Sensory Garden at Darlington Mind

Darlington Mind is a mental health charity which promotes health and wellbeing to assist those experiencing mental distress and want to improve their lives.  The organisation runs a wide range of activities including a gardening group and dementia day-care service.

They are pleased to have recently accepted two occupational therapy students from Teesside University to assist the team. The students will be running a project to establish a sensory garden, at Mind’s Darlington Town Centre site. This aims to benefit people accessing existing services and the wider community. This includes bringing people closer together (particularly those suffering from dementia), providing them with a safe place to engage in activity and stimulate their senses.

Darlington Mind want to involve local people in the development of the sensory garden; including care homes, local charities and individuals who wish to be involved. They is looking to run regular cognitive stimulation sessions within the garden to provide relief, relaxation and mindfulness.

They would be pleased to hear from individuals, families, local care homes and charities who are interested in being involved. For more information please contact - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call our reception on 01325 283169.

MHNE Training at GMB Regional Equalities Conference

Report from MHNE Volunteer Janice Docherty

On Wednesday 9th October, I attended the GMB Regional Equalities Conference with Neil and Lyn. I've managed MHNE information stall on a couple of occasions but this time was a bit different.

The conference was attended by GMB members from across the region, the GMB General Secretary Tim Roche and Regional Secretary Billy Coates. Tim spoke about his past Mental Health issues and the importance of talking about it.
Lyn and Neil had agreed to deliver a Mental Health training session and the stall was in the same room as the training which gave me an ideal position to both listen, learn and watch people’s reactions.

After a quick introduction was the quiz, not just a bit of fun but a way to judge your understanding of mental health and the wider implications of the conditions people live with. As the quiz progressed, it was fascinating to see that the majority of participants knew some of the answers, but others were received with shock! These answers created a lot of discussion. The rest of training was brilliant, an extra bonus for me volunteering this morning.

When the training was complete all three of us were inundated with questions from attendees, an indication how successful the training was—and no the pens didn't go first! Sign up for our bulletins was the highest of any event and the evaluation forms gave the session a resounding “excellent”.

It was encouraging to meet so many like-minded GMB members who recognise the importance of supporting peoples Mental Health in the work place and beyond.  I would recommend this training on Mental Health to any organisation.  A big thank you to all at the GMB for the invitation.

MHNE Feature in ITV News Report - Men's Mental Health

MHNE volunteer and creator of Cornerstone Sensory Garden, Ernie Malt has appeared on the regional ITV news last night ahead of World Mental Health Day to talk about men's mental health:

Ernie Malt on ITV - Men's Mental Health

The short report by Kris Jepson highlights the some of the stark statistics in the North East, being well above the national average for male suicide - and the great work that peer support groups such as ManHealth have been doing to get men talking about their mental health.

NCVS Canary in the Mine Report

This report published at the end of last month provides the most recent and comprehensive health check available of the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector in Gateshead and Newcastle. It includes survey responses from 118 local organisations.  

Amongst the feedback and concerns raised, the report found most strikingly the normalisation of poverty, the acceptance of foodbanks and the role of charities and communities organisations in trying to step in to those areas where the state no longer provides support. NCVS say “this is not sustainable and the cracks are obvious”.

“The retraction of the state, particularly in mental health and social services, is getting worse as authorities revert to providing ‘only statutory services’. More time is now spent in advocating for public services for people who should receive them.”

If you haven’t read it yet, there’s plenty to digest—view the full report here.

Your Invitation to Workshops on Crisis Care

In the next few years there will be increased investment in Mental Health Crisis Care across the country to provide new services and improve existing ones. In this region North East together have been asked by The North East Clinical Network to organise and run a series of workshops to find out what matters to people with lived experience of mental health conditions when it comes to Crisis Care. The discussions at the workshops will help influence the provision of future crisis services.

There are three workshops organised so far which are as follows

Newcastle- Monday 19th August 1pm to 4pm at ReCoCo, Anderson House, Market Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 6XA, telephone 0191 2610948

Durham- Wednesday 28th August 1pm to 4pm at The Waddington Street Centre, 3 Waddington Street, Durham, DH1 4BG, telephone 0191 3860702

Middlesbrough- Thursday 5th September 1pm to 4pm at St Marys Centre, 90 Corporation Road, Middlesbrough, TS1 2RW, telephone 01642 249456

All three workshops will have the same format so if you would like to attend please pick whichever venue is most convenient for you.

At the workshops lunch and refreshments will be provided as will reasonable travel expense.

If you have any questions or wish to give apologies please contact Mish Loraine at North East together - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / 07902 403630.

New Report : Views of Mental Health Services in County Durham

Over the past year, Healthwatch County Durham have been gathering experiences and opinions from people using mental health services and those who work for them. The final report based on this feedback is now available on their website.

The report contains a number of recommendations that could improve mental health services for those who need them most. It also includes many anonymised case studies that demonstrate where people feel services are working and where they need to change. Healthwatch would like to everyone who took the time to complete a survey or contact them directly about often difficult experiences.

Read the report here:

Newcastle Healthwatch Report

newcastle health watch



Newcastle Healthwatch has published a report on the information GP practices in Newcastle gave about their procedures for compliments, comments and complaints, how clear that information was and how easy it was to find. Click on the link to view GP_Report.pdf

Dementia 2014: A North East Perspective - report published

dementia reportThis report by the North East Dementia Alliance (produced for the Northern Rock Foundation by Debbie Smith and Peter Otter) summarises the present position across the North East in regards to the provision of dementia care by statutory, voluntary and academic organisations in support of dementia sufferers and their carers. It highlights progress made and gaps in service development and provision.

Report Published July 2014 - Click HERE for a downloadable copy


NEDA        NRF