Research for practitioners in maternal and mental health services

The MaMS Study is a two-year programme of research to develop maternal mental health services in the North East and North Cumbria that will meet the needs of women living in our region's most deprived areas.
The study wants to speak to stakeholders to identify why maternal and mental health services are not reaching women living in deprivation. This will help inform better engagement with women on current services and how they want services to be delivered​ and the development of maternal mental health services that better reach women living in deprivation.
In particular, the researchers want to interview practitioners whose work brings them into contact with women living in deprivation.  For more information, please contact Malcolm Moffat at Newcastle University on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Adult AD/HD Groups North East Support Groups [North East]

Contact: Bill Scott 07856212564 | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. |

Support Group Meetings: November 2021
Middlesbrough (Tuesday 2nd  Nov) Langdon Square Community Centre Coulby Newham, Middlesbrough TS8 OTF
Durham (Thursday 11th Nov) Waddington Street Centre, 3 Waddington Street, Durham City DH1 4BG
South Shields (Thursday 18th ) Age Concern (ACTS) Dora Dixon House, 29 Beach Road / Corner of Anderson Street. NE33 2QU

Middlesbrough Tuesday 2nd November (6-8pm)

Langdon Square Community Centre Coulby Newham TS8 OTF
Thanks to Gordon Williams*, one of our long term allies in Middlesbrough, we will joining in with his new Neuro Key meetings at a new venue in Coulby Newham on the first Tuesday of every month! This gives us a fantastic opportunity to discuss the interrelationships between AD/HD and all the other neurodiverse comorbid conditions that can occur, including ADHD, ASD, PTSD, Brain injury, FASD, Tourett's etc.

The venue is great and there's a big free car park. As usual, everyone is welcome who has an interest in ADHD etc, including carers, family members, professionals working in the field etc. For further information about the venue, or Neuro key, an alliance supporting people with neurological conditions (established by Gordon) email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

facebook page @NeurokeyTVDNY And please check out Gordon’s amazing blog

Durham: Thursday 11th November  (6-9pm)

Thanks to our lovely friends at Waddy we will be having our support group meetings back in the heart of Durham City!  Venue: Waddington Street Centre, 3 Waddington Street, Durham City DH1 4BG

South Shields: Thursday 18th November (6-9pm)

Venue: Age Concern (ACTS) Dora Dixon House, 29 Beach Road / corner of Anderson Street, South Shields NE33 2QU. Thanks once again to Age Concern for their invaluable support.

We look forward to seeing everybody who can make it along to any of our meetings.

Consultation: "CNTW 2030, Imagining our future, together"

How you can help shape the future of CNTW.

Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (CNTW) provides a range of mental health, learning disability and neurological care services across the north of England.

CNTW 2030 is a project to imagine CNTW’s future role in improving the health of local communities.  The Trust wants to consider the likely challenges and opportunities heading towards the next decade.  Above all,  they want to learn from the recent experience of people who have been involved with CNTW, whether as a patient, carer, member of staff or as an organisational partner.

New online support for carers in County Durham

Register for FREE digital resources and get the help you need today

Caring for a loved one who is ill, disabled or older can be valuable and rewarding, but without the right support caring can have an impact on your health, your job, your finances and your social life.

Durham County Council has teamed up with Carers UK to offer carers in the county a comprehensive solution that brings together Carers UK’s digital products and online resources with the council's own information and support for carers onto a single webpage.

To create an account and get free access to all the products and support resources and create a new account by using the access code for Durham DGTL2485.

CICADA Study: Chronic Conditions and Disabilities and Migrants / Ethnic minoritisation

We have been asked to promote the CICADA (Coronavirus Intersectionalities: Chronic Conditions and Disabilities and Migrants / Ethnic minoritisation) study working with people who are from minority ethnic groups and have a long-term disability/illness - mental as well as physical, diagnosed or undiagnosed. They are looking for people who are specifically based in North-East England, and who come from a minority ethnic group and have mental health difficulties, to take part in an interview.

Participants are given a £20 shopping voucher as a thank you.

You can find out more about this study on their website:

To sign up or for more info, message their facebook group:
Or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Cicada interview poster


No To Hassockfield—local Campaign Opposing Immigration Detention Centre at Medolmsley Continues

Plans to re-open the site of the notorious Medomsley Detention Centre as an Immigration Detention Centre for women, have continued. However, whilst the Ministry of Justice had said it would open in the summer, in discussion with the No To Hassockfield campaign they have confirmed it is more likely to have its first women detainees around the end of October.

The campaign against its opening has grown in size. together with Abolish Detention, Durham Peoples Assembly and Women for Refugee Women, N2H are holding demonstrations the 3rd Saturday of each month 11-2pm at the site. Local ITV news gave coverage to August’s demo.

There is a prayer vigil held every 1st Sunday of the month at 3pm, organised by the justice and peace movement, and every Saturday, Dorothy Sotelo of No to Hassockfield is co-ordinating a group of 3-4 demonstrators to be present for an hour to make some noise at the site. This will become increasingly important when detainees are present at the site.

