Blog

My Volunteering Experience

Volunteers’ Week celebrates the work of volunteers across the country. To mark it, we’re publishing the stories of some of our great volunteers past and present, starting with Nafeesa who volunteers with The Kirklees Advocacy Service and Peer-Led Brokerage Service. After working in the retail sector for 13 years. I felt the need for a new…

The Pursuit of Happiness

We can all feel down and fed up from time to time, which is a normal part of life. However when this gets too much, and we notice we are falling into the trap of dwelling and worrying, it can be useful to use certain coping strategies to help pick us back up!   So…

Case study of High Intensity Cognitive Behavioural Therapy at IAPT

Ever wondered about the work being completed by our High Intensity Cognitive Behavioural Therapists here at IAPT? Or the great achievements and milestones reached by our service users? Well wait no longer, here we have a case study of one, of the many, such success stories from a member of our IAPT team Debbie and…

Dementia and BAME(Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) communities

This week is Dementia Awareness Week. In the last few years, there has been significant progress in terms of raising awareness, a crucial step towards tackling stigma around dementia. And according to Alzheimer’s Society, there are approximately 800,000 people living with dementia in the UK. 25,000 of these people are from BAME (Black, Asian and…

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,…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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 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…

Anti-Bullying Week 17-21st November 2014

Bullying does not just happen in school, nor is it always children who are the bullies or the victims of bullying.  Bullying can and does happen everywhere. Anti-Bullying week is about raising awareness of what bullying is and works to help people stand up to the bully in their community, be that home, work or…

Alcohol Awareness Week

This year’s Alcohol Awareness Week runs from 17th-23rd November. Emma Goldsack from Touchstone’s Housing Service offers an informative article on the risks of drinking too much and how to drink safely. The festive season is upon us and we are once again bombarded with an assortment of offers on chocolate boxes, Christmas decs and of course…

Beating the winter blues: five tips for coping with SAD

Fiona Venner, director of Leeds Survivor Led Crisis Service, writes about dealing with the effects of shorter days and longer nights… When the clocks go back many of us may feel the urge to retreat under our duvets. For around two million people in the UK who suffer with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), coping with…

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. I welcome moves by the Department of Health to inject an additional £4 million in funding to enable councils to train their staff in readiness for the implementation of the Care Act next April. Funds will…

5 Tips to Help Manage Stress

Wedenesday 5th November is National Stress Awareness Day. Sally Poyser from Touchstone’s IAPT service offers some advice for coping with everyday stress. Stress affects everybody, but high levels of stress can affect our ability to cope with the demands that come up in life. So, it’s important that we try to look after ourselves by…

Top Tips for Caring For Someone With Dementia

This post originally appeared on The Yorkshire Times. Living with dementia is incredibly difficult for those who are affected by it and also for their family and friends. As the person’s mental capabilities begin to decline, they can feel scared and vulnerable and may require increased levels of help and support. There are a number…

How volunteering boosts health, confidence and employability skills

Guest blog by Nafisa Miraf, Touchstone Volunteers Project on the Bayford Foundation site.  A new survey to mark national Volunteers’ Week reveals that four in five people say volunteering boosts health while six out of 10 individuals report that giving up time to help a good cause helps to reduce stress. The new report from…

Supporting volunteers experiencing mental health difficulties

Nafisa Miraf

This post originally appeared on the Doing Good Leeds site, you can find it here. Mental health and volunteering Anyone can be affected and for some individuals mental health issues can return for any number of reasons. People experiencing mental health issues may choose to volunteer for a variety of reasons. Volunteering allows them to…

Touchstone sets wheels in motion for top teamwork in Tour de France countdown

With the buzz and excitement of the Tour de France countdown in full swing, Thursday, July 3rd saw senior managers, Gemma Hornby and Ed Long, from West Yorkshire health and well-being charity Touchstone don yellow jerseys and set off on an epic cycle ride from Dewsbury to Leeds on a tandem. Energetically waving them off…