Maybe I’m autistic – World Autism Awareness Day

On World Autism Awareness Day (2nd April), Touchstone’s communication officer Ben Deutsch reflects on what autism is, how it can impact on working life and why some people might not seek a diagnosis. I consider myself autistic, but I don’t have a diagnosis for autism and I rarely use the word “autistic” in my life…

Love a Muslim Day

Touchstone IAPT would like to share some words of support and love on Love a Muslim Day.   I place immense value on the contribution of the Muslim community to Leeds and indeed to the whole country. At work I value and respect the immense contributions made by colleagues across the whole range of Touchstone…

Interwoven Histories – Touchstone’s Service Users Share Their Life Stories at Leeds Industrial Museum

Touchstone’s BME Dementia Service has been working closely with art organisation Pavilion and sound artist Ryoko Akama to gather oral history recordings of the life stories and experiences of older people who were first generation migrant workers in textile factories in Leeds. These recordings are currently being showcased as part of Ryoko Akama’s Loiner Or exhibition…

Trans Day of Visibility 2018

International Trans Day of Visibility falls on 31st March every year. The aim is to bring attention to the accomplishments of trans people around the globe and to counter prejudice by spreading knowledge of the trans community. This year’s theme is “surviving, thriving” (#TransThriving). Below, Touchstone volunteer Rachel talks about her experience and work. Originally from York,…

20th March: International Day of Happiness

Happiness is waking up warm and not having to get up. Happiness is spending time with friends, not worrying about things, going on holiday, being creative, doing nice things for other people, being happy and content with ourselves. Happiness is being yourself. Happiness is the journey not the destination. Happiness is knowing I contribute. Happiness…

Touchstone meets the Investors in People Platinum standard

At Touchstone, a Yorkshire based mental health and wellbeing charity that works in partnership with many other organisations, our first priority is always the results that we achieve with and for our service users. But to do that, we need to support our diverse and talented staff to reach their potential. Recently that support has…

Interwoven Histories – Cha Da Cup group to publish poem with poet Ian Duhig

As part of part of Touchstone’s BME Dementia Service’s on-going partnership with Pavilion, poet Ian Duhig hosted two workshops with the Cha Da Cup group who regularly attend Touchstone on Mondays to exercise, share food, meet with friends and get involved in lots of different activities. The workshops have been a fantastic celebration of food, culture and…

International Women’s Day 8th March

I imagine that Touchstone is full of people like me who see some litter that needs picking up or something else that concerns them and they can’t quite walk past and ignore it. Over a long period I have been aware of protests happening outside clinics where women can access abortions but for some reason…

I-ART Exhibition New Artist

Our Spring artist will be SIMON LEWIS. See a picture of him at work on our walls in the IAPT training room. He lives in Leeds, not far from the support centre, working as an illustrator and printmaker. The range of his work varies from detailed black and white ink drawings, drawings combined with digital media, screenprints, drypoint etching and other…

Fair Trade Fortnight

“Even a bad cup of coffee is better than no coffee at all” It is fair trade fortnight for a few more days and, in the Touchstone IAPT team in the Fairtrade City of Leeds, we have been inviting visitors to our offices to share a cup of freshly brewed fair trade coffee. I am a daily black coffee…

It’s Not World Book Day!

I grew up in a house full of books and for a good few years I used to volunteer for a bookshop run by Oxfam in Headingley and now I spend some time most weeks in libraries in Leeds. I am fully of the belief that no form of storytelling is better than reading a…

LGBT History Month – Vicky Beeching

    Victoria Louise “Vicky” Beeching (born 17 July 1979) is an English musician and religious commentator. She is best known for her work in the American contemporary worship music genre, and has been described as “arguably the most influential Christian of her generation” due to of her Twitter following and appearances on BBC’s Thought…

Touchstone stays in top 10 best not-for-profit companies to work for

Once again, Touchstone has been listed in the Sunday Times Best Companies to Work For. We’ve been placed 9th in the 100 Best Not-for-Profit Companies, our second year in the top 10, and our 6th in the top 100. The results are based on a confidential survey of staff, giving them the opportunity to feedback…

Air pollution in Leeds – public consultation

Leeds City Council is looking for people living, working and commuting in Leeds and the wider region to have their say on our proposals to reduce air pollution and protect the health of people in the city. It’s important that they receive responses from people in a wide range of communities. This public consultation is…

