What is a CIC?

In 2017 NWCH was founded to help support the local community with their mental health and wellbeing. We are, on occasion, mistaken for a charity, however, we are in fact a Community Interest Company (CIC). 

 

A CIC, as the name suggests is a social enterprise that exists to benefit the community rather than shareholders. A CIC is still a limited company, but its objectives are to offer services or to benefit the community in a certain way. 

 

To become a CIC, we were required to submit a community interest statement, to outline what we intended to do, with particular reference to how our services will benefit the community. Once set up, we then had the responsibility to undertake activities to fulfil our purpose in accordance with the statement. This information is in the public domain, and should anyone wish to find the statement they can do so on Companies House. 

 

The directors at NWCH identified a huge gap in the counselling support that is provided to young people in particular. We wanted to provide a service that, unlike many others within the area, offers a safe, secure and consistent environment for young people to access counselling and begin to rebuild their lives. 

 

Our main goal is to provide a central hub to support the mental health and wellbeing of children, young people, adults, families and couples within Lincolnshire – including; 

 

  • Young people in abusive relationships
  • Young parents
  • Young people who have experienced sexual abuse or rape
  • Families who are facing cancer

 

Unlike a charity, a CIC is restricted in terms of the funding they can apply for. Although there are restrictions – there are funding opportunities available and within the first year NWCH received funding for their Acorn Project – which helped young people between the ages of four and 18 years old, who have suffered sexual abuse or rape.

 

The Acorn Project was made possible with the help of grants and donations from The Key Fund and Bromhead Medical Charity. The hub has also received grants from The National Lottery and more recently The Police Crime Commissioner. The hub also receives donations from local businesses in the form of monetary donations or help with services as well as from the general public. These donations are gratefully received and within the confines of the CIC are used for specific projects or development of the hub’s facilities. Unlike a charity, the funds that we receive are usually allocated to a specific purpose. As a CIC, NWCH is bound by an ‘asset lock’, this is a legal promise that the company’s assets will only be used for its social objectives. 

 

A CIC is a social enterprise that can trade and offer services to the public. We offer counselling services at a cost, but we also provide counselling to those who are most in need and who, without this help would not be able to access services that they desperately need. We do this either by funding sessions through projects like the Acorn project or helping clients access funding, through the Bromhead charity.

 

Whilst it is not mandatory, to show accountability we have a board of directors, which is made up of 1 director and 3 non-executive directors. We also have a team of panel members who hold the directors accountable as well as offering valuable opinions around their own areas of expertise.

 

We hope this blog has helped you to understand our situation as a CIC. Ultimately we want to help as many people in our community as possible. We employ only experienced, qualified and registered counsellors who have the skills and knowledge to really help those in need. By receiving grants and donations we can continue to provide counselling services to the people of Lincolnshire who otherwise would not be able to access the help they desperately need. 

 

If you would like to donate you can do so here https://nwcounsellinghub.co.uk/donations/

 

Or for more information on accessing counselling, you can call us on (01522) 253809 Or you can CLICK HERE

Double funding boost

Lincoln-based counsellors are celebrating grants totalling £101,000 during an intense period of overwhelming demand for their services.

The team at the NWCH (the Naomi Watkins Counselling Hub) are thrilled to announce that it has been awarded £70,000 from The National Lottery Community Fund and received £20,000 from The Key Fund – matching bids from the Community Interest Company.

Read the full article below.

Mental Health and Covid-19 NWCH

On March 23rd 2020 the UK went into lockdown. With such drastic changes happening so quickly for the country, there were big adjustments to be made both in our day to day lives as well as mentally. Now as the lockdown eases and the world begins its ‘new normal’ there are a whole new set of feelings and emotions coming to light.

When lockdown began we took the decision to go online – we simply could not let our clients go without the much-needed counselling sessions. It was incredibly important to us that we could offer help to anyone who needed it. This came with its own challenges – ensuring that our clients were able to speak confidentially to us and that our counsellors had the correct technology and private space as well as ensuring the platforms we were using were safe.

We worked hard to allow our clients to be able to access their much-needed counselling and to support any individuals and businesses that needed our help.

Lockdown was a new experience for everyone. Despite the fact that we were all experiencing the same lockdown restrictions, everyone’s experience of it was vastly different. There were children missing the structure and support of the school and their friends, parents homeschooling their children whilst trying to work full time, key workers supporting their community by continuing to work as well as people facing uncertainty about their jobs – and these are just a few of the many scenarios. When you consider the huge transitions people made in such a small time, it is understandable that so many people experienced negative feelings such as anxiety, stress, low mood/depression or loneliness, some for the first time in their lives.

