Grief and mental health

I originally wrote this blog in November 2014, 5 months after my dad had died. I was shocked at the level of despair I was experiencing and so felt unable to share my thoughts at that time. Now, on the eve of the anniversary of my dad’s death and to celebrate Mental Health Awareness Week,…

Fun and fundraising – the Tour de Touchstone II

After two staff members blazed the way last year, with their tandem cycle ride to all of Touchstone’s office, this year lots of Touchstone staff and volunteers got in on the act, participating in a 13.3 mile themed relay from the centre of Dewsbury to Chapeltown in Leeds. Stages included silly walks, super hero costumes, egg’n’spoon and pram pushing. While…

Mental health advocacy on hospital ward rounds

Part of the service offered by Kirklees Advocacy Service is to support people who are detained in hospital because of their mental health to get clear answers about their treatment and to have their own opinions and concerns heard and acknowledged. Even for those with considerable confidence, the unfamiliar environment and routines of a hospital…

Mental Illness and the Media: The Curse of Flight 4U 9525

Following the loss of Germanwings flight 4U 9525, the media once again gluttonously feasts on the alleged mental ill-health of the co-pilot, Andreas Lubitz, – believed to have caused the death of 150 people- so putting back the campaign against stigma and discrimination by several years. These stories can have a big influence on the…

New Care Act Will Radically Overhaul Support For Both Users and Carers

Touchstone’s Chief Executive Alison Lowe outlines the impact of new legislation on carers and the services provided for them. Last year the Department of Health injected an additional £4 million in funding to enable councils to train their staff in readiness for the implementation of the Care Act from 1 April 2015. Funds were primarily earmarked to…

Negative Self-talk is What Holds Women Back in Business…Is This Still the Case?

Touchstone CEO Alison Lowe, one of Forward Ladies Women in Business Award Winners in 2014, asks is negative self-talk what holds women back in business? Whilst seven  out of ten employees in the voluntary sector are women, only 43% of charities are led by female chief executives or chairs.  Why is this? Do women still struggle with…

Join in and Follow our Chief Executive’s Twitter Chat with @Forward Ladies!

Negative self-talk is this holding women back in business?  Wednesday at noon Building on her success last year as  Not for Profit Businesswoman of the Year in the Forward Ladies Women in Business Awards, our Chief Executive Alison is hosting a twitter chat with @ForwardLadies on Wednesday 1 April about negative self-talk, is this holding women back in business? The…

Dementia Conference Report

Today more than 800,000 people are living with dementia. By 2021, it’s expected to rise to more than a million. More people than ever are now getting access to a diagnosis, are being given the right information to help them cope, and are receiving real person-centred care. But there are thousands of people living with…

Stonewall CEO to address Touchstone staff

Ruth Hunt

Everyone can be a leader, helping to drive positive change at work, in our lives and in our communities. As part of our commitment to develop all our staff’s leadership potential, Touchstone is organising a series of Leadership Masterclasses. We’re very pleased to announce that Ruth Hunt, CEO of Stonewall, will be addressing staff during…

Social Phobia and Drinking – Friends or Foes?

Drinking can often seem like a quick and easy way to address problems of stress and nervousness. To mark April’s Alcohol Awareness Month, Touchstone’s IAPT team look at why this is and how it can actually make the problem worse. The IAPT service can help people to observe and understand their own behaviour and to…

Positive Pathways: positive results

Positive Pathways

Touchstone’s Housing Service is part of the Positive Pathways partnership, which helps people, who are having difficulties connected to their mental health, to either find a place to live or to better manage their current accommodation. Ultimately, the best measure of our success is the impact we have in the lives of people who use…

Highlights of Women In Management – International Women’s Day 2015

Seven Video Productions have created a short video talking to some of the delegates and presenters from this year’s Women In Management conference for International Women’s Day. Watch the video on YouTube to hear from speakers including Charlotte Sweeney, Alison Bunn (TwelvePeaks Management) and Touchstone’s Alison Lowe. “It reminds people that, yes, we’ve come a…

International Happiness Day

International happiness day is today and Touchstone’s IAPT team want to offer you some top tips to enhance your life with a greater level of happiness. Firstly, are you happy enough? Click on the link below http://www.getselfhelp.co.uk/docs/AreYouHappy2.pdf If you are, that’s great! If your not as happy as you’d like to be then look at the following list. Researchers…

Sikh Elders Service Welcomes Spring with a Fresh Start

It feels as though it’s been a long time coming, in fact as long as I have been with Touchstone, but finally in February, we received the news that Touchstone will continue to deliver the Sikh Elders Service to the community. All of us are incredibly excited about this. A huge sigh of relief from…

