END OF YEAR REPORT 2016 – 2017

Changing lives across the North East

Hello to our funders and supporters! A happy 2018 from all the team at Anxious Minds, this is my first ever report as Chief Executive, so if I have made any mistakes, or you require any further information, please forgive me and don’t hesitate to get in touch. Without your support, we would have never achieved so much this year and got this charity off the ground and helped change so many lives for the better here in the North East, so I would like to personally thank you and take this opportunity to tell you how helpful your funding has been in 2017.

Your funding paid to help us set up our projects. Our team are mainly volunteers and sessional staff, this enables the charity to deliver more support to more people with limited funding and keep the cost of the overall running of the charity to a minimum.

Why we do this?

The National Statistics Health Survey for England 2016 revealed that the prevalence of mental illness is higher in the North East than any other part of the UK. The North East currently has 33% of adults diagnosed with common mental disorders, which is the highest rate in the country, with the rates being only 22% in London and 23% in the South West. Because of this, the mental health services in the North East are being stretched to their limits and often service users must wait anywhere from six months to one year to access free counselling and therapy services and even then, it is limited support.

What Did We do?

Anxious Minds first project, The Let’s Talk Project was first funded by the lottery (Awards For All), to provide early intervention and long-term support for people with various Mental Health conditions, specialising in those that suffer from anxiety and depression, by providing weekly education-based, peer support groups and workshops, teaching people how to manage and overcome anxiety and depression. The sessions we provided for our service users were all completely unique and specifically designed by people with life experience of mental illness who have recovered or learned to manage their conditions and live healthier lives. We used scientifically proven relaxation techniques and tools, integrated with mindfulness and cognitive behavioural therapy techniques to teach our service users things they can do to help themselves when in the thralls of anxiety and or depression.

This project brought together hundreds of people that thought they were alone, suffering from their mental health issues. These people otherwise would have got no other support, and it has educated and shown so many people how they can help themselves giving them back control of their own lives and bringing together a community ready to help themselves.

Together we can beat anxiety and depression.

This got the charity shortlisted in the big lottery’s People’s choice competition making it through to round 3, with your support we managed to keep this project going by securing more funding from the Community Foundation and have provided these services to around 700 service users over the last 2 years. Because the charity now has one part-time member of staff, somebody working in the office and managing projects, we managed to secure over £50,000 in funding, with this money we expanded The Let’s Talk Project across Newcastle and North Tyneside, and joined with CAMEO counselling service and now provide fully qualified and experienced Counsellors and Psychotherapist’s all registered with either the BACP or UKCP, they have provided counselling to over 160 service users with a waiting list of less than a week and up to 18 sessions are available.

We at Anxious Minds also recognise that there is no time limit on recovery, and some people don’t respond to counselling, so one of the charity’s aims was to provide service users with long-term support, where they can feel safe and comfortable to attend groups, workshops and Well-being Classes for as long as they feel they need, as and when they feel is necessary, so we have just opened The Hope Recovery Centre in Meadow Well connected were we provide an art therapy program, garden project, mindfulness and anxiety workshops.

Our projects are accessed on a self-referral basis, which can alleviate the pressure that comes with the stigma associated with Mental Health issues, which may have otherwise prevented them from seeking help. We also linked our in-house groups to our online community website, YouTube channel, and Facebook closed group, giving service users more of a community connection to Anxious Minds and enabling them to ask questions outside of the peer support groups and enabling the team to offer a little bit more support for those that needed it over 450 service users.

The difference we have made to our community We provide services in some of the North East’s most highly deprived and challenging areas. Our services are a lifeline to a lot of people, taking referrals in from the NHS, North Tyneside and Newcastle Crisis and Mental Health teams, Newcastle and North Tyneside Councils, local GP’s and other charities, over 900 service users in the last 2 years, this multi-award-winning charity is starting to make its mark, by providing more mental health services and support here in the North East but still have a long way to go.
You can read some of the amazing comments that service users have made about our services by visiting HealthWatch North Tyneside.