For many people, these feelings are often temporary, however, if left untreated these feelings can develop and soon become overwhelming. It is important to seek help before this point – which is why we wanted to keep our services available during the pandemic. A recent survey by Nuffield Health reported that around 80% of British people working from home now feel lockdown has had a negative impact on their mental health, while a quarter of those (25%) said they were finding it difficult to cope with the emotional challenges of isolation. It is vital at times like this, that we check in with those around us and reach out if we feel negative emotions.

During difficult times we can try to protect our mental health – here are just a few tips:

Read-only reputable news – ensure you have the facts and don’t allow yourself to be taken in by fake news.

Keep in touch with your friends & family – Social media is a great way to keep in touch with those around you, but try and limit your screen time and avoid scrolling through social platforms for too long.

Keep active – Although there were restrictions on exercise at first, enjoying the outdoors can really boost your mood and allow you to feel free from the confines of your home.

Plan your day – Having a plan can help you to feel more in control, especially when you cannot control what is happening in the outside world.

Try meditation – Meditation & yoga are a great way to relax and clear your mind to focus on the present.

Sleep – Although you may find it difficult to sleep right now, it is important that you try as best you can. Avoiding technology before bed can help you to get a good night’s rest.

These tips are helpful, but no matter how small or insignificant you think your feelings are, it is important to seek professional help and advice sooner rather than later. You can have a free telephone consultation with us and find out more about our counselling services.

Over the past month, we have been busy putting in place new measures to ensure the safety of our clients and counsellors, so that we can begin seeing our clients face to face. We have installed screens, providing face masks and face coverings, hand sanitiser is available and we are only using the larger rooms so that there is enough distance during sessions.

As the lockdown eases, it is important to understand that not everyone is feeling good about the situation. There is a lot of change and uncertainty, for people already battling with their mental health it can become even more stressful. If you are feeling worried or nervous about the ‘new normal’ it is important not to hide these feelings. Talk to someone about them or seek help from a professional if you need to.

No matter how small or insignificant you feel your problems might be, it is important to acknowledge and overcome these feelings in the right way. If you need to speak to a qualified professional and experienced counsellor we can help you. You can arrange a free initial consultation and we aim to speak to you within 24 hours so there is no waiting around.

Click here to contact us today.

Read full article here >

Counsellors are celebrating winning a share of £150,000 of funding secured by Lincolnshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner for organisations supporting victims of domestic and sexual abuse.

The Lincoln-based NWCH (Naomi Watkins Counselling Hub) has received £11,000, as one of seven benefiting charitable organisations which have been forced to adapt their operations to continue helping their clients during the Coronavirus pandemic.

NWCH Chief Executive Officer Naomi Watkins-Ligudzinska and her team are thrilled to receive the grant, which comes at a time when they have been fully stretched to provide counselling support for 130 people a week, using the telephone and online systems, whilst having to put many others in need on to a waiting list for face-to-face therapy.

Read full article here >

Covid 19 & Domestic Abuse

Important Announcement – Public Health

Dear all NWCH clients (all current clients will also be emailed separately with this information).

As part of our duty of care as a mental health provider we would like to take this opportunity to reassure you that we are closely watching the developing matters relating to COVID-19 (Coronavirus), taking keen note of information disseminated by Public Health England, the Department of Health, and our local Government. We would like to take a proactive rather than reactive approach to the situation. We are continually reflecting about ways in which to keep our clients and staff safe.

Here is the link to the World Health Organisation (WHO) page about the virus https://buff.ly/2uA6LBt which gives information on how to protect yourselves.

Following last week’s press conference from the UK Government and yesterday’s advice, where it was announced that the UK is entering the Delay Phase, and taking into account the changing nature of the situation, we would like to let you know that the NWCH Hub remains open at this time unless national advice changes, however here are some points to be aware of:

1. Skype / telephone appointments are available:
If you would rather not attend the Hub for a session that you have booked in, as always, Skype or telephone consultations are available. If you would like to take this approach please let us know as soon as possible in advance of your session so that we can make sure you and us are fully equipped for this session. This option is also naturally available for those that choose / need to self-isolate. The fees for sessions remain the same, those of you that have funded sessions will not pay for your sessions as normal.

