Mental Health

Mental Health General information

Evidence based statistics show that 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem in any given year.

Mental health problems range from the worries we all experience as part of everyday life to serious long-term conditions. The majority of people who experience mental health problems can get over them or learn to live with them, especially if they get help early on.

For signs and symptoms of some common Mental Health problems visit our Self Help page.

If you are worried about the mental health of a young person click here

Moses Mumbles

mentalMy name is Laura Moses and I am 25 years old. I live in Washington and am Centre Administrator of a Shopping Centre having recently finished my degree in Business with English at the University of Sunderland, of which I will graduate in December with a 2.1; something I never thought I would be able to do.

I have suffered with depression and self-harm from being 14 years old and after many hospital stays and psychiatric stays I was diagnosed with both Bipolar Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder when I was 21 years old. I have learned over the years to manage this with self-management, medication and exercise among other things. Another way I have found has helped to help me understand how I am feeling and sometimes put things in perspective is to write it down. That’s why I started this blog.; to help get my thoughts and feelings out of my head. I also hope that by writing my blog it can help other people that are perhaps going through similar struggles as I have, or even help people who don’t know about mental health issues to understand them a little more.

Click here to read my blog. I hope you enjoy reading it!

An Alternative Guide to Mental Health Care in England

Every year, one in four of us will experience a mental health problem. The experience will be different for each of us, as will the type of support we need.

But what mental health services are there? And how do they fit in with other health and public services? Watch our animation from the Kings Fund to find out more.

Wellbeing Self Assessment - How happy are you?

Good mental wellbeing – some people call it happiness – is about more than avoiding mental health problems. It means feeling good and functioning well.

This tool uses WEMWBS, a scale which is often used by scientists and psychologists to measure wellbeing.  Click here!

10 Ways to Look After Your Mental Health

A useful checklist from the Mental Health Foundation:

1.Talk About Your Feelings: Talking about your feelings can help you stay in good mental health and deal with times when you feel troubled. It’s part of taking charge of your wellbeing and doing what you can to stay healthy.

2. Eat Well: There are strong links between what we eat and how we feel – for example, caffeine and sugar can have an immediate effect. But food can also have a long-lasting effect on your mental health.

3. Keep in Touch: Friends and family can make you feel included and cared for.  They can offer different views from whatever’s going on inside your own head.  They can help keep you active, keep you grounded and help you solve
practical problems.

4. Take a Break: A change of scene or a change of pace is good for your mental health. It could be a five-minute pause from cleaning your kitchen, a half hour lunch break at work or a weekend exploring somewhere new. A few
minutes can be enough to de-stress you.

5. Accept Who You Are: Some of us make people laugh, some are good at maths, others cook fantastic meals. Some of us share our lifestyle with the people who live close to us, others live very differently. We’re all different.
6. Keep Active: Experts believe exercise releases chemicals in your brain that make you feel good. Regular exercise can boost your self-esteem and help you concentrate, sleep, look and feel better. Exercise also keeps the brain and
your other vital organs healthy.

7. Drink Sensibly: We often drink alcohol to change our mood. Some people drink to deal with fear or loneliness, but the effect is only temporary.

8. Ask for Help: None of us are superhuman. We all sometimes get tired or overwhelmed by how we feel or when things go wrong. If things are getting too much for you and you feel you can’t cope, ask for help.

9. Do Something You’re Good At: What do you love doing? What activities can you lose yourself in? What did you love doing in the past? Enjoying yourself helps beat stress. Doing an activity you enjoy probably means you’re good at it and achieving something boosts your self-esteem.

10. Care for Others: Caring for others is often an important part of keeping up relationships with people close to you. It can even bring you closer together.

Reproduced from the Mental Health Foundation website:

The Mind guide to seeking help for a mental health problem

This guide to taking the first steps, making empowered decisions and getting the right support for you. It also includes information about seeking help outside the NHS, and information for friends and family on how to support someone else to seek help.

Access it here!

No Health Without Mental Health

Click here to visit the Gov.UK website to see the No Health Without Mental strategy document.

What is Recovery?

Recovery means different things to different people – it is very personal.  Recovery is not a one-off event – it is a process that can take time.  Setbacks are a natural part of improving things in the long term.  Read more from Re-Think here!

