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Pilot Issue V1 Spring 2018 RRP £3.00

for your wellbeing

£2.00 profit of this

magazine goes to the great cause who sold it to you helping us to help you

Rachel Trezise: “... saying things out loud helps because you’ll find people who’ve had similar experiences and realise you’re not completely alone ...”

inside • the impact of bullying • men matter too • yoga for wellbeing • rocking out


Thank You

to each and every one of you who have donated advice, articles, pledges, advertisements and your belief in making this project happen.

Let’s Give Mental Health a Voice

Alan Pipes, Alex Hinds, Alice Ashley, Alison Quaggan, Amanda Pitts, Amirah Mohiddin, Amy Rees, Andrea H, Andrea Quintero Matthews, Andrew Marsh, Andy Lynch, Ann Hope, Anna Gilchrist, Annie Carr, Antonia Murphy, BAVO, Becky Broome,Birdy Rose, Bob Shaw, Brig Jones, Bryan Johnstone, Bullies Out, Casey B, Carl Jennings, Cherrill Rees, Chris Southern, Christina Brinkley, Christina Colmer McHugh, Claire Gore, Claire Pace, Clare Lumb, Cole Corkhill Davies, Conor Nugent, Craig Davies, Daniela Agliolo, Danielle Jenkins, Deborah Shaffer, Denise Jones, Dr R Grainger, Dr Wesley Saunders, Elizabeth (Buffy) Williams, Emma Jones, Emma Campbell, Esther Nagle, Francesca Baker, Francine Gutierrez, Gareth Hughes, Gill Powell, Gina Grimstead, Gwennan Young, Hazel Nash, Helen Robyn Curtis, Hugh Griffiths, Imogen O’Rourke, Jacqui Rafferty, Jane Fox, Jane Rawlings, Jane Thomas, Janet Whiteman, Jasmin Lawry, Jason White, Jeannie Dowey, Jill Eagle, Jo Osborne, Joanne Rossouw, Johnny Pearson-Hall, John Quirk, Jon Davies, Jolene Southway, Julia Winckler, Julie Corteen, June Sherlock, Karen Davies, Karen Lethlean, Kat Williams, Kathryn Evans, Kay Callaghan, Kelly McLeod, Krys Williams, Laura Cope, Laura Lewis, Laura Williams, Leanne Addis, Leanne Davies, Leigh Johnson, Lisa Waker, Louise Spicer, Lucy Melton, MLVC, Making Minds, Margaret Harris, Maria Abson, Marie Ahn, Marie Jones, Mark Brown, Mark Smith, Mark Williams, Matt Parkes, Matthew Bates, Meggan Turner, Melanie & Jay de Castro Pugh, Melanie Crewe Butler, Mind, NCMH, Neil Blockley, Nerea Martinez de Lecea, Nick Elston, Nicky Cassidy, Orla Edwardson, Owen Griffiths, Paul Hill, Peter Nuttall, Rachel Davies, Rachel Trezise, Rachel Watson, Rhiannon McHugh, Rob Jones, Rosie White, Ruby Wax, Sandra Gibson, Sarah Askew, Sarah James, Sarah Lake, Scott Walker, Sheryl Owen, Sion Tomos Owen, Stacey Goldsmth, Stefanie Ladley, Sue de Lecea, Tina Mountjoy, Tracey Cormack, Tracy & Martin John Fowler, Tracy Harrison, Trevor Yeardley, Trina Histon, Tracy John, Trish Evans, Vicki Hughes, Vina Copeland, Wes Packer, Xanthe Wells.

Original digital artwork Mindarium

by Nerea Martinez de Lecea 2017 © Prints available to purchase through www.mindarium.org


Mindarium Magazine for your Wellbeing Pilot Issue Spring 2018

Contents

Mindarium Magazine© is an independently produced magazine in The Rhondda Valley (UK) written by and for people interested in improving their mental health wellbeing.

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Welcome to Mindarium

It aims to tackle everyday lifestyle issues including money, work, relationships, loss, and promote accessing services and signposting as well as encouraging intercommunication between various service providers, all with a focus on emotional wellbeing.

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Rhondda’s Rachel Writing for Life

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Rocking All Over The Valleys

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Wellbeing Advice in Surgeries

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Balance and Breathe

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When it Isn’t “All in Your Head”

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Bullying—The Impact

Publisher: Maggy Corkhill Assitant Editor: Owen Griffiths Editorial Submissions: We are interested in original real-life stories, showing various ways of overcoming mental health adversity or illness, from anyone who can illustrate, photograph, write articles or provide interviews about their experiences for features and news stories. We promote a collaborative working ethic, if you have an idea for something we could put in a future issue, please contact us.

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Six Ways to Wellbeing

Advertising: If your business/organisation is interested in advertising for future editions, please contact us for our updated media pack.

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Rhondda Community Wellbeing

Subscriptions: Will be available via our website in due course.

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Men Matter Too

Online: select content from this magazine will be available online at www. mindarium.org in due course. The digital version of this edition only will be available on Issuu from July 2018

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Lighthouse

Page 18

Empowerment Through Education

Printed by Stephens & George Print Group Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales

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Writing Through Trauma

Disclaimer

Page 20/21 Suicide Prevention

ISSN no & Trademarks currently pending

We make every effort to print the correct details of products, services, and prices which may change after we go to press. Views and comments expressed by individuals do not necessarily represent those of the Publisher or Editor. Articles, features, adverts, reviews, recommendations are intended for information purposes only and do not provide a substitute for professional medical advice, and no legal responsibility can be accepted for the result of the use by the readers of information or advice of whatever kind given in this publication.