Educating the future

As well as providing support for hundreds of people, your funding also gave us the opportunity to offer three work placements for a year to psychology students from Northumberland University
and four work placements and supervision to counselling students from Tyne Metropolitan College.

We are so proud of all our student’s Anxious minds to have been lucky enough to have some amazingly talented young people attached to the charity over the last year. Ruth Eccle has just been awarded the first prize for her dissertation. All our students expressed how valuable the opportunity of working with Anxious Minds was to their development.

Operational Highlights

I believe the main highlights of this year is the amount of success we have had educating people to help themselves and changing negative feelings to positive, determined attitudes. We are currently analysing the data from the Let’s talk project, so as we move forward we can improve these services. Some of the feedback we received indicates that our support groups are totally different to other groups being delivered. Anxious Minds Let’s talk project focused on building a community of North East people supporting each other, educating them to use self-help tools to help themselves, and having a positive attitude when dealing with their mental health conditions. It’s so easy to become a victim and sit back and wait for others to help you, and sometimes when we are ill we forget just how important it is to help yourself and take back some of that responsibility. The most positive highlight of this year is the lives that we have changed.

Armed Forces Covenant

SILVER AWARD – We are delighted to hear that Anxious Minds had received the Silver Covenant Award, along with North Tyneside NHS Trust, and Gateshead Council, for our work and support to the Armed Forces community. We are very proud of the work we do to support those who serve.

North Tyneside Silver Commendation for Voluntary Services

Edward Dean founder and Chief Executive of Anxious Minds was awarded a commendation silver award from North Tyneside Council for all our hard work in the charity sector. North East actress and mental health champion, Denise Welch, has become a patron of the charity and actively promotes us along with BBC Radio’s Anna Foster. Both Denise and Anna attended our second-year anniversary dinner night.

Looking Ahead

The NHS mental health services are at breaking point as budgets are being cut, and people are left on waiting lists for years, then even when you get the chance to get some support, it is limited, and you must attend at the time and date stated or miss an appointment and you’re removed from the list and put on the bottom again. There is no health without mental health, and people are struggling to manage with day-to-day life, and are feeling abandoned because their injuries cannot be seen. Funding in the charity sector is getting much harder to find, Anxious Minds is focusing all its efforts to provide as many professional services as possible and running the charity on few paid staff as we can, allowing most of our funds to go back into providing much-needed services.

We are expanding our counselling and psychotherapy services from 3 to 7 by taking on more students, who will be supervised by our experienced professional sessional staff. We will also be working with our service users to get them back into the community by retraining them to go back into work or take a voluntary placement, by providing back to work skills and workshops,
delivering a phased return approach into voluntary placements until they are capable of managing a part-time position. We will then support them to find work with the understanding that they can access our mental health support whenever they feel they need to in the evenings. This will all be done under the supervision and support of our mental health professionals and peer support workers.

We Need Your Continuous Support

As a new charity finding funding is particularly hard. Anxious Minds was set up because of the lack of good quality mental health support here in the North East. Apart from the Operational Manager’s part-time wage, achieved through Greggs Funding., 100% of our funding goes towards providing much-needed services. Thanks to your support we are already making a difference in the lives of people who otherwise would have been abandoned to manage alone. Anxiety and depression are becoming a global problem, as in today’s modern society we are all working a lot harder and are constantly connected to others with the advances in technology, putting ourselves under a lot more stress than ever before. Anxious Minds supports people to help them recover from anxiety and depression and educates them to look after themselves a little better, teaching them how to relax and unplug from this fast pace, getting people to talk to each other, and rebuilding community spirit. As Chief Executive, I have no doubt the Let’s talk project has changed lives for the better, it has given strength, hope and courage to the people we serve and has educated them to look after themselves to a greater degree.