2. Your health:
In line with the advice stated by the National Press Conference last week, if you have a new and constant dry cough, or if you have a raised temperature (higher than 37.8c) you will need to stay at home and rest for 7-14 days. In addition to this, if you feel that you have developed symptoms, please call ‪111‬ or visit https://t.co/hztqvxsWb0

3. Our health:
Should any of our staff develop any symptoms or become aware that they have been in contact with anyone asked to self-isolate, or if they are diagnosed, they will immediately postpone their sessions. We will make those booked in aware of the situation and will not re-start sessions with that counsellor until they have been given the all clear by primary health care professionals / have been clear of symptoms for 7-14 days. You will be provided with contact details for other organisations and/or offered telephone/skype sessions.

4. Online advice:
Please only take advice from trusted sources such as NHS England, found here: https://t.co/vZvkU18g1i

Whilst many of the people who have the virus will only experience mild to moderate symptoms, we feel we have a duty of care to especially protect those with complex / serious ill-health issues, pregnant people and older people over the age of 70 years of age, and by taking extra care, we reduce the risk of passing the virus onto those people and those closest to us.

These are very unusual circumstances, but we feel it is best to be prepared and aware. We will continue to monitor the situation and update you accordingly with any further changes. Please do feel free to ask any questions you may have with your counsellor at your appointment or please also feel free to call or email us.

Thank you for your continued support and we wish you all the best of health in these uncertain times.

More than 80 delegates attend Lincoln’s First Suicide Prevention Conference

More than 80 people attended Lincoln’s First Suicide Prevention Conference this week to find ways to stem an “avoidable” loss of life in the future – after figures revealed the city has seen its highest suicide rate since 2002.

As many as 20 people in Lincoln took their own lives in the last year and Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures show that 87 people committed suicide in the county in 2018.

Delegates, including mental health practitioners, front-line workers and counsellors, listened to inspirational speakers and reflected on the figures during the World Suicide Prevention Day event at The Showroom, in Tritton Road, which was organised by the NWCH (Naomi Watkins Counselling Hub).

Delegates also attended in-depth workshops on: Suicide Prevention in Young People (the number of young people under the age of 24 who committed suicide hit a 19-year-high last year); Suicide Prevention in the LGBT-plus community and ADHD and Suicide.

Delegates heard from NWCH Chief Executive Naomi Watkins about her recent six-week research trip to Australia and New Zealand, following winning a Winston Churchill Fellowship.

After a welcome from Naomi, Lincolnshire Police & Crime Commissioner Marc Jones said he recognised the importance of tackling the risk of suicides, which has seen the tightening-up of gun licensing locally.

“A young officer who has had classroom-based training can go out with his mentor and his first experiences can be attending a fatal RTA, followed by a suicide. This has brought home to me how difficult the job is. Wearing a uniform doesn’t stop people from having human frailty. We have to support them and share best practice with others,” he said.

The ONS figures show that, countrywide, the number of people ending their lives by suicide increased by 11.8 per cent from 5,821 to 6,507. That is the first increase in the suicide rate since 2013. Males made-up 75 per cent of that 6,507.

Fortis Therapy & Training Managing Director Alexis Powell-Howard, who supports people from diverse backgrounds picked-up on this issue, in her Mental Emotional Needs (MEN) address.

Kyle Walker of Positive Connections said people needed to be aware of the damaging impact of listening to persistent unhelpful messages that pop into their heads.

“My message to others is, the past has gone, it’s important to live in the present. You can be affected by what (messages) you absorb, but what you believe in is what you will become. It’s important to change your internal dialogue,” said Kyle.

SK First Aid Training Director Samantha Kendall spoke about Mental Health and Crisis Situations. Samantha, who formerly worked as a qualified Emergency Medical Technician for seven years, said crews often put on brave faces when dealing with devastating situations.

Heath Blogger Thomas Dunning (aka The Mental Health Runner), who was rocked by the loss of his brother Will Bonner in 2009, has also experienced other problems including cyber-bullying.

Volunteer, coach and campaigner for the improvement of her local mental health services, Emily Nuttall travelled from Guernsey to speak at the conference.

“I think a lot of people try to give the impression they are someone they are not. You are not being weak if you just be yourself. I believe many people wear masks. I urge them to leave theirs at home and realise it is fine “not to feel okay,” she said.

Surrey woman Charley James (29), who told how she and her sister Katie both contemplated ending their lives by suicide on different occasions, is a keen advocate of mental health awareness.

