Winter 2019 Newsletter

Welcome to the first 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.

The year may have only just begun but we already have lots to celebrate including the enormous contribution made by Rachel, our longest serving volunteer, who has now been with us for 15 years!

Elsewhere, our area’s ground-breaking crisis support service has received further national recognition, as has our GP suicide prevention training project. See also how our Resilient Together Asset Based Community Development team joined residents in celebration of community activity in Wisbech and join us as we reflect on #timetotalk day and the recent efforts of just some of our fantastic 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: or contact us on

Best wishes

Aly Anderson 
Chief Executive Officer

Celebrating Rachel’s 15 Years at CPSL Mind

Meet Rachel, our amazing longest-serving volunteer, who has been sharing her skills and kindness with our charity for 15 years and counting!

Rachel has always had an interest in working with people and helping others. Her own experiences of using the support services we offer, as well as a family history of mental health challenges, led her to joining the Advocacy Service, which previously made up part of our work, before taking up her current role with our Stepping Forward project. 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”.

Holding a GNVQ in Health and Social Care as well as a degree in Applied Social Studies, Rachel states she is proud to “use what I learnt at college and university to help others”. Volunteering has also offered plenty of development opportunities as Rachel has undertaken a national advocacy qualification and has progressed in her Stepping Forward role to leading a peer support group. Although these challenges were initially daunting for Rachel, she says she has found colleagues at CPSL Mind “very supportive and encouraging” and has relished in the opportunities to grow and develop.

Volunteering has formed an integral part of Rachel’s life enabling her to use her skills, connect with other people and grow in confidence. She says “volunteering gives you a purpose. Having a purpose in life is important and valuable and motivates us to do things. I go home and think ‘I’ve done something useful today’.” Rachel says her favourite part of the role is when “people say thank you and you see you’ve made a real difference to their lives.” She says at that point “I smile and think ‘my job is done’.”

As a result of her passion for volunteering, Rachel regularly recommends volunteering to others. She states that some people seem surprised at her long-term volunteering despite her mental health struggles. People wonder “how can you help a service if you are dealing with your own issues?” and this can act as a barrier for others who would gain a lot from volunteering themselves. Volunteer peer support from others who are experiencing similar challenges to those accessing the service is invaluable.

Rachel says what’s important for people using the service is “just being able to talk to someone who understands”. She highlights that she learns from service users in the group just as much as they learn from her. She loves developing the Voices Matter Hearing Voices group and encouraging independence and autonomy from the individuals who attend. Her greatest pleasure is seeing others “go through their journey of being in a group to supporting others once they gain confidence”.

Another aspect Rachel enjoys is the social side of her volunteering saying “CPSL Mind does encourage volunteers to join in with social activities and I particularly enjoyed the Christmas party!”. She also wanted the opportunity to say “Thank you to (CPSL) Mind for giving me this opportunity to be here for so long!”.

We’d like to thank Rachel for the incredible contribution she has made to our charity and the lives of countless local people who have been supported by her kindness, generosity and passion!

CPSL Mind offers a variety of volunteering opportunities for anybody who is passionate about mental health – and we actively encourage people who use or have used our services to get involved.

If you, like Rachel, are interested in volunteering opportunities or would like to discuss what you could bring to our organisation then we’d love to talk to you! Please visit our website for more information.

First Response Service Wins Top Award

The First Response Service, which has provided help and support to nearly 40,000 callers in mental health crisis in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough in just two years, has been honoured again at a prestigious ceremony winning the Mental Health Initiative prize at the General Practice Awards.

The service is a joint initiative involving health providers, commissioners, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group, police and us at CPSL Mind. A key part of the service is that people can be referred to Sanctuaries – one in Cambridge and another in Peterborough – which our team run.

Read more…

GP Training Highlighted at National Conference

We are delighted that the ongoing success of our free Suicide Mitigation Training for GPs and Primary Care Staff across the region was showcased at the National Suicide Prevention Alliance (NSPA) Conference in London earlier this month.

Kate Beed, our GP Training Cordinator and Engagement Lead, and Dr Melanie D’Souza delivered a fantastic talk at the event demonstrating the work which has been delivered so far. Over 90 GPs across the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) have already completed the training and we continue to deliver further sessions.

The training aims to provide GPs and Primary Care staff with:

  • An understanding of suicidal thinking
  • An evidence-based clinical tool that enables them to assess and triage a suicidal patient
  • The knowledge and confidence to support a patient in a compassionate way
  • The ability to co-produce a safety plan with a patient to support them to stay safe

The feedback received from GPs who have undertaken the sessions so far has been incredibly positive with some calling the training “outstanding” and stating that it “will change (the GP) practice”.

For more information about the training, including how to book for your practice, visit our website.

We continue to be committed to suicide prevention work across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough as demonstrated by our STOP Suicide campaign and associated training.

Resilient Together – Building Communities

Our Resilient Together project aimed to improve wellbeing and resilience within two communities – Wisbech and the Southern Fringe of Cambridge. This was achieved by using an Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) approach to build social connections, raise awareness about wellbeing and mental health and empower residents to get involved in their community.

This video captures the Wisbech Get-Together event at which the local community celebrated their successes and connected with one another to explore what positive aspects they could develop in their town…

#TimetoTalk Day 2019

Thursday 7th February was Time to Change’s ‘Time to Talk’ day which seeks to encourage conversations about mental health across the UK and beyond.

We got involved with the day by setting aside time for our staff and volunteers to get together to share food, conversation and friendship at each of our offices, in Cambridge, Peterborough and St Neots, and at our two Sanctuaries which offer crisis support for individuals every day between 6pm and 1am.

As always, we also took the opportunity to get involved on social media sharing important messages from our STOP Suicide campaign: 

We hope that you were able to join in with the day and hold your own conversations about mental health too. No matter how big or small, they’re all so important in raising awareness.

Singing for Mental Health

Our staff and volunteers joined over 400 people singing Fauré’s Requiem as part of the ‘Big Sing’ hosted by Great St. Mary’s and the New Cambridge Singers in January to fund-raise for our services.

An amazing amount of just over £7000 was raised from the event to support our work!

Once again, we’d like to say thank you to everyone who raises the money which allows us to continue the work which we do.

If you or your organisation would like to be involved with fundraising visit our website and get in touch.