Blog

Touchstone’s involvement in the Independent Review of the Mental Health Act

The review was set up to look at how the legislation in the Mental Health Act 1983 is used and how practice can improve. The purpose of the review is to understand the reasons for: rising rates of detention under the Act the disproportionate number of people from black and minority ethnic groups detained under…

World Mindfulness Day and Eating Raisins

Ok, so you’re reading a blog about mindfulness, maybe you already have an app or two on your phone for mindfulness and maybe you are already using mindfulness on a regular basis. Or maybe not, you could be a complete beginner and wondering what all the fuss is about. Either way, there are loads of…

International Forgiveness Day: 5th August

When I think about forgiveness, I automatically think about it in terms of something you do to someone else. It is an idea that is closely entwined with compassion and kindness and is an active decision to let go of the anger you hold towards someone for something you believe they have done wrong. The…

Why Yorkshire? By Iby Knill

              For Yorkshire Day 2018, we interviewed Iby Knill on her experiences and reasons for moving to Yorkshire in the 1960’s. “It was 1962. I was employed as Welfare Training Officer by Berkshire County. Then, one day, somebody at County Headquarters thought that it might be an idea to…

Oh, we do like to be beside the seaside!

Hamari Yaadain Dementia Café visited Hornsea for a day of relaxation, delicious food and time to enjoy the beach. We arrived just before lunchtime and stopped at a little café, where we shared food prepared by some of our group members. A feast of samosas, chapattis, curry and an array of homemade chutneys! Members of…

Malala Day

Malala Yousafzai turned 21 on the 12th of July.   A few months ago I popped into my local library at the Reginald Centre and walked out with a copy of a now 5-year-old book: “I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban”.   You may have…

Safeguarding and Coproduction – #SafeguardingWeek

Jim Leyland (Touchstone’s Operations Director – Inclusion) talks about the work Touchstone does to ensure adequate safeguarding for our clients and their communities. I am really excited in Safeguarding Week to share the work we have been doing at Touchstone with Leeds Safeguarding Adults Board. We were asked to contribute a service user voice to the…

Best Start Peer Support Programme – our progress so far

The Best Start Peer Support Programme aims to empower individuals and families about the relationships they have at home and with professionals, in order that they make healthier informed choices about their lives and therefore become better carers and parents producing healthy children, in line with the Best Start plan for the city. In year…

How are we doing? Annual Service Information Report 2017/18

On 31 March 2018 there were 1244 active service users accessing Touchstone services.  This suggests that on any given day we have well over 1000 active service users across Touchstone services. 59% of Touchstone’s active service users come from BME backgrounds. All Touchstone services have a BME service user profile above the 2011 Census baseline. …

Coping with Social Isolation and Crisis throughout the summer

THE WELL-BEAN CRISIS CAFÉ – HOPE IN A CRISIS BLOG – June 2018 (Written by Matthew Hall – Crisis Support Worker at WBC) Since the last blog was released – we are pleased to announce that funding for the Well-Bean Café has been secured, and the service has now been extended until the end of…

Support for carers who fast #CarersWeek

With Carer’s Week falling during the month of Ramadhan, Shuria Alam (Carers Support Worker) talks about the impact of fasting and the need for culturally sensitive support for carers. Ramadhan is the ninth month of the Islamic Lunar calendar, and this year will begin around 17th May and end around 16th June 2018. For 29/30…

Healthy Eating

For BNF Healthy Eating Week, Touchstone trustee Julie Laxton offers some guidance on how to look after ourselves by choosing what we eat. Healthy eating sounds really boring, but it will help you to keep well and feel better. It can prevent some diseases in the future for example, heart disease and diabetes. What is…

Best Start Peer Volunteer Story #VolunteersWeek

I didn’t really know what to make of Best Start Peer Support when I first heard about it. It intrigued me, but I wasn’t sure it was my thing. A friend of mine had done it and told me I would enjoy it, so I decided to take myself out of my comfort zone and…

Volunteering with MAP+ #VolunteersWeek

The Migrant Access Project (MAP+) helps new arrivals in Leeds to connect with the local community, including finding volunteering opportunities. One of our MAP+ volunteers have shared some of her experience and feedback with us: “I suffered a really bad injury at work and had to reduce my hours, which meant I started getting into…

Highlighting Health inequalities in New Wortley

Bill Graham from New Wortley Community Association has looked into health inequalities for those in the New Wortley neighbourhood of Leeds. The charts below show some of what he found out. This indicator shows the proportion of households where no people in the household have English as a main language. This information was created from…

Volunteering with the Liaison and Diversion service #VolunteersWeek

Volunteers play an important role in supporting the Liaison and Diversion service, both in the community and in the custody suite. Volunteers provide variety to our service and, in return, experience with us enables them to get closer to their goals. One of our volunteers joined us as his goal was to change career and…

World Hunger Day

May 28th 2018 is World Hunger day – a day designed to promote awareness of the simple and tragic fact that 800 Million people in the world do not have enough food to eat. The statistics are shocking. Have a read, digest the numbers involved and share with friends and colleagues..… http://www.foodaidfoundation.org/world-hunger-statistics.html The 28th is…

14th June is World Blood Donor Day

It’s like paying tax on having good health… … and paying tax isn’t always comfortable, but neither is having very poor health or being at risk of dying! I’ve been giving blood for a few years now and I’m about to give my eighth donation. As someone who was born in the NHS, had my…

Seeking refuge from an oppressive anti-gay regime

Touchstone staff and volunteers recently had the opportunity to hear the story of a gay asylum seeker from Uganda. To protect her identity, we have not included her name or photograph here. At the time that she was growing up in Uganda, people simply did not talk about being gay, because it could cost your…

Mental health: BME communities go unheard and ignored

People from West Yorkshire’s BME communities with mental health concerns feel ignored and struggle to find a voice, according to charity Touchstone. The mental health charity recently ran two consultation events with BME service users as part of a national independent review of the Mental Health Act.  Feedback from participants at the events in Leeds…

May 17th – International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia, Biphobia

The International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia is observed on May 17th and aims to coordinate international events that raise awareness of LGBT rights violations and stimulate interest in LGBT rights work worldwide. Commemorations have taken place in over 120 countries, in all world regions. Despite some legal and social advances in the past…

Mental Health Awareness Week – the stress bucket

Vanysha and Adriana from the Mentally Healthy Leeds team use the stress bucket model as a visual aid, to show how we each have limited capacity for everyday stress factors, and that capacity may be different, depending on our life circumstances. This year, Mental Health Awareness Week (14th-20th May) is focussed on the theme of…

World Asthma Day

Nazia from Better in Kirklees talks about living and working with asthma. Organised by the Global Initiative for Asthma, May 1st marks World Asthma Day 2018. It is a day committed to improve asthma awareness and care around the world, with this year marking its 20th anniversary. According to the World Health Organisation, 300 million people suffer from…

M.E. Week

Trying to find clear information on M.E. (myalgic encephalomyelitis) can be pretty tricky. There are many different opinions about what it is, who has it, what causes it and how (or if) it can be treated. It is also often referred to as CFS (chronic fatigue syndrome), though not everyone agrees that the two terms…

Does Dance Matter?

International Dance Day falls on the 29th March each year. Each year prominent figures from the world of dance are asked to talk about why dance matters on a global and social level. Here are some of this year’s messages. Salia Sanou from Burkina Faso says: “…whether we like it or not, whether we recognize…

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…

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…