“I was put through to the Children and Adolescent Mental Health service because I had been self-harming and eventually learned that I had an emotional unstable personality disorder, that wasn’t picked up until much later,” she said.

The recovering addict, who used drugs and alcohol in order to self-medicate, has been clean for two-and-a-half years, but said it was far too long to get properly diagnosed. After “15 years of pain” she wants to see “faults in the system” addressed.

The conference featured well-attended workshops. NWCH Counselling & Safeguarding Lead & Trainer Chris Morris, led the session on Suicide Prevention in Young People.

Robert Glenton, founder of Upbeat – a social group for people with a personality disorder – and former professional footballer and now an enthusiastic mental health advocate Martin Pemberton of Rhomb Associates, also spoke.

NWCH Chief Executive Naomi Watkins shared what she had discovered during her six-week visit to Australia and New Zealand.

“This trip gave me an unrivalled opportunity to see and hear, first hand, how professional and voluntary organisations there are working to prevent suicides. We shared so much of value. Our counterparts face similar issues, but people seem to be more philanthropic and there is more funding around.”

Colleague and fellow NWCH Director Charlie Blackwell said it had been a highly successful day, adding that it is the socially isolated and those without supportive family, friends and work colleagues who are the most at risk of mental health challenges – but help is available.

Read all about it – lots of news and updates this month

What a busy few months we have had! Let’s start with a visit from the Police Crime Commissioner to celebrate our 10,000 counselling session since we started in April 2017!

At NWCH we counsel both victims of crime and help with the rehabilitation of ex-offenders.

“The work NWCH does is vital for helping victims of crime rebuild shattered lives and helps increase the likelihood of ex-offenders reintegrating back into society, reducing the number of victims,” said Mr Marc Jones.

“It’s been fascinating to see the amazing work that goes on here. It’s one crucial piece of a complex jigsaw of services that help our communities remain healthy, feel supported and stay safe.”

NWCH’s Director, Charlie Blackwell said: “NWCH has worked tirelessly for over two years to forge successful collaborations with as many organisations as possible, and many now refer clients to us, enabling us to provide counselling to the most vulnerable members of society.

“We have invested heavily in raising awareness of our services and the general public is now much more aware of what we offer. Week on week, we are seeing increasing numbers of self-referrals with people emailing or calling the Hub directly to request counselling.”

(L-R) Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Marc Jones, with NWCH Director, Charlton Blackwell.

 

 

We won an award!

Naomi Watkins returned home from her research project in Australia and New Zealand to win an award for NWCH! Five of Lincolnshire’s successful, established and emerging new directors and business leaders are winners for the coveted Institute of Directors (IoD) East Midlands Director of the Year awards 2019.

Over 150 guests attended the IoD East Midlands Director of the Year 2019 awards, held this year at Winstanley House in Leicestershire.

Forty six of the region’s successful, established and emerging directors and business leaders were finalists in the awards. Winners of the twelve categories will go forward to the IoD’s national finals in London on October 18th 2019.
Our CEO Naomi Watkins won Director of the year award in the start-up category. She had this to say about her win:
“It is an absolute honour to receive this award and represent the third sector and a community interest company. Running a business that is not-for-profit is extremely challenging. I couldn’t do what I do without my team, so this award is for all of them.”

 

(L-R)  Bruce Spencer-Knott of Minster Surfacing won the Director of the Year in the Innovation category. Caroline Killeavy of the Lincolnshire YMCA won the Director of the Year Third Sector. Naomi Watkins of NW Counselling Hub CIC won the Start Up category. Bill Skelly, Chief Constable of Lincolnshire Police was named Public Sector Director of the Year. Representative for Sean Ramsden of Ramsden International won the Large Business Award.


Announcements

We are now renting out some of our counselling rooms – contact us here to find out more. Suitable for therapists, holistic therapists, reiki practitioners, and any wellbeing therapist / practitioner.

 

We are now providing counselling via Skype and Telephone – please contact us here to find out more and book an assessment call.

We believe counsellors should be supported too, we can help with a hub for you to seek support from others.
We provide workshops and training of a high standard to help you keep your CPD up to date.
For more information about our NEW membership and all things training contact us here.

Are you passionate about Suicide Prevention? – If you are have you got your ticket yet to our conference? A Conference addressing Suicide Prevention. With guest speakers sharing their research, telling their lived experiences with their own mental health, and sharing good practice. Including workshops by NWCH trainers and a guest trainer in the afternoon based around three key topics; Suicide Prevention in Young People, Suicide Prevention in Adults, Suicide Prevention in the LBGT+ Community.

