Summer 2019 Newsletter

Welcome to the Summer edition of the CPSL Mind e-bulletin in 2019 – an opportunity for us to share our news and highlight the impact of our work across Cambridgeshire, Peterborough and South Lincolnshire.

Empowering individuals to live their best lives and take positive action to influence the things they care about most is an important aspect of our work. This is evident throughout this e-bulletin.

We’re delighted to have been awarded the county-wide Recovery and Inclusion contract and will be launching our new Good Life Service across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough from September 2019. This service will take a fresh approach to community based wellbeing support using a strengths-based model designed to empower individuals to achieve more connected lives while, at the same time, providing access to more focused support.

This approach has taken learning from our Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) project Resilient Together, which has achieved great outcomes and has been shared nationally as an example of best practice.

We’ll also reflect on the impact of our Changing Lives Counselling and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy service and the contributions made to our organisation by STOP Suicide Campaign Makers, volunteers and fundraisers.

If you would like to know more about our work, to access our services or maybe get involved in some other way, please see our website: www.cpslmind.org.uk or contact us on enquiries@cpslmind.org.uk

Best wishes

Aly Anderson 
Chief Executive Officer

New Recovery and Inclusion Service to Launch in September

In September 2019, we will launch the brand new Recovery and Inclusion service for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough – the Good Life Service – which will replace our existing Wellbeing, Stepping Forward and Support2Recovery services which we currently provide.

The Good Life Service will take a fresh approach to community based wellbeing support and has been developed alongside individuals with lived experience of mental health issues.

We believe that most people – with or without a mental health problem – would actually choose to have a ‘life’ over having a ‘service’ – and we know that a ‘good life’ is best achieved via positive connections within our own communities. That’s why the Good Life Service will be embedded in local communities and delivered by us alongside a range of partners and co-producers across our diverse communities.

The Good Life Service is being funded by Cambridgeshire County Council, Peterborough City Council and Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CCG.

The Good Life Service is underpinned by the following key principles which have been co-produced with individuals in our communities with lived experience of mental health issues:

  • We all have mental health, which fluctuates throughout our lives
  • Support through the tough times needs to be readily accessible
  • Those with lived experience can play a vital role in supporting others
  • We all have strengths, passions and talents we can share
  • Feeling connected is key to positive wellbeing and resilience

We believe everyone has a part to play in community life and the fact that someone has a health problem – be that mental or physical – should not exclude them from playing their part. The Good Life Service will provide strengths-based support that is designed to empower individuals to achieve more connected lives while, at the same time, providing ready access to more focused support when this is required during times of mental distress.

We’re looking forward to launching the Good Life Service in September 2019 alongside our partners.

If you would like to know more about the Good Life Service or would like to get involved please email goodlife@cpslmind.org.uk

Community Development Project Shared by Government

Our Resilient Together community project has been shared as an example of best practice by Government on their official website.

The 3-year initiative aimed to improve wellbeing and resilience in two specific communities – Wisbech and the Southern Fringe of Cambridge – using an innovative Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) approach.

This way of working empowered residents and built social connections resulting in many examples of community-led activity where people used existing knowledge, skills and lived experience to achieve positive, citizen-led change around the things they care most about in their lives.

Between 2016 and 2019, 80 community groups were established, 301 wellness conversations were had and so were 1,711 asset-based conversations.

One of the 80 groups which the project helped to establish is All Sorts Together in Wisbech which invites people to connect, share ideas and get involved in a range of activities together such as arts, crafts and music.

Phyllis, a founding member of the group, said “All Sorts is now a big part of my life. It’s something I can develop and an opportunity to help others. Bringing people together gives me a lot of pleasure. My main motivation is to show others what I can achieve after being brought up being told I would never amount to anything.”

This is just one example of the impact which the Resilient Together project has had on the lives of people in our local communities. You can read about the full impact of our work in our Evaluation Report.

Aly Anderson, our CEO said “It has been a privilege for us at CPSL Mind to develop this project and to witness first-hand the power of asset-based approaches as catalysts for change, both in terms of individual empowerment and of building connected, resilient communities.

Our Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) project has influenced the way we think as a whole organisation and continues to change the way we do things. The concept that everyone has strengths and talents, whatever their situation, underpins our approach to recovery, co-production and wellbeing.” You can read our Practitioner’s Guide to Asset Based Community Development: Sharing Learning from Resilient Together here.

Counselling and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Changing Lives

Our Changing Lives service offers counselling and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) in various locations across Cambridgeshire making a huge impact on people’s lives.

Recently we spoke to one of our counsellors who works with individuals accessing the service to share with you an example of just how life-changing the support can be.

Our counsellor told us the story of Mike, a man who has worked with us to identify and re-frame his negative thinking styles to improve his life in a positive way.

“Mike accessed the Changing Lives Service after suffering with anger issues and depression. After overcoming an unhealthy relationship with drugs, he was left with low self-esteem and his relationships with family members had deteriorated.

