Blog

Dementia Awareness Week – the role of a Dementia Champion

In our third blog post for Dementia Awareness Week 2016, Amina Ditta talks about her role as a Dementia Champion within one of Touchstone’s staff teams.   As a Dementia Champion I have been trying to deliver Dementia Awareness sessions to the team at Kirklees. This has proven to be much more challenging that I…

#IDAHOBIT A long history of oppression and resistance

On International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia, we look at the chequered history of the ongoing quest for equal rights and legal recognition.   1533 – During the reign of Henry VIII, all sexual intercourse between two men was made illegal, punishable by death. Between 1533 and 1558 the law was repealed and then…

Dementia Awareness Week – Dementia Friendly Kirklees Team

  In the fourth of our posts for Dementia Awareness Week 2016, Jane Mackay from Kirklees Advocacy Service talks about the steps her team have made to be supportive of people living with dementia and why it’s so important to her.   Like most other people, my family has had experience of dementia, my Gran…

Preparing for your Cognitive Behavioural Therapy: Regular Eating

Regular eating Many people who feel low in mood or feel anxious struggle to maintain a regular pattern of eating. For some people, their appetite reduces and people may skip meals or reduce their food intake. Others may experience an increase in appetite or a tendency to eat for comfort but find that they become…

Dementia Awareness Week – Carer’s Testimony

In the second of our blog posts for Dementia Awareness Week 2016, a carer talks about his family’s experiences from the time of their father’s diagnosis with dementia to the time of his death. My father was diagnosed with Dementia/Alzheimer in 2001, we as a family didn’t really know what this meant. Our beloved father…

What to Expect at Your First Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Appointment

What to expect at your first cognitive behavioural therapy appointment   A lot of clients get nervous about their first CBT appointment and do not know what to expect. First appointments may vary a little from person to person, but here is an idea of the kind of things you might expect in your first CBT…

“Two Minds” – a poem for Mental Health Awareness Week

To mark the beginning of Mental Health Awareness Week, a user of Touchstone’s services shares a poem that describes some of her experience of living with mental illness.   I‘ve written poetry for as long as I can remember, having my first poem published at the age of 14. Since then I’ve had a poem…

Dementia Awareness Week – Dementia Champions

  In the first of a series of posts from staff and service users for Dementia Awareness Week 2016, Touchstone’s Arfan Hanif talks about the Dementia Champions group within the organisation. In 2015 Touchstone, as part of its ‘Working to become Dementia Friendly’ accreditation, set up the Dementia Champions group which represents staff from all…

International Dance Day

The benefits of dancing has been well established, helping to improve not only our physical but also mental wellbeing. And dance holds a special place in the heart of one Touchstone IAPT clinician in particular therefore to coincide with International Day of Dance, Carlyn B, has chosen to share with you the following reflection. By Carlyn…

The Difference Between Living and Existing – A Client Journey

A client who recently attended a Stress Control Class has found the course so helpful that he wanted to share a poem about how he was feeling before accessing therapy. He has then provided a summary about his amazing success since engaging with Leeds IAPT.  If you can relate to how he is feeling, please don’t…

International Day of Happiness

By Sally P The one thing that we all strive for in our lives is to be happy. There are lots of ways that happiness impacts on how we feel; including our health, our levels of creativity and even how much we experience physical pain. One study found that happiness, optimism and life satisfaction are…

“Vada That” by Adam Lowe – for World Poetry Day

To mark World Poetry Day, we’re sharing a poem by Adam Lowe, written in the street slang language of Polari. The poem (and accompanying glossary were featured as Poem of the Week in The Guardian on 12th October 2015. Aunt nell the patter flash and gardy loo! Bijou, she trolls, bold, on lallies slick as…

Sylvia Rivera – pioneer of trans activism

To mark Trans Day of Visibility (31st March) we profile the life of a pioneering trans activist. Sylvia Rivera, who was of Puerto Rican and Venezuelan descent, was born in New York City and named Ray Rivera by her parents. She became an orphan at 3 years old and was then raised by her Venezuelan…

