Christmas 2018 Newsletter

Wishing you a Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year!
Make this season bright with joy, peace, love and hope.

christmas bulletinWelcome to this Christmas edition of the CPSL Mind e-bulletin – an opportunity for us to share our news and highlight the impact of our work across Cambridgeshire, Peterborough and South Lincolnshire.

Christmas may be a festive period, but it can also be a tough time for some. In this edition we offer some top tips for coping with seasonal stress and staying well.

We also focus on some of our recent campaigns activity and the work of our Perinatal Service; the impact that receiving mental health support can have on individual lives and the successes of two talented individuals who have both overcome challenges to pursue their passions – acting and photography.

If you would like to know more about our work, to access our services or maybe get involved in some other way, please contact us on

Best wishes

Aly Anderson
Chief Executive Officer

Reality Checked: Local Play Raises Awareness

Between Thursday 14th and Saturday 17th November, Alan Hooks, a resident of March, Cambridgeshire, performed his latest stigma-tackling play – “Reality Checked, (Back to Reality)” – at March Community Centre.

The performances brought a greater understanding of mental health issues to the local community in Fenland by addressing issues including anxiety and grief using Alan’s own experiences.

This followed the success of Alan’s play “Reality Check”, which received a glowing review from the National Operatic and Dramatic Association (NODA) after being performed at the Town Hall in March in 2013, and the initial audience feedback for this latest show was similarly positive.Alan, aged 43, experienced mental health crisis when he was 32 years old and received support from specialist mental health teams to aid his recovery. A big factor in maintaining his wellbeing though, has been through writing and acting.

Sharing his experiences through his performances to support others is now a key goal for Alan:

“I have experienced mental health problems my whole life so far. To me acting was always a way to explore different emotions and sides to my character.”

“It is my aim to bring a bit more understanding about mental health problems but in a light and funny way.”

Staff members from CPSL Mind supported the performances by providing information for audience members and having a presence at the Friday 16th November performance to discuss the themes raised in the play.

Aly Anderson, CEO of CPSL Mind, said “We were delighted to be involved with such a thought-provoking play which has been led by a member of our local community.”

“The way Alan has overcome challenges in his own life and is now using his experiences to raise important themes around mental wellbeing is inspirational. We hope that community-led events like this will continue to raise awareness and encourage open conversations about mental health”.

Coping with Christmas Pressures

christmas pressuresChristmas can be a difficult time for many of us. Some of the most common struggles can be related to the pressure and expectation of being happy and enjoying the festive season. For some it can be a painful reminder of having lost a loved one who cannot longer be here with us. Stress can be also a result of financial difficulties or family disputes that cannot be resolved easily.

The following simple five ways to wellbeing can help you cope with the pressures:


  •  Talk to friends and family
  •  Share pressures and concerns
  •  Volunteer in your community
  •  Attend groups (e.g. book reading clubs in your local library)
  •  Identify your support network
  •  Connect with yourself, make time for yourself over the busy period
  •  Be kind to yourself, do things that make you happy

Be Active

  • Go for a winter walk and stretch your legs after your Christmas meal
  • Join in Christmas activities/games
  • Keep some routine by adapting your usual routine around the Christmas period

Take Notice

  • Notice and acknowledge how you are feeling this Christmas
  • Listen to your body, do you need to take a break?
  • Be mindful, use your senses to experience the day
  • Practice mindful breathing

Keep Learning

  • Continue learning about yourself! Try to do one enjoyable thing for yourself every day
  • Try something new over Christmas; bake something new, get creative and make some presents
  • Learn about yourself and your coping strategies which could benefit you for all times of the year


  • There are many ways to give to others
  • Don’t forget the importance of giving to yourself too!
  • You could arrange a shared experience as a gift for a friend or a loved one
  • Volunteer for a charity or local community organisation
  • Cook or bake for someone else

David Picknell’s Story

David PicknellDavid Picknell tells his story of experiencing difficulties with his mental health, seeking help and recovery…

“2016 was a difficult year, I was struggling at work with anxiety and depression. Ending my career as a graphic designer at the beginning of 2017.