NWCH is passionate about suicide prevention and being able to see any warning signs early on, so we can support others to address the key concerns in clients lives. Through counselling and support at our dedicated hub in Lincoln we help many people who have suicidal ideation and/or intention. This conference is aimed at practitioners, front line workers, counsellors, therapists, psychiatrists, psychologists, PSHE leads in Schools, pastoral teams in schools, clinicians, GP’s and mental health practitioners.

Early bird ticket only available until the end of July – book here Sold Out

See our full calendar of events here.

That’s it for now! What a jam packed few months we have had! Thank you for all your support for us as always.

The End!

*Emotional trigger warning – content involves suicide*

11th June 2019

My last blog, on my last day in New Zealand!

I can’t believe it’s also the last day of my six-week Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Fellowship, researching Suicide Prevention here and in Australia too. It has gone so quickly.

I must admit, this last week in Christchurch has been the toughest. I have been a little homesick, not helped by many WIFI problems, so struggling to contact home. Christchurch is also in the throes of winter and still recovering from the earthquakes eight years ago, whilst reeling from the very recent terrorist attacks in March of this year.

However, I have met some fantastic organisations and individuals doing amazing things for suicide prevention and young people.

I first met with Laila Cooper, CEO, and Sandi Malcolm, Service Manager, from Christchurch Primary Health Organisation (PHO). The PHO funds GP’s. So, people pay to see the doctor in New Zealand, but it’s a copayment, and the PHO funds practices to provide subsidised services and other health services. Interestingly, the I learned that people living in Christchurch, particularly those who were young children during the earthquakes eight years ago, are showing a decline in their mental health. This presents as high levels of anxiety and trauma related symptoms. People have also been re-traumatised by the terrorist attacks in March 2019, which rocked the nation. The PHO heavily praised the work of ‘298 Youth Health Centre’ headed by Susan Bagshaw, that I will talk about later, and they feel that Christchurch really came together as a community in the wake of the traumatic events of recent years, especially after the terrorist attack.

(L-R) Laila Cooper – CEO, Naomi Watkins – CEO NWCH, and Sandi Malcolm – Service Manager

The next day I met with Pegasus Health Care, David Cairns, Suicide Prevention Co-Ordinator, John Robinson, Suicide Prevention and Postvention Co-Ordinator & Gythlian Loveday. Pegasus Health supports many aspects of health and wellbeing in Canterbury and has created a network of organisations who work collectively on a number of issues. They provide services and support to general practices and community-based health providers to deliver quality health care to patients and they are committed to improving health outcomes of the people in their communities. David has worked in this field for ten years and was clear that there are high rates of suicide in Christchurch, but no higher than other parts of New Zealand, and there has not been an increase in suicide rates due to the earthquakes or terrorist attacks. Gythlian made a great point about how isolating and traumatising this line of work can be, with little support, and people can be dismissive of those in the field. Which is why having a network of like-minded individuals can really help. This made me reflect on NW Counselling Hub, Lincoln, UK, where the self-employed counsellors in the Hub all support each other, and how the Hub can bring other organisations into that supportive space in the future!

Recently honoured Dame Susan Bagshaw invited me to a research meeting with a room full of passionate and motivated people. They clapped as we entered the meeting, which I thought was because we were late, but luckily it was to celebrate Susan’s Dame-hood! Glad it’s not just me who’s late to meetings! Ha!

Susan then took me to 298 Youth Health Hub that supports 10 to 24 year olds, in their new facility that they moved to this week. They have been forced to move 5 times since the earthquakes, which has been a sad normality for the businesses and people of Christchurch.

This Youth Health Hub is similar to Headspace centres in Australia, but it felt more homely, with lots of friendly faces around. Young people had clearly influenced the design and feel of the Hub and it has a range of in-house Doctors, nurses, counsellors, and youth workers to support clients.

Susan is an amazing, down to earth and welcoming lady who clearly loves what she does. While we were there everyone wanted her attention and she was signing things whilst attending to a patient too! This reminded me of being the CEO at NWCH! But Susan took it all in her stride and with a smile on her face.

Dame Susan Bagshaw – CEO of 298 Youth Health Centre

Lastly, I met with Michael Hempseed author of Being a True Hero – Understanding and preventing suicide in your community.