Unhelpful Thoughts

The way that we think about things has an impact on our mood, anxiety and stress levels. Many of these thoughts occur outside of our control, and can be negative or unhelpful. It is therefore important to remember that they are just thoughts, without any real basis, and are not necessarily facts. Even though we may believe a lot of our unhelpful thoughts when we are feeling low, anxious or stressed, it is good to remember that they should be questioned as they are often based on wrong assumptions. Read more from Mood Juice here!

Here are some more useful sites:


Right here, right now

A national report looking at peoples experiences of help, care and support during mental health crisis.

This CQC report is based on feedback from almost 1,800 people who have experience of a mental health crisis.  Click here to access the report!

New Mental Health Act Code of Practice

The Department of Health has published a revised code of practice for the Mental Health Act 1983. There have been significant changes in legislation, case law, policy and professional practice since the last code was published in 2008. The Code has been revised following extensive
consultation and was drawn up with advice from an Expert Reference Group of nine service users and six carers with current or recent experience of care and treatment under the Mental Health Act 1983. The Code provides statutory guidance (ie must note) to registered medical practitioners, approved clinicians, managers and staff of providers, and approved mental health professionals on how they should carry out functions under the Mental Health Act. It also gives beneficial guidance to the police, ambulance service and the voluntary sector. It is hoped that the Code will also be helpful to patients, their representatives, carers, families, friends, advocates and others who support

You can download this substantial and significant document here.

A LIVE Worth Living Suicide Prevention Programme

Washington Mind have produced this video which was launched on World Suicide Prevention Day on 10th September 2014 to raise awareness around suicide prevention.

For information about the A LIFE Worth Living Training please visit:

The New Hopewood Park Hospital

This new facility in Ryhope, Sunderland provides a range of Mental Health Services.

Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust have developed Hopewood Park as part of their Trust’s Pride Project – It boasts 122 beds and seven wards.  The adjacent Meadow View Unit has 15 beds.
For more information please click here!

Hopewood Transport Service

Some patients from the South Tyneside area will now be receiving their care and
treatment from Hopewood Park. For friends, family and carers who may find public
transport difficult, the trust has arranged regular transport between South Tyneside
Hospital (Bede Wing) and Hopewood Park.  Click here for timetable info!

How to talk to your GP about your mental health

Click here to access the document

Doc Ready

It can be difficult to talk to people when you’re having difficulties with your mental health.
Doc Ready helps you get ready for the first time you visit a doctor to discuss your mental health.The Doc Ready website will also give you the following info:

Big White Wall

A safe online community of people who are anxious, down or not coping who support and help each other by sharing what’s troubling them, guided by trained professionals.Available 24/7, Big White Wall is completely anonymous so you can express yourself freely and openly. Professionally trained Wall Guides ensure the safety and anonymity of all members.

Watch this quick 2 minute video to find out how Big White Wall works.

Click here to access Big White Wall

Are you supporting someone in the Criminal Justice System?

It can be very difficult for friends and relatives of people with mental health problems going through the criminal justice system. Many of the people who contact us are friends and relatives who want to do the best they can to support their loved one, but they often don’t know or understand the system and feel helpless. We have five guides that cover each stage of the criminal justice system.

Click here to download these useful guides.

Panic or Anxiety Attacks

Panic attacks (or sometimes referred to as anxiety attacks) are extremely frightening. They seem to come out of the blue, strike at random, make people feel powerless, out of control, and as if they are about to die or go mad. Many people experience this problem, but many also learn to cope and, eventually, to overcome it successfully.

To read more about panic attacks, what causes them, how they can become a problem and which therapies can be effective visit the Mind website here.

Click here to access a personal story of a panic attack sufferer.

Access support from your local IAPT Team (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies)

New Tyneside Mind film about the WCA

Tyneside Mind have produced a powerful new film about the Work Capability Assessment (WCA). In the film, actors depict the experiences of people who are supported by Tyneside Mind and have been through the WCA.

Many people find the process of going through the WCA difficult and distressing, and this is very much reflected in the film.

The film contains references to suicide which you may find triggering, please watch carefully.

Many people continue to find the WCA process stressful, insensitive, inaccurate and unfair. It needs to change.

Time to Change

Time to Change is England’s biggest ever attempt to end the stigma and discrimination that faces people with mental health problems.It is a campaign to change attitudes, and behaviour too. One in four of us will experience a mental health problem in our lifetime – and if we do, we are highly likely to face stigma and discrimination from others.