I was in a bad place and, after receiving support from Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT), I was referred to CPSL Mind for help. CPSL Mind is a fantastic service. They have helped me to acknowledge and understand my problems.

It’s taken a year but with the help of Nicola, a Wellbeing and Recovery Worker, I have started to regain my confidence, achieved a part time job in retail and renewed an urge to succeed. I have also met with others through group therapy. It has been very rewarding learning about the groups’ experiences and this has helped me to deal with my own problems.

My sessions with CPSL Mind came to an end in September, since then I have been pursuing an opportunity to become a freelance photographer. I am in the very early stages but it is something I would not have dreamed of before.

Please check out my photography website

I want to say a big thank you to Nicola and CPSL Mind for helping me regain a sense of who I am and for giving me a new lease of life. They have been wonderful.”

Exciting initiatives for Connecting Mums and Mums Matter

Connecting MumsIt has been an exciting time for our Perinatal Services which continue to grow and support Mums across our region.

In August, we began hosting a volunteer led Mums’ Monthly Peer Support Group for those that have accessed our Perinatal Service. Our volunteer Katie has had an average of 10 Mums attend each month and encourages the Mums to deliver a mini workshop and share their skills at each session. So far we have had Mums deliver sessions on hairdressing, makeup application and baking.

Following the delivery of a Mums Matter course in St Neots, funded by The Rotary Club of St Neots St Marys, two of the Mums who accessed this course also started their own peer support group. We supported the group in the initial set up and now the sessions are being delivered for Mums at The Eatons Children’s Centre in St Neots. This group is for mums who are looking to connect with other mums and there is no age limit to how old their children are.

For more information on this call The Eatons Children’s Centre for more details on 01480 358340.

We are also currently delivering a Connecting Mums course in Stamford which has been funded by Burghley Golf Club and is supported by MindSpace. MindSpace is a charity in Stamford that was setup over a year ago to bring people together with mental health challenges. We couldn’t have done this without them so a big thank you to MindSpace for all of their support and help.

If you’d like to find out more about the Perinatal Services which we offer across the region please visit our page.

World Mental Health Day: The S****** Word

Did you see our latest STOP Suicide campaign videos which were released for World Mental Health Day on 10th October 2018?

So far the 2 videos combined have racked up over 75,000 views on our YouTube channel. You can view both videos here.

You can also download resources, including posters, from our website to share in your community in gyms, universities, workplaces or anywhere else you can think of.

Keep spreading the word and preventing suicide!

Getting Involved with Fundraising!

There is always lots of amazing fundraising work being done by the individuals and organisations who support us in collaboration with our fundraising team. However, over the next few months staff and volunteers from across CPSL Mind are putting on their Santa costumes and warming up their vocal chords to get involved!

Stamford Santa Run

The Twelfth Stamford Santa Fun Run, organised by Rotary Club of Stamford Burghley Trust Fund, was held on Sunday 9 December 2018 in Burghley Park.

This year our staff and volunteers put on their Santa suits and took part to help raise money for a number of causes including CPSL Mind.

We’re hoping to share images of the event with you in the February 2019 newsletter!

The Big Sing

The ‘Big Sing’ event put on by New Cambridge Singers is taking place at 2pm on Saturday 19 January 2019 in Great St Mary’s Church, Cambridge and will raise money for our work at CPSL Mind.

Our staff and volunteers will be present to join in with the singing and you could be too!

If you’d like to attend and help raise money for our services you can register here.


50000reasonsOn 10th December, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough’s Public Health Team launched the #50000reasons campaign which you can view here:

It encourages individuals to make small gestures that have a big impact on the 50,000 people aged over 65 who are potentially at risk of loneliness who live in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.