Christmas time and mental health

Self-proclaimed Christmas lover and CBT Therapist Nicole C has taken time to write a very important and moving reflection about the festive period and the potential effect on mental health. As somebody who loves Christmas and the whole festive season it is important to be reminded that not everyone feels this way. I wanted to…

LGBT History Month 2016 Profile – Laverne Cox

In celebration of LGBT History Month, Touchstone is profiling a different LGBT celebrity each week in the month of February. The chosen celebrity this week is Laverne Cox: twin; actress, television producer and LGBT advocate. Born in Mobile, Alabama, Laverne was bullied constantly as a child. She describes how she attempted suicide after realising, aged…

LGBT History Month Profile – Virginia Woolf

To celebrate LGBT History Month in February 2016, Touchstone will profile a significant figure from LGBT history each week. Adeline Virginia Woolf (née Stephen; 25 January 1882 – 28 March 1941) was an English writer and one of the foremost modernists of the twentieth century. Between the two World Wars, Woolf was a significant figure…

Happy Chinese New Year!

​ By Geraldine M ​Monday 8th February 2016 is the day many people will be saying ‟Gong xi fa cai” (pronounced, roughly, ‟gong she fars eye”) – the Chinese greeting for ‟Happy New Year” – meaning ‟Be happy, get rich”.   …to which the response is often ‟Hong bao na lai” (‟hong bow na lie”)…

Harvey Milk – vision, courage and passion

To celebrate LGBT History Month in February 2016, Touchstone will profile a significant figure from LGBT history each week. Harvey Bernard Milk was an American politician who became the first openly gay person to be elected to public office in California, when he won a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Milk began…

Thinking of friends on World Cancer Day – 4th February 2016

Thursday 4th February marks World Cancer Day, our Business Development Director Jess shares some of her thoughts and experiences of cancer and the support we can all offer:   On the 4th February we mark World Cancer Day and I wanted to write about some people I know who have been affected by the illness.   …

Writing for Wellbeing – National Story Telling Week

To coincide with National Story Telling Week (30 Jan – 6 Feb) one of our therapists Louise A has written a piece on the therapeutic benefits of writing for wellbeing: Writing for wellbeing When we feel upset, low or anxious we can often feel the urge to talk about it, whether that is with someone…

The Last “Bhoolee Bisree Yaadein” (Forgotten Memories) of 2015

Bhoolee Bisree Yaadein (BBY) is a monthly musical event for 55+ years old service users and their friends organised by the Sikh Elders Service. The event is held on the last Thursday of the month at Apna Day Centre where the community gathers to hear local musical talent. The group also play popular Indian singing…

Dissociation – The Hidden Mental Health Issue

The tagline isn’t entirely correct – so I’ll start by apologising for that. Very quickly, something about me. I’ve been a housing support worker here at Touchstone for less than a year but I’ve worked with people in crisis for about five years. It amazes me how commonplace dissociative issues seem to be, yet there’s…

Inclusive leadership, authenticity and a bit of a life lesson

It feels hard to put into words my experience last month of attending Stonewall’s Leadership programme. Without wishing to sound too grand, I think it has changed me in a very profound way; changed the way I see myself, my past and what my role is now. The programme is billed as “An intensive and…

Tips for Winter Wellbeing

I work as part of the Touchstone Housing Team, and as such I tend to work with people who have a housing need as well as a mental health issue. I enjoy this because I feel it takes a holistic approach to helping people’s lives, on the understanding that without stability and security it is…

Alcohol Awareness Week

We can easily reach for a drink of alcohol to try and change the way that we feel, this is because alcohol can quickly affect the chemicals in our brain and body. We may feel like it is relaxing us at the time, but what we know from a wealth of research; is that alcohol…

Anti-Bullying Week 16-20th November 2015

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…