Michael has made big strides in supporting communities to tackle suicide prevention. He trains people and provides advice about how best to support people. He is an avid ambassador for suicide prevention and has a wealth of knowledge. We had a long chat about the impacts of sleep deprivation on mental health and suicide ideation, which I found very interesting. I urge everyone to read his book and check out his website for more details.

So, during my last few days here in New Zealand, I have spent time in the amazing library in Christchurch Cathedral Centre – Tūranga. It’s spread over four floors and is just spectacular. I’ve spent many hours working in the quiet room. Think I’ll be visiting our local library in Lincoln a lot more when I’m back, because I got loads of work done, even this blog!

So that’s it! Tomorrow I fly back to London. I have learnt so much, met so many wonderful people and have lots of ideas to make a difference to Lincolnshire and beyond.

I’m so grateful to the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust for this fabulous opportunity and I have thoroughly enjoyed it. Now to write that report… and launch it at the NWCH Suicide Prevention Conference, 10th September, 2019, have you got your ticket yet?

Over and out!

NW x

First week in New Zealand

*Emotional trigger warning – content involves suicide*

7th June 2019

My first week in New Zealand has flown by! I met two organisations in Auckland, both doing fabulous work, before flying on to Christchurch for the final week of my Winston Churchill Memorial Trust research fellowship into Suicide Prevention. What a truly fascinating time I’ve had learning so much about the work they do in this field in Australia and New Zealand. My head is packed with ideas and fresh approaches to discuss in the UK.

In Auckland, I began my week with a visit to The Mental Health Foundation where I met Virginia Brooks, the suicide bereavement service co-ordinator, and Ellen Norman, the manager for Maori Development.

The room that we met in had a very interesting picture with poignant message; Ellen tells the story:

“So, this picture is around suicide. It’s an old Chief who went out fishing for his family. He went out and never came back, so was presumed drowned. His wife sat on that hill, waiting and waiting and waiting for him to come back. She waited until the day she died. So, thinking about it from their context, it was a form of suicide. She yearned so much for her loved one who didn’t return, and her heart was so broken, that she passed away too.”

(L-R) Ellen Norman – Manager for Maori Development, Naomi Watkins – CEO NWCH, Virginia Brooks – Suicide Bereavement Service Co-Ordinator

Ellen continued:

“There’s all kinds of things that we see as different from today’s thinking around suicide. We’ve had those kinds of stories throughout New Zealand, where death arose through yearning of lost loved ones, rather than anything else”.

This particularly apt in the Maori community. Both Ellen and Virginia educated me on Maori beliefs, their strong sense of family and being part of a collective, a community.

The resources that The Mental Health Foundation provide to the people of New Zealand are simply amazing. They have consulted people of all ages to garner their help in designing resources that engage and help people in a meaningful way. I feel we can learn a lot from this, and I plan to engage with people in the UK, to consult them on their ideas of what they believe would work best to engage and help people in a meaningful way, so that NWCH CIC can build and disseminate similar resources.

Later that week in Auckland, I met Genevieve Mora, Co-Founder of Voices of Hope.

She explained:

The idea behind Voices of Hope (VOH), is to promote mental well-being empowerment and recovery. Both Jazz Thornton and I [Co-founders of VOH] have lived experience with mental health, so we wanted to create a platform where we could share people’s stories in an open, honest and real format. We want to trying to get rid of both the stigma and shame that’s attached to mental ill health. I think the difference between the work we do and a lot of other people’s work is that we focus on hope! That’s a big thing for us. We focus on those of us who have overcome difficult mental ill health experiences, because we want others to visit our website and say, ‘oh my gosh, they are all like me, where I was or where I am right now, and they’re now well, so I can be too’. We’re all about inspiring people to keep on fighting!”.

Genevieve Mora – Co-Founder of Voices of Hope and her gorgeous dog Abby

Jazz and Genevieve are both 24 years old and they have hugely inspired me with what they have achieved in just two years. Neither takes a wage and both give their time tirelessly to help others survive their own mental health struggles. They provide videos and lots of support on social media to help break-down the stigma around mental health. Voices of Hope exists to enable people with lived experience of mental ill health to help those who are currently struggling, which reminds me of Roses in the Ocean as discussed in my very first blog from Brisbane, Australia.

So, my time in Auckland came to an end and my research in Christchurch has now begun. I scheduled meetings with five organisations in seven days, all with varying perspectives on Suicide Prevention. For now, I’ll wish you ‘G’day people’, as I’m about to go to my third of the five meetings. Watch this space for my last blog from this incredibly inspirational research trip, thanks to the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Fellowship programme.