Richard Holden, the area’s Conservative MP has claimed the centre will provide good quality jobs, which he says are much needed for local residents.

Peter Hill, trade unionist said “Richard Holden MP claims the centre will bring many 'good jobs' to the area. But these jobs will be with outsourcing firm Mitie, notorious for its bad employment practices across a range of sectors, as well as its mistreatment of detainees. Just this year, unions Unite, Unison and GMB have condemned Mitie for discriminatory policies against workers (at Heathrow airport), Covid safety failures, and breaking promises to pay the living wage and unsocial hours payments (for NHS workers during the Covid pandemic). He doesn't mention the alternative use for the Hassockfield site: a housing and leisure development which had previously been planned. That would bring local jobs too - if the centre's development was cancelled.”

The campaign against the centre opening is extremely concerned about the effect of indefinite detention on detainees’ mental health. While detention of any kind should not be used for people who are fleeing war and persecution, it should be noted that the UK is the only member of the 47 Member State Council of Europe to use the inhumane practice of indefinite detention.

Helen Groom, retired Gateshead GP and No To Hassockfield Campaigner said;

“As a GP in Gateshead I looked after two ex-detainees from Medomsley whose lives were blighted by severe PTSD and memories of the abuse they suffered there. I’m horrified to think that we could now be locking up women, many of whom have already been deeply traumatised, when what they are seeking is sanctuary. I want to see Hassockfield closed before it opens, so that no more suffering takes place on this site.”

The Home Office say that timescales for opening the centre (which they have rechristened Derwentside IRC as a marketing change) have slipped a bit . They have a number of things that they must do before opening which include building medical facilities (which Durham County Council gave planning permission for in late August), providing multi faith chaplaincy, and setting up an Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) recruitment for which took place during September.

Julie Ward, Former MEP Mental Health Ambassador, women's rights campaigner and member of the No To Hassockfield Campaign, said,
"Women are hugely impacted by conflict and various global crises, including climate breakdown, which leads to unsustainable lives, extreme poverty, hunger, increased violence and risk of trafficking. We also see how authoritarian regimes seek to limit women's freedoms and punish them for aspiring to be educated, to run businesses, to stand for elected office, to wear what they wish.

Women asylum seekers have often experienced terrible violence at every stage of their journeys. Detention is a form of institutional state violence, which can have a profound psychological impact for years to come. Instead of locking up vulnerable women with the intention of deporting them back to face the likelihood of more violence, we should be treating them with compassion and dignity. The UK is out of step with many of its neighbours in the way it treats those seeking asylum.

It would be very easy for those of us in the UK to give up, to turn our backs and do nothing. But fundamentally we are a welcoming nation and in joining the campaign to Stop Hassockfield we can feel energised and empowered through collective action. The very act of protest is an act of resistance which can help to assuage our own feelings of helplessness. Standing in solidarity with people seeking sanctuary and against the government's inhumane system is a joyful act of resistance. At our regular monthly peaceful protests outside the site we sing, enjoy poems, watch theatre performances and listen to inspiring speeches and moving testimonies. We have made new friends and we have discovered new things about ourselves. We feel we CAN do something and that alone is good for our mental health. We have to take care of ourselves in order to take care of others."

MHNE have spoken out against the government’s plans for the site and continue to support the No 2 Hassockfield campaign, committing to do everything we can to monitor the mental health and wellbeing of anyone held at this proposed facility.

If people want to know more about the campaign or any of the demonstrations, please email - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or visit the campaign website: or on Facebook - @No2Hassockfield   /  Twitter @No2Hassockfield

No to Hassockfield! MHNE Supports Campaign raising Concerns over Return to Detention at Medomsley

In January it was suddenly announced that Detention would return to a site in County Durham. A campaign group was formed, No to Hassockfield, to oppose the Home Office & Ministry of Justice plan to turn former Medomsley Detention Centre into an Immigration Removal Centre for women.

MHNE Chairperson Neil Kelly says “our main concern is that mental health and wellbeing issues for those who will be detained there have not been factored into these plans.”

Owain Gardner, core member of the campaign group, says: “The shadow of Medomsley’s past will hang heavily over the women detained there and the workers who oversee them. Its reputation for brutality and abuse of imprisoned young men is widely known.

Now known as Hassockfield, it is a place which causes pain across the North East to this day. The original plan was to demolish the buildings on-site, replacing them with housing, including affordable homes, landscaping, investment in local schools, a doctor’s surgery’s and more. They have simply railroaded this plan out of existence at short notice, with no local scrutiny and no local voice was heard, despite the site’s history.”

Owen Temple, a Durham County Councillor also from the group, was stunned to learn that none of the men abused at Medomsley nor any of the workers who had been employed at the Hassockfield Secure Training Centre were consulted.   The mental health implications of an Immigration Removal Centre being forced onto County Durham are immense, especially as the investigation into Medomsley Detention Centre, Operation Seabrook, is still taking evidence.

