Mental health charities announce partnership

Health and wellbeing charity Touchstone is forging an alliance with community development organisation Sharing Voices Bradford. The two organisations will collaborate to help boost mental health and wellbeing services across West Yorkshire. Alison Lowe, CEO of Leeds-based Touchstone, said: “I am delighted to be working closely with Sharing Voices Bradford, who provided the national template…

Stress Control Class – Carole’s Story

“…One of the most important aspects of the course was the fact that no one was ever put on the spot or made to feel uncomfortable..” Carole’s story At the beginning of 2015 I had thoughts of harming myself had been regularly visiting my GP and was suffering from severe depression. I had low self-esteem,…

Stress Control Class – Lynne’s Story

Lynne’s Story “Friends had noticed that I wasn’t ‘me’ … sadly many also identified with my feelings but had felt that it was just something that had to be ‘weathered’. I had no idea why I was feeling like I was; I was sad, crying, upset and generally very emotional.  I tried on numerous occasions…

Goal Setting and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

Goal Setting In Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), setting goals is an important and helpful part of therapy but is something that you may be able to start before your therapy begins. Very often, when people first start to think about goals in therapy they may say things like: “I want to feel happy” “I want…

Inclusive Leaders Recognised

ITV News presenter Charlene White took centre stage on 12th May to host the Excellence in Diversity Awards, celebrating inclusive employers and diversity champions. Companies and charities nationwide were honoured at the ceremony at The Queens Hotel in Leeds. Over a thousand nominations had been received showcasing incredible achievements in promoting equality. A panel of judges including…

Feedback from the Sadee Smile diabetes awareness course

Here’s some of the feedback we got from participants on our Sadee Smile diabetes awareness courses aimed at the South Asian communities in Leeds. All the clients referred to below are Pakistani adults, aged 45-60 with either Type II Diabetes or Prediabetes. The clients with Diabetes were either taking medication or aiming to control the…

Creating Dementia Friendly Performances

West Yorkshire Playhouse have just launched a guide for use by other theatres and touring companies on how to adapt shows to be more suitable for audiences who are living with dementia. The guide covers areas such as use of language, making the case for dementia friendly performances, knowing your audience and  running creative sessions…

Dementia Awareness Week – the role of a Dementia Champion

In our third blog post for Dementia Awareness Week 2016, Amina Ditta talks about her role as a Dementia Champion within one of Touchstone’s staff teams.   As a Dementia Champion I have been trying to deliver Dementia Awareness sessions to the team at Kirklees. This has proven to be much more challenging that I…

#IDAHOBIT A long history of oppression and resistance

On International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia, we look at the chequered history of the ongoing quest for equal rights and legal recognition.   1533 – During the reign of Henry VIII, all sexual intercourse between two men was made illegal, punishable by death. Between 1533 and 1558 the law was repealed and then…

Dementia Awareness Week – Dementia Friendly Kirklees Team

  In the fourth of our posts for Dementia Awareness Week 2016, Jane Mackay from Kirklees Advocacy Service talks about the steps her team have made to be supportive of people living with dementia and why it’s so important to her.   Like most other people, my family has had experience of dementia, my Gran…

Preparing for your Cognitive Behavioural Therapy: Regular Eating

Regular eating Many people who feel low in mood or feel anxious struggle to maintain a regular pattern of eating. For some people, their appetite reduces and people may skip meals or reduce their food intake. Others may experience an increase in appetite or a tendency to eat for comfort but find that they become…

Dementia Awareness Week – Carer’s Testimony

In the second of our blog posts for Dementia Awareness Week 2016, a carer talks about his family’s experiences from the time of their father’s diagnosis with dementia to the time of his death. My father was diagnosed with Dementia/Alzheimer in 2001, we as a family didn’t really know what this meant. Our beloved father…

What to Expect at Your First Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Appointment

What to expect at your first cognitive behavioural therapy appointment   A lot of clients get nervous about their first CBT appointment and do not know what to expect. First appointments may vary a little from person to person, but here is an idea of the kind of things you might expect in your first CBT…

“Two Minds” – a poem for Mental Health Awareness Week

To mark the beginning of Mental Health Awareness Week, a user of Touchstone’s services shares a poem that describes some of her experience of living with mental illness.   I‘ve written poetry for as long as I can remember, having my first poem published at the age of 14. Since then I’ve had a poem…

Events to mark International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia in Yorkshire

Progress in overcoming discrimination based on sexual orientation and to ensuring fair treatment for everyone can seem painfully slow at times. So sometimes it’s good to celebrate what’s been achieved already, as well as looking at the road ahead. 17th May is International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (known by the slightly quirky acronym IDAHOBIT)….

