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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…

Social Phobia and Drinking – Friends or Foes?

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 November Alcohol Awareness Week, 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…

International Day of Kindness

On Friday 13th November 2015 it was International Day of Kindness. One of our IAPT colleagues Sally P has written the following piece to highlight the widespread benefits of random acts of kindness: Although on those bad days it can feel like we live in a society where people are uncaring, there has been a…

Supporting Refugee Mental Health

The work of Touchstone’s IAPT team has been featured in an article in Therapy Today discussing the services who are trying to meet the mental health needs of refugees arriving in this country. Below is a small extract from the article. Richard Garland is Manager of Touchstone IAPT in Leeds, one partner in the consortium…

“The basics of life” – one night sleeping rough

Simon on the Streets are a charity devoted to supporting people who are homeless and sleeping rough on the streets through intensive support programmes, street outreach work and weekly soup-runs. They reach out to vulnerable people who need help but may be excluded from or refuse other services for various reasons, and are then left…

Spotlight on: Refugees, People Seeking Asylum and Mental Health

Samantha Powell leads on the work with Refugees and People Seeking Asylum within the Community Development Service and has written an article to explore some of the barriers they face when accessing services. Since 1999 Leeds has been a main dispersal area for people seeking asylum in the UK. Lots of communities have settled, and…

World Statistic Day – Ethnicity Recording

In the Community Development Service here at Touchstone we aim to achieve a greater understanding and ownership of mental health issues facing Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) communities in Leeds. For World Statistics Day on 20th October, John Halsall, Community Health Development Analyst,  has written the first in a series of data blogs. Please take a few minutes…

Coming Out

“I’m going to talk to you tonight about coming out of the closet, and not in the traditional sense, not just the gay closet. I think we all have closets. Your closet may be telling someone you love her for the first time, or telling someone that you’re pregnant, or telling someone you have cancer,…

Black History Month – a LGBT perspective

As a Stonewall Diversity Champion, Touchstone is committed to improving the lives of LGBT people both in the workplace and wider community. Which is why we want to pass on these practical tips about how best to celebrate Black History Month from Stonewall’s Josh Willacy. Black History Month has been celebrated every October in the UK…

World Alzheimer’s Day – case study

To mark World Alzheimer’s Day (21st September), Ripaljeet Kaur has provided this case study of one of the clients supported by Touchstone’s BME Dementia Service Mrs B was referred into the service by another organisation. She lives with her daughter-in-law, who is her full time carer, as well as her son and grandson. She was…

Bi-Visibility Day – 23rd September

Here at Touchstone, we like to eat cake! So celebrating Bi-Visibility Day on 23rd September will be a great opportunity to also eat our favourite food. Another reason to support Bi-Visibility Day is that whilst the profile of Gay, Lesbian and Trans people is at last on the up, the visibility of the Bi community…

Migrant Access Point project in 4 minutes

Touchstone’s Community Development Service has produced this video to explain the work of the Migrant Access Point project, empowering community members to improve access for their communities to services in Leeds. Migrant Access Point Project in 4 minutes from Touchstone on Vimeo.

Induction: A Function of HR or a Masterclass in Leadership?

Touchstone’s Alison Lowe will be the keynote speaker at the Employer Engagement conference in London on 10th September. Here she talks about how much difference an effective staff induction can make to the relationship between staff members and the organisation they work for.   At Touchstone, a West Yorkshire mental health charity, staff numbers have steadily doubled…

Leeds Pride – celebrating diversity and acceptance

The 9th Leeds Pride takes place this Sunday (2nd August 2015) – a celebration of diversity and acceptance. Kimberley Saggu and Stephanie Lewis from the Community Development Service reflect here on how acceptance and non-acceptance are learned at different stages of life and how we can choose to make a difference.   We both have…

Friends for Life: International Friendship Day

Vanysha Sahota from Touchstone’s Community Development Service wrote this article to mark International Friendship Day – and to talk about the role of friendship in personal and family life.   When I think about the word ‘friend’, images of certain people take over my mind along with memories of good and bad times. Many people…