supported by a remarkable team of volunteers who share their commitment to improving mental health in the community. So next time you are raising funds for charity think of Anxious Minds.

If you want to help Anxious Minds play the Mental Health Lottery or Take on the Mental Health Challenge and fundrise for them.

What People Say About Their Support Groups

Anxious Minds is all about helping people take control of their mental health. Their groups and workshops are led by those who have been there. This makes a huge impact on how participants learn to cope and help themselves. It also fights the shame often linked to mental health and builds a caring community.

Recovery is seen as an ongoing process without a fixed end date. Anxious Minds provides support that lasts, allowing people to use their services when they need to. This long-term care is really making a difference in the North East. It’s helping many people with mental health challenges to live better lives.

“Anxious Minds’ peer-led support groups have been a lifeline for me. Being able to connect with others who truly understand what I’m going through has been invaluable in my recovery journey.”

Anxious Minds, is also set to tackles domestic abuse in the North East. It looks at power dynamics and offers assistance to those who have suffered abuse.

To find out more about Anxious Minds and how they can help, get in touch at 0191 262 0305 or look at their website

Future Aspirations and Ongoing Commitment

Despite the numerous challenges charities face today, Anxious Minds remains steadfast in its commitment to expand its counselling and psychotherapy services, enabling them to bring in more qualified staff to assist those in need.

The charity also aims to facilitate community reintegration by offering work skills and volunteer opportunities. This step-by-step approach is managed by mental health professionals and individuals with lived experience, ensuring that each person receives the tailored support necessary to improve their mental health and gain independence.

Furthermore, Anxious Minds continually strives to innovate and enhance its support for the North East community. Their ongoing efforts to expand services align with their mission of providing essential mental health care, demonstrating their profound commitment to helping those in need.

Service Details
Counselling and Psychotherapy Anxious Minds plans to increase the number of qualified professionals available to support service users.
Community Reintegration The charity aims to provide its clients with back-to-work skills and voluntary placements to aid their recovery and reintegration.
Tailored Support Anxious Minds’ phased approach, overseen by mental health professionals and peer support workers, ensures individuals receive the support they need to manage their mental health.


Anxious Minds has become essential for those in the North East who struggle with their mental health. Despite having limited resources, the charity impacted over 19,000 people. They offer peer support, counselling and workshops, which empower service users to manage their mental health better. Anxious Minds works closely with the NHS and local authorities. This collaboration breaks barriers and improves access to crucial support.

The North East faces big challenges in mental health. Thus, Anxious Minds’ work is vital, offering a compassionate response. It shows how a small charity, with limited resources, can truly help the community. Anxious Minds focuses on empowering people. Their services include counselling and outdoor therapy, which has changed many lives for the better.

Looking ahead, Anxious Minds aims to keep meeting the area’s mental health needs. With local and community support, the charity plans to grow. This growth will help it reach more people and make a deeper impact. 

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