Former MEP Julie Ward said "As a woman who campaigns vigorously to end violence against women, I am appalled at the government's continued use of detention in respect of vulnerable women, many of whom are already deeply traumatised by their experiences. Women asylum seekers experience violence at every stage of their journey and many suffer PTSD. It is time for the UK to end this cruel unnecessary practice. We can’t thank MHNE enough for their support in this campaign.”
The centre is due to open this Summer, with a view to holding up to 87 women, despite the Westminster Government’s policy being to reduce both the Estate and numbers in detention.

Ultimately, however, the mental health implications for those women who will be held there are too often ignored. Agnes Tonah, a former Asylum Seeker who was held in Yarl’s Wood, spoke to No To Hassockfield saying: “detention destroys a woman. Women become depressed and suicidal. This is personal for me… I don't want to see this happen to any of my sisters who are looking for safety."

The campaign has grown from nothing to having local, national and international reach. From Lord Alf Dubs supporting the campaign to an article in the Observer and even attention in Brussels. Find out more here: and if you have your own concerns, please consider writing to the local press. The campaign is on Twitter at @NoToHassockfield and

'Let's eat pies and talk about men's mental health'

Men’s Pie Club is about local guys, making pies. Supported by Food Nation, a social enterprise based in Newcastle, MPC was developed in response to the need for increasing levels of social connections and feelings of belonging for men in the North East of England.

This year, McColl's Brewery, based in Bishop Auckland launched a new brew in a can: Black and White Pepper Bitter 'Let's eat pies and talk about men's mental health'.  Brewery co-owner Danny McColl's hopes to raise £2500 with £1 from every can of beer donated to MPC (you can also donate directly on MPC's website).

Jamie Sadler, who set up MPC said - "We’re so chuffed to be working with Danny and Gemma on this, it really is a great opportunity to raise funds, the profile of Men's Pie Club and our efforts to tackle issues associated with social isolation. We’re also very proud to be collaborating with McColl’s to make this happen, they completely understand what we are trying to achieve – and they make incredible beer!"

Read more here, including a recipe for the perfect chicken pie and how to buy Black Pepper Bitter online:

CNTW NHS Reassurances that Mental Health Services availability

As England enters a third national lockdown to control the spread of a new variant of COVID-19, Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (CNTW) are reassuring the public that NHS mental health and learning disability services across North Cumbria and the North East are still available.

John Lawlor OBE, Chief Executive at CNTW, said: “We know that many people are understandably worried about catching or spreading the virus. People are also worried about being a ‘burden’ when the NHS system is under pressure. But the NHS is here to support your mental health during the coronavirus pandemic, as well as your physical health.  We want to reassure everyone that CNTW are continuing to provide mental health and learning disability services during this challenging period.  

"You shouldn’t put off seeing a doctor about a physical health condition, and the same goes for your mental health: the earlier you seek help, the better.

"It is understandable if you feel you need more mental health support at the moment. Lots of people are facing increased stress and anxiety, about their own health and the health of friends and family, bereavements, financial insecurity, and changes to how they must live and work.

“Mental health services are still open and providing advice, care and treatment from our expert professionals. If you feel like you need some more support, please speak to your GP or Care Coordinator."

Where people can seek help:

NHS psychological therapies services (also known as IAPT, which stands for Improving Access to Psychological Therapies) can help with a range of common mental health problems including depression, anxiety disorders and panic attacks, and post-traumatic stress disorder. You can refer yourself for support, or ask your GP to make a referral for you. Find more details about your local psychological therapies service here:

If someone is in a mental health crisis and needs urgent help, they can call CNTW's regional crisis teams 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. These are emergency specialist teams, working with all ages and mental health conditions, and will ensure you get the help you need:

·         For the Northumberland and North Tyneside Universal Crisis Team call 0800 6522 861. (Those who are Deaf/hard of hearing can text 07887625277.)

·         For the Sunderland and South Tyneside Universal Crisis Team call 0800 6522 867. (Those who are Deaf/hard of hearing can text 07889036280.)

·         For the Newcastle and Gateshead Universal Crisis Team call 0800 6522 863. (Those who are Deaf/hard of hearing can text 07919 228 548.)

·         For the North Cumbria Universal Crisis Team call 0800 6522 865. (Those who are Deaf/hard of hearing can text 0779 565 6226.)

For mental health emergencies where someone's life is at risk or where you cannot keep someone safe, you should dial 999 or go to your nearest Emergency (A&E) Department. Specialist mental health clinicians work at A&E departments across the region, who will be able to assess and treat mental health conditions.

CNTW also offers a range of award-winning self-help guides, offering information and practical advice on coping with issues including anxiety, sleeping problems and stress. They are available in a variety of formats, including audio and British Sign Language, and can be found online at

Freephone Crisis Line [County Durham and Darlington]

Did you know there is a dedicated freephone telephone service to offer emotional support to individuals living in County Durham and Darlington who are in mental or emotional distress?

Please make a note of Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys' crisis telephone number 0800 0516171 in case you, or a loved one, should ever need support in a mental health emergency.

The service is for all ages including those with learning disabilities and/or autism, and is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, offering local people the opportunity to talk to trained mental health support workers about whatever is troubling them.

Advice and information on what to do in a crisis situation can be found here.