Dementia Awareness Week – Dementia Champions

  In the first of a series of posts from staff and service users for Dementia Awareness Week 2016, Touchstone’s Arfan Hanif talks about the Dementia Champions group within the organisation. In 2015 Touchstone, as part of its ‘Working to become Dementia Friendly’ accreditation, set up the Dementia Champions group which represents staff from all…

Sikh Elders Service Newsletter April 2016

You can now download the latest newsletter from Sikh Elders’ Service. The newsletter includes information about: Plans for a Summer trip Cha Da Cup weekly drop in group Silver Surfers – computer and internet training Bhoolay Bisre Yaadein monthly music and social group Report on our Winter Warmth Wellbeing event Download here.

Calderdale Health Awareness Event

Calderdale BME Health Forum invite you to… A FREE HEALTH AWARENESS EVENT Thursday 26th May 11.30am – 2pm Queens Road Neighbourhood Centre, Queens Rd, Halifax HX1 4NE Do you want to know more about local health issues? Any health topics you would like to find out more about? Come along to the BME Health Forum’s…

International Dance Day

The benefits of dancing has been well established, helping to improve not only our physical but also mental wellbeing. And dance holds a special place in the heart of one Touchstone IAPT clinician in particular therefore to coincide with International Day of Dance, Carlyn B, has chosen to share with you the following reflection. By Carlyn…

The Difference Between Living and Existing – A Client Journey

A client who recently attended a Stress Control Class has found the course so helpful that he wanted to share a poem about how he was feeling before accessing therapy. He has then provided a summary about his amazing success since engaging with Leeds IAPT.  If you can relate to how he is feeling, please don’t…

Introducing a new service user forum for Kirklees…!

Back in November 2015 staff and volunteers at Touchstone’s Kirklees Advocacy Service began supporting the service user reps of the Kirklees Mental Health Partnership Board to publish a survey on creating a new mental health forum. A few weeks on and here we are… Meeting of Minds (or MoM for short) has been created out of…

International Day of Happiness

By Sally P The one thing that we all strive for in our lives is to be happy. There are lots of ways that happiness impacts on how we feel; including our health, our levels of creativity and even how much we experience physical pain. One study found that happiness, optimism and life satisfaction are…

“Vada That” by Adam Lowe – for World Poetry Day

To mark World Poetry Day, we’re sharing a poem by Adam Lowe, written in the street slang language of Polari. The poem (and accompanying glossary were featured as Poem of the Week in The Guardian on 12th October 2015. Aunt nell the patter flash and gardy loo! Bijou, she trolls, bold, on lallies slick as…

The Excellence in Diversity Awards announce 2016 shortlist

Diversity Champions and Inclusive Employers shortlisted for Pioneering Diversity Awards Throughout the year, there are some individuals who work tirelessly to remove barriers and put diversity at the very heart of everything they do. This year, on May 12th, The Excellence in Diversity Awards will once again celebrate those who go above and beyond the…

Sylvia Rivera – pioneer of trans activism

To mark Trans Day of Visibility (31st March) we profile the life of a pioneering trans activist. Sylvia Rivera, who was of Puerto Rican and Venezuelan descent, was born in New York City and named Ray Rivera by her parents. She became an orphan at 3 years old and was then raised by her Venezuelan…

Public Health England launches One You

The One You campaign aims to help adults across the country avoid future diseases caused by modern day life. It is aimed to encourage adults, particular those in middle age, to take control of their health to enjoy significant benefits now and in later life. The campaign aims to encourage adults to take more exercise,…

Love Arts seeking artists for mental health arts festival

The Arts and Minds Network would once again like to work in partnership with artists in all mediums, whose work has a connection to mental wellbeing. The annual Love Arts Festival will run this year from 5th – 20th October 2016. Deadline for Submissions is 4pm on Monday 9th May To submit a proposal to contribute…

Touchstone Leadership Masterclass 2016 – Session Two – Rob Vickerman

You are cordially invited to attend this very special event:- Rob Vickerman talking about “Transformational leadership to develop better people and players” Come and hear about improving you and your teams leadership potential When: Tuesday, 19th April 2016 Where: The Enterprise Foundation – Leeds City Centre, Third Floor, Symons House, Belgrave Street, Leeds, LS2 8DD Time: 12 –…