Blog

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…

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…

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…

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…

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 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…

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…

Mindy Goose: One of our IART Artists on Keeping Well

Mindy Goose Creativity has always been my outlet to keep myself well. My preferred medium is photography, which works perfectly with my other pursuit, walking and exploring our great county – Yorkshire. Being outdoors is living. Whatever the weather, a walk in the country, or by the seaside, is sure to make me feel so…

Hamari Yaadain

Hamari Yaadain – Touchstone’s monthly dementia cafe for people from the South Asian community – was recently featured on the Alzheimer’s Society website and in their Living With Dementia magazine. The articles author quotes Ripaljeet Kaur (Touchstone’s lead worker on dementia): “Groups like this one are really important for people from black, Asian and minority…