Image Credit: York Mind
Keeping a check on our mental health is just as important as physical health. Just because we can’t always see a mental bruise doesn't mean it is not present. Often the two can go hand in hand as sport is one of the proven ways we can look after our mental health. One of the charities helping people to do so is York Mind, this year’s Roses charity recipient. Nouse spoke to Jenna Goodridge, fundraising coordinator at York Mind, to find out more about the important work they're doing to support the people of York.
Jenna began by sharing some staggering figures. Within a three month period at the start of lockdown York Mind supported over 1,000 people. Jenna expressed that this was a huge figure for such a short period compared to what she had seen before. York Mind are an independent local charity and are responsible for raising their own funding. In the next year they will need to raise £185,000 and so every pound they can raise counts. In 2017, the last time York Mind were the Roses charity recipient, the funds raised went towards seemingly small but important things in the daily running of the charity. This includes the fact that they are able to fund an office space from which they can undertake their work, including a space to print their informative cards with the hope of reaching more people.
The money raised during this year's Roses Unlocked will go a long way in helping them to provide more vital support services. One way the money will be used is towards 1-1 counselling sessions which normally costs on average £26 per person for 1 hour. A further way in which the money will be used is to fund young people services which Jenna explains is a massive growth sector in the charity. This will include activities and back to work support for young adults, something that is crucial as we begin to readjust to ‘normal’ life.
More generally the funds raised will go towards supporting both recovery from mental ill health but also to support wellbeing so that people can identify any mental health concerns. Jenna said that ‘the sooner people seek support the more likely they are not to hit a crisis.’ Speaking up at any point when you feel you may be starting to struggle is important and the support is always there. Jenna summarised that: ‘It can be really stressful at the moment to go back into life and so York Mind is there to help send a message about how to cope and if you feel that you aren't coping who to get in touch with.’
The links between sport and improved mental health cannot be overstated. When participating in sport people are immersed in social interaction which has recently been so minimal. Jenna commented that ‘people feel included in something and feel a part of something which is massive.’ Physical activity gets both the mind and body moving and creates endorphins which can make us feel better after exercise. York Mind are currently working on a new campaign that will launch in May for Mental Health Awareness Week. The theme will be linked to nature with an emphasis on sport and getting out and into nature.
Like many charities,York Mind was hugely impacted by the pandemic most notably as they usually work as a face to face charity. They initially faced a 14 day turn around from offering support in person to then moving entirely virtual. This has been coupled with the challenge of engaging with people who are isolated and alone. A main concern in particular for York Mind has been students in York who may be from elsewhere in the country or international students who might not know the charity, where it is based or how to access support.
Nouse then asked Jenna why she thinks it is important now more than ever that we see an increase in Mental health funding. She responded by saying that York Mind found prior to the pandemic people were starting to recognise their own mental health and that this was accentuated by the lockdowns. Jenna noted the double edged sword that has occurred ‘in a negative sense more people need our help but then in a more positive sense we are seeing that more people are asking for help before reaching crisis point.’ Increased funding is needed so that York Mind can rise to meet this need while maintaining the high standards of their services.
Students can access support from York Mind via their website. York Mind is a self referral service and so you do not need to go to a doctor first. The website has lots of advice and if you are in crisis it will direct you to help. There is an ‘I need help now button’. Even if it turns out that York Mind isn't the charity that will best suit your needs they can also refer you to different services if needed as well as offer advice on general wellbeing.
If you would like to get involved and help the charity by volunteering or sharing their campaigns on social media you can contact York Mind via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. There is currently an exciting internship opportunity in the process of being developed. If you are creative and good with indesign or canva and would like to help with leaflet designs for new campaigns contact the email address for more information.