World Thinking Day 22nd February

When I first saw that 22nd February is World Thinking Day, as a Cognitive Behavioural Therapist my ideas immediately turned to thinking styles, challenging unhelpful thoughts and… well, all things CBT. However, I am not going to write about those things here because World Thinking Day is not about any of that!  It is in…

Co-Production, Not Faux Production

We are at the next exciting stage of developing a Co-Production standard for Leeds! This one day workshop will put together the Co-Production standard, which will be launched at our third Co-Production conference on 5th July. The workshop will include: Co-design and develop co-production quality standards Share your expertise and experiences Establish a Co-Production Network…

LGBT History Month profile – Lewis Hancox

To mark LGBT History Month 2018, Touchstone is profiling different LGBT role models during the month of February.  This week we are proud to tell you about a fantastic film maker and comedian – Lewis Hancox who has featured in Stonewall’s Come Out For Trans Equality campaign. Here are Lewis’s own words, reproduced from Stonewall’s…

Have you, or someone you care for, ever been detained under the Mental Health Act?

Touchstone are holding three focus groups to gather feedback for The Mental Health Act Review. Get in touch to book your place. Dewsbury: 28th February, contact 01924 460211 or advocacy@touchstonesupport.org.uk Leeds: 2nd March, contact 0113 2192727 or supportcentre@touchstonesupport.org.uk Bradford: 17th April – details to be confirmed.  

Random Acts of Kindness Day Saturday 17th February

The first time I heard about Random Acts of Kindness Day was about 15 years ago. I remember thinking  ‘this is so cool, it’s nice to have an excuse to be kind to a stranger’. Now, I know, some of you don’t need an excuse. You may already exude naturally excessive levels of kindness that…

Connect for Health – finding your prescription for support

Connect for Health Leeds is a social prescribing service delivered by Leeds Mind, in partnership with Touchstone, Hamara, Barca-Leeds, Leeds Irish Health and Homes and Better Leeds Communities. Connect for Health assesses each individual’s needs and takes into account the challenges you are facing, before supporting you to access a personalised selection of local groups…

LGBT History Month – bi role models

Drew Barrymore Drew Barrymore (born February 22, 1975) is an actress, producer, writer, and director. As a child actress, she became well-known for her performance in E.T.. Since then she starred in many films and, along with Nancy Juvonen, has started her own production company, Flower Films. In 2003 in and interview with Contact Music…

LGBT History Month

This February, LGBT History Month will celebrate the life of Harvey Milk, 40 years after his murder.  2018 also marks 30 years since the introduction of Section 28, the legislation banning the ‘promotion of homosexuality’ in British schools. Despite his short career in politics, Milk became an icon in San Francisco and a martyr in…

LGBT History Month Profile – HARVEY MILK

To celebrate LGBT History Month in February 2018, Touchstone will profile an LGBT person each week. We are choosing to profile Harvey Milk once again as 2018 is the 40th anniversary of his murder and his remarkable life is being commemorated this year by the LGBT History Month organisers http://lgbthistorymonth.org.uk/ Harvey Bernard Milk was an…

Tinnitus Awareness Week 5-11th Feb

Tinnitus week begins today and is being promoted by the British Tinnitus Association. Tinnitus is the perception of noises in the ear and or head which have no external source. Those living with the condition may experience a ringing, buzzing, hissing, whistling or other noise. The sensation can be continuous or intermittent and it can…

Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence Awareness Week

In the IAPT service, where I work, we talk to a range of people about their mental health and we are privileged to hear about other people’s life changing events including trauma and abuse. This is a difficult subject to write about as it is connected to so much pain and distress and it touches…

BME Dementia Service features in Dementia Friendly Newsletter

Touchstone’s BME Dementia Service has featured in Leeds Older People’s Forum’s Dementia Friendly Newsletter. The newsletter features two of the projects the BME Dementia Service are working on at present; the Interwoven Histories project in partnership with Pavilion, and our West Yorkshire Playhouse partnership in which we are writing a play about the lives and…

LGBT History Month

LGBT History Month is a month-long annual observance of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender history, and the history of the gay rights and related civil rights movements. It originated in the United States and was first celebrated there in 1994. It first took place in the UK in February 2005. It now takes place in…

Time to Talk Day

Very often in my work as a psychological therapist, I talk to people about being along a continuum of their mental health difficulty. We all fall somewhere along a continuum of depression, worry, anxiety and stress and we can all move up and down these continua at different times in our lives. I am no…