Click here to add your name and pledge to the Time to Change Pledge Wall!

Do you Care for Someone With Schizophrenia?

There is now a brand new Support Group for those who care for people with Schizophrenia

If you would like to know more please contact Margaret on 07771752622 or

Mental Elf

Want to keep your finger on the ‘evidence pulse’, but don’t have the time to find or read all the stuff?

The Mental Elf will keep you up to date with reliable mental health research, policy & guidance.

Preventing Suicide in England
A cross-government outcomes strategy to save lives
This new strategy is intended to reduce the suicide rate and improve support for those affected by suicide. The strategy: sets out key areas for action; states what government departments will do to contribute; and brings together knowledge about groups at higher risk, effective interventions and resources to support local action.  Access the document here!
Mental Health and Spirituality
On the face of it, they do not seem to have much in common. But we are becoming increasingly aware of ways in which some aspects of spirituality can offer real benefits for mental health.  To read more and to access a range of leaflets and resources visit:
Lethal Discrimination

This report examines how people with mental illness are being let down and lays out recommendations for change.

Self Help Guides

Northumberland, Tyne & Wear NHS Foundation Trust have developed several self help guides which have been written by local healthcare professionals with contributions from healthcare staff and service users.

Publications include subjects such as Abuse, Controlling Anger, Domestic Violence, Health Anxiety, Obsessions and Compulsions, Post Traumatic Stress and Self Harm and much more!

Click here to access them

Choose an area for local support information
Mental Health in South Tyneside
A range of support can be accessed within your local community with no need for a referral from your GP.

Visit our Talking Therapies page to How to Refer to Services see local services and how to access their support.

South Tyneside Lifecycle Primary Care Mental Health Service incorporates the provision of IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies) mental health services across the entire age spectrum including the 0-5 Early Years, Children and Adolescent (Tier 2 CAMHS), together with South Tyneside Talking Therapies for adults with mild to moderate mental health difficulties. Click here for more information such as How to Refer and Opening Times. You can contact South Tyneside Lifecycle Primary Care Mental Health Service on: 0191 2832937

Mental Health in Sunderland

Click here to access the Community Mental Health Profile for Sunderland 2014 A range of support can be accessed within your local community with no need for a referral from your GP.

Mental Health Matters operates User Voice service in Sunderland (SMHUV) which is available to promote mental health service user involvement and promote positive well being. You may want to attend meetings that help to change the way mental health Service Users are treated, or challenge the way a service is run. Alternatively you could simply find out more information on the things that directly affect you, or meet with other members. Click here for more information.

Visit our Talking Therapies page to How to Refer to Services see local services and how to access their support.

The Improving Access to Psychological Therapies Service is a national initiative but it is sometimes delivered in slightly different ways. In a lot of areas the IAPT services are integrated with the Primary Care Mental Health teams and often offer a wider range of services than IAPT.

Click here to access the Sunderland Psychological  Wellbeing Service (or Sunderland IAPT) leaflet, which includes a list of courses which they deliver. You can contact the Sunderland wellbeing Team directly to make a self referral by calling them on 0191 566 5450. Others such as your GP can make a referral on your behalf if you prefer. Click here to access more information about the service including opening times.

Washington Mind offer a range of mental health and wellbeing services and training to respond to the needs of local people. They offer independent, non-stigmatising services based in the local community that are accessible to all. Referrals can be taken from professionals as well as self and family/carer referrals. No one service can be all things to all people but working together as a community we can do so much more to meet the needs of our  community. When using our services you have the right to expect: To receive adequate information To feel welcome, safe and free to be yourself To be treated with respect and not to be judged To be offered services that are appropriate your needs (or signposted if necessary) To have a full explanation of our confidentiality policy and what it means to you To have the opportunity to comment on what you think of the service good and bad Click here to access their website!

Provide confidential, high quality services for individuals, carers and families experiencing emotional or mental health problems. They aim to do this in a safe, caring, non-judgmental and supportive environment. Sunderland Mind welcome referrals from community, voluntary, statutory, private sectors and other agencies.  Click here to access their website!

Headlight is a service user lead Mental Health Resource Centre.  They provide information around mental health issues and signpost members where needed. They offer service users a chance to develop existing skills and learn new ones that will help with their recovery, in a caring and safe environment.  Click here for more information!

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