Stockport and District Mind
A local, independent adult mental health charity
Stockport and District Mind is a local, independent adult mental health charity that supports people in the Stockport area. They offer accessible support and information to people in mental distress and work with others to promote wellbeing in the local community.
Since the coronavirus pandemic, all of their services – bar a few exceptional cases where safe, socially-distanced support has been put in place for extremely vulnerable service users – have been delivered remotely. For example, their Carers Service has continued to support mental health Carers via phone, email and video drop-in groups, and their Isolation and Social Engagement Service, delivered in partnership with Age UK Stockport, has also been delivered by phone and email. “We’ve always added a personal touch as an organisation, that’s one of our huge strengths,” said Lisa Bracewell, a Front Office Duty Worker. “A real human voice to listen, often to people who might otherwise be left behind.” A weekly art group is now being delivered virtually, which has worked really well. “I did my art during our normal meet up time,” one service user said. “I really felt connected to you all.” Mind are planning to showcase all the work created during these times of isolation at an exhibition when the pandemic is over.
Stockport and District Mind service user
This service helped so much in providing me with great advice and help during my situation. Great people and very caring, especially during this pandemic. Absolutely helped me when I didn’t know where to turn.
But the real challenge has been an overwhelming increase in demand for their services. Unsurprisingly, the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown restrictions have has a profound impact on the public’s metal health. A staff member said: “It’s been very busy, one call after another at the moment. Lots of people who haven’t been to us before, who are struggling with crisis”. Mind have reported a 60% increase in calls from people needing support and a 63% increase in length of calls. They contact around 90 vulnerable people per week, and some of these are contacted every day.
“Another challenge has been fundraising,” said Marcus Raymond, Information and Communications Worker. “The entire charity sector has faced a massive problem in that the majority of fundraising events were halted in their tracks, meaning there was an overnight need to adapt, innovate, and try to replace lost income.”
Stockport Mind applied for £1000 from Stockport Council’s emergency coronavirus Community Support fund, which has allowed them to continue communications to their community and corporate supporters who will go on to raise money that will ensure the organisation’s work supporting people through this crisis is sustainable. “We are very grateful for the extra help,” Marcus said. “Utilising the £1000 to continue motivating local people to raise crucial funds has been very important. This allowed us to keep focussed on the services we offer, ensuring people are supported, and allows us to save lives on a daily basis.”
Despite the challenges of working under lockdown, the team at Mind remain positive. “We have an extremely dedicated, skilled, supportive team of people working here – Staff, Trustees and Volunteers,” said Marcus. “And as always, in the face of adversity, we have pulled together to do the best we can to support our community.”
This is clear from the positive feedback they have received from service users. One person, who contacted Mind in crisis, said: “This service helped so much in providing me with great advice and help during my situation. Great people and very caring, especially during this pandemic. Absolutely helped me when I didn’t know where to turn.”
Another service user said: “I can hear my neighbours talking to each other and it reminds me that I have no one, and then the negative thoughts start going round in my head. I don’t know what I would have done without talking to Stockport Mind. It’s been a lifeline and is getting me through this. Knowing that I will have a conversation gives me a boost and I can get through the day. It’s been incredible for me to have this.”
“I feel VCSE organisations (including Stockport Mind) have stepped up to the challenge during this time of need,” said Collin McCabe, General Manager of Stockport Mind. “During a time where the sector is facing financial uncertainties, we have quickly adapted and focussed on the people we serve. Our staff always go above and beyond expectations in their roles and we are extremely proud of the team.”