International Women’s Day – 8th March 2015

International Women’s Day events are held worldwide on March 8 to celebrate women and their global contribution. Various women, including political, community, and business leaders, as well as leading educators, inventors, entrepreneurs, and television personalities, are usually invited to speak at events on the day, highlighting their successes to illustrate how much progress has been…

Celebrating Diversity – 24th February

Touchstone and Women’s Health Matters Celebrating Diversity Tuesday 24 February 2015 12.30pm Lunch open to everyone at: Leeds City Museum Stalls from LGBT friendly organisations Come find out about LGBT services and events around Leeds To get involved and set up a stall, please contact Jay Silver on 0113 216 2792 or Amrit Kaur on…

Oluwale Partnership Symposium – 17th April

Oluwale Partnership Symposium David Oluwale Memorial Assocn and partners Friday, 17 April 2015 from 09:30 to 16:30 (BST) Leeds , United Kingdom   Do you work with people in Leeds who are marginalised and excluded because of their homelessness, mental ill-health, destitution, alcohol problems?  Or pushed aside because they are seeking asylum, been in prison,…

Keeping the Memory Alive

Tuesday 27th January 2015 marked the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death camp Auschwitz. The liberation of the camp has become a date in the calendars of many communities at which we stop and reflect about the death, destruction and inhumanity in our recent past.  For Julia Kinch, a member of Touchstone’s…

“Understanding equality means we are better at what we do”

As Touchstone found out that we had risen to number 19 in Stonewall”s Top 100 employers (having entered the list at number 91 a year ago), it was also announced that CEO Alison Lowe had been named as Stonewall’s Senior Champion 2015 – recognising the role she’s played in promoting LGBT equality both in the organisation…

Reactive depression – taking back control

Touchstone’s Community Support Team (CST) works with people with severe and enduring mental health problems – many of whom have not been able to access support from other services. Using an assertive outreach approach, they meet with clients, helping them to recognise their own strengths and to use those strengths to set and achieve goals based on their own…

Touchstone Service Users Christmas Party

Touchstone is passionate about involving service users in all aspects of service delivery and planning.  We work together and we celebrate together. Roderic Morgan (Service User Consultant) reflects on the annual service user party in December last year.    The Touchstone Christmas Party for 2014 was held at the Sheepscar Club in Chapeltown on the…

Keeping warm this winter

Amrit Kaur from the Sikh Elders Service introduces the Winter Warmth scheme and shares some advice on staying warm and well as the weather gets colder…   Cold homes and dark winter months have a significant impact on people’s health. One of the best ways of keeping yourself well during winter is to stay warm….

What I got from volunteering

Another story for Volunteers’ Week – this time from Amina, who went from volunteering with Touchstone to getting a job with Touchstone’s Peer-Led Brokerage Service. You do not hear many people say this, but I am truly blessed as I love my job and the organisation I work within. Volunteering has enabled me to reach this…

Ways to cope with loneliness at Christmas

Emma Goldsack from the housing team shares some advice on dealing with a tricky time of year…   Hi Everyone! As Christmas approaches, it is important to be aware that not everyone will be in a position to celebrate this year. In a world where we can find ourselves quite cut off from others there…

International Volunteer Day – Global Celebration of Volunteering

Did you know that 5th December is celebrated world-wide as the International Volunteer Day? Each year, millions of people around the world volunteer their time and skills to help make the world a better place. Volunteering not only helps improve the lives of others but also has a profound positive effect on the lives of…

16 Days of Action Celebration: Focus on Recovery and Nurture – Wednesday 10th December

Touchstone and Women’s Health Matters have teamed up this December to celebrate the end of the 16 Days of Action campaign, which is aimed at raising awareness about domestic violence against women around the world.  The celebration will take place on the 10th of December between 12 and 3 pm at Bridge House, Balm Road,…

Touchstone CEO Alison Lowe Wins the Prestigious Forward Ladies Business Woman of the Year Award!

Congratulations to our Chief Executive Alison Lowe who has just won the prestigious Forward Ladies Business Woman of 2014 award, in the Not for Profit category.   The results have been announced earlier today on Friday 28 November.   Forward Ladies Women in Business Awards is an annual competition that recognises achievements of women in leadership positions across…

New View Project – churches combating mental health stigma

Touchstone’s Community Development Team worked in partnership with local churches to investigate how faith communities can work together to raise awareness of mental health issues and to support community members who may be struggling with their own mental health. The project was funded by Time To Change. The aims of the New View project were: To…

16 Days of Action to End Violence Against Women

What is the 16 Days of Action Campaign? One in three women worldwide face abuse, violence and rape everyday. In no country of the world are women free from this fear and terror. In the UK, one in four women experience domestic violence during their lifetime.  25th November to 10th December 2014 The 16 Days…