Using cognitive restructuring, Mike was able to identify his negative thinking styles, particularly catastrophising, and thus was able to re-frame his thinking with the aid of regular thought logs. By collaboratively setting behavioural activation tasks, such as re-attending the gym, Mike’s mood improved as he developed a sense of purpose, and subsequently a sense of hope for the future.

Additionally, we adopted a compassion focused approach which led Mike to begin to move towards a place of self-acceptance. This was achieved by Mike maintaining a positive self-thoughts diary throughout the work and creating a mantra for himself: ‘I’m doing the best I can’.

Over the course of the treatment Mike has now returned back to work which was a major achievement. Not only has Mike re-engaged with his love of piano and singing, but feels he is in a much happier and healthier state of mind.”

If you’d like to access our Changing Lives service visit our website.

Campaign Maker Challenging Stigma

James Archer (pictured, left) is a STOP Suicide Campaign Maker who has recently been featured in the Hunts Post and the Cambridge Evening News sharing his experiences of suicidal thoughts in a bid to challenge stigma and show others it is OK to talk about suicide.

James, a 36 year old Construction Manager from St Neots, attempted suicide in 2017 after experiencing depression since he was a teenager.

After surviving the attempt, James sought help from his doctor and is now using his experiences and greater understanding to raise awareness amongst others.

As a male construction worker, James belongs to a demographic which has a risk of suicide 3.7 times above the national average. A key element of his campaigning has been to open up conversations about suicide within the construction industry. Telling his colleagues about his experience was one of the most important but challenging things that James has done.

James said “My heart was pounding. You expect people in my job to be big and brave. We are all lads, and I was worried to tell people. One day I sat down all the lads on site and just explained to them what was going on. I told them that sometimes I will have bad days, and others will be good. They were all so supportive, and so many people opened up to me about their own struggles. It has been very empowering.”

He has also launched his own podcast to raise awareness which you can listen to here.

“I am just an average man and I was so worried to talk about how I was feeling. But by doing my podcast I want to normalise it, and if I can help just one person, that would be amazing,” said James.

You can read James’ article in the Hunts Post here.

James is just one of nearly 100 STOP Suicide Campaign Makers doing amazing work sharing resources, information and experiences across our region encouraging direct conversations about suicide. If you’d like to get involved visit stopsuicidepledge.org/get-involved.

Celebrating our Volunteers

Ellie, volunteer Campaigns and Communications Assistant, with her dog Belle

Volunteers are a vital part of the work we do to promote positive wellbeing across our communities and campaign against the stigma and discrimination faced by so many.

Between 1st and 7th June we celebrated the contributions of several of our volunteers via our social media channels to mark Volunteers’ Week.

Ellie (pictured) has volunteered 4 days a week over the past 9 months as a Campaigns and Communications Assistant to gain experience during a placement year from university. She has been a huge asset to our work – particularly around Resilient Together and our Stress LESS campaign.

Ellie says “volunteering for CPSL Mind has given me new skills and helped develop my confidence in the workplace. Helping others is a fulfilling way to spend your time and great fun!”

James, volunteer Administration Assistant, says “Volunteering at CPSL Mind is a great way to get work experience, everyone is really lovely and it’s a fantastic cause!”

Rachel, who has volunteered in several roles across our organisation, believes “volunteering gives you a purpose. Having a purpose in life is important and valuable and motivates us to do things.”

Rachel has always had an interest in working with people and helping others. Her own experiences accessing the support services we offer led her to joining our organisation. Rachel believes that support “works both ways”, saying “the service supported me and now I can support the service. Despite having my own issues, there are positive things I can do to support others.”

Sebastiano, who volunteers as a Hearing Voices Groups Co-Facilitator, says “Being a volunteer with CPSL Mind gave me the possibility to be in contact with people who need help and support. I like feeling useful to them & having a positive impact on their lives.”

Alex, a volunteer Co-Facilitator in our Personality Disorder Support Group, says “I might not be here today if it weren’t for the work I’ve done with CPSL Mind, it’s a privilege to give something back.”

We want to say a massive thank you to all of our volunteers across our organisation for the incredible support they offer. If you’re interested in joining us as a volunteer visit our website.

Fundraising Endurance and Bravery

A massive thank you to everyone who supports our work and fundraises for us. We couldn’t achieve what we do without you.

Here are few recent examples of incredible fundraising feats achieved by our supporters:

We’d like to say a huge thank you to Aidan Joy who put his body and mind through the gruelling challenge of cycling 1,000 miles between Land’s End and John O’Groats over 14 days.

Aidan took on the challenge in memory of Mandy, his sister-in-law, who died by suicide in 2017 and his journey was documented daily on St Neot’s Black Cat Radio station.

An amazing £4,000 was raised including a generous donation from a gentleman called Ted in memory of his wife Jennifer.

Read more about Aidan’s incredible feat of endurance…

A massive thank you also to El from El’s Barbershop in St Ives who bravely chopped off his long locks to raise a fantastic £1,364 for our work.

El sacrificed his long hair in memory of friend, and former client, Carl who died by suicide last year.

Read more of El’s story and see the results of his haircut…

If you feel inspired to raise funds to support our work please visit cpslmind.org.uk/join-us/fundraise-for-us and get in touch.