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Gardening Feels Great

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We are Stronger Together

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Art and Creativity for Wellbeing

Any form of reproduction of any content of this publication without the written permission of the publisher is strictly prohibited.

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The Boggle in the Cupboard

Contact email: mhwmag@gmail.com

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Directory

Are you a community group or charitable organisation looking for fundraising opportunities? WHY NOT JOIN OUR VENDING PARTNER’S SCHEME ? ©

You can buy units of the magazine at reduced cost to distribute within your networks and make a profit of up to £2* per magazine sold. By doing this, we make a collective impact: by improving your income, you can provide more services in our community and we can spread the word through a guaranteed distribution network. The magazine will have a ‘shelf life’ for three months as we intend to publish quarterly issues. Why not work in collaboration with a publication that aims to improve people’s wellbeing, encouraging them to build their resilience and engage in social activities. Research has proved that many people like to buy social papers, such as The Big Issue, because it makes them feel as if they are helping the homeless cause. We believe our communities will do the same if they know it’s helping to provide better local facilities. You can start with a smaller quantity and build up your circulation organically as demand increases. Being a Vending Partner you will benefit from ... • Free point of sale & marketing materials to encourage sales • Partner organisation networking opportunities • Free directory and community what’s on listings • Free editorial articles • Reduced cost advertising Contact Maggy at mhwmag@gmail.com or call 0781 267 5553 for more details *approximate mark up after costings are confirmed.

Mindarium / p1 / Pilot Issue Spring 2018


An independent local event presented by Phronesis Counselling supported by Mindarium Magazine

Valleys

WellFest

Y Cymoedd

Celebrating Vitality in the Valleys We have a huge variety of inspiration and information throughout the event Exhibition Stalls •Charities • • Community Projects •Talks • Demos •Arts • Crafts • Live Music • •

Join us on

Saturday 12th May 2018 From 10:00am to 3:00pm

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Muni Arts Centre Pontypridd CF37 2DP

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OUR STRUGGLE IS PART OF OUR STORY It’s not about 1in4 people who ‘statistically’ suffer from mental health illness, it’s about all of us, the 4in4, who need to improve our emotional intellegence and coping stategies for every-day life.

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hat seemed like a crazy and impossible idea twelve years ago is finally a reality, and as I write this, I still can’t believe it’s actually going to print tomorrow (it might not be yet, if I don’t get on with this bit). It has been a rollercoaster of a journey getting to this point and the concept has changed many times over the years. About 4 years ago I got really close to production, but after a load of difficulties and rejections, I shelved it all until I felt I could face it again.

last 6 months to get to this stage, not least in fighting my own demons that have tried their best to derail me. So, it’s been a very personal challenge, and one I accept with a great sense of responsibility. What I’d like to achieve with this publication is five basic things:

That moment came last July when I found out that a cousin in the US, who I didn’t know was in such turmoil, had taken his own life, and I realised that I couldn’t stay silent any longer and I HAD to publish this magazine. To answer why not publish online is because we now live in a world of information overload. There is arguably more and better news coverage than ever before at our fingertips, but if you’re anything like me, I find it completely overwhelming and unless I take a screenshot (which I add to the 1000 others from last week) it’s likely I’ll not be able to find that helpful article ever again, or spend days in Facebook trying to find it!

2. To improve general emotional health and offer ideas, coping strategies and local services for achieving better wellbeing.

If you have been following the recent developments, you’ll also know that I’ve had another lion’s share of hurdles over the

1. To share a better understanding of the term ‘mental health’. It’s not just the 1-in-4 who suffer from mental-health illness or difficulties, it’s about all of us.

3. To improve understanding of actual mental health illness and to provide a source of hope by sharing experiences and the many resources that are available, and to know that you’re never alone. 4. To help our local community wellbeingbased services thrive, by offering fundraising and public information sharing in a regular and easily accessible format. 5. To look at all lifestyle and social issues, that impact our minds and help to build resilience for getting through our lives as best we can.

There is a sixth reason, but it’s very personal to me as I’d really like to earn a living out of doing something I’m totally passionate about. If I know that one thing in this magazine has helped just one person then it’s all been worth it for me. Sadly, I’m not really motivated by money, but I do need it to live, and as my personal friends will know, until Madonna retires I still need the odd pick-me-up when she tours. It’s also my way of coping - work, for me, is therapy if I can get the balance right. It’s also a way of honouring my own family who have fought their own various demons. So in honour of them, my inspiration, this is only the beginning, I hope, but the rest depends on you… And, whether I can build a good team around me, as I found I can do many things alone, but it’s much easier (and saner) when I can work with a team who share the same goals. If you are interested in getting involved on a board of trustees that can take Mindarium Magazine to the next level of becoming a registered social enterprise, please get in touch. Please also fill in the questionnaire on the inside back - your feedback is vital, and you could even win a personalised copy of Ruby Wax’s latest book How to be Human . Until next time...

Reasons for Admission (pic left); from my general research I think this is a genuine list from an actual Asylum that is now a museum in West Virginia in the US. They actually offer ghost tours and stories of the 160 year history of the sanitorium. I don’t know about you, but I can tick quite a lot of boxes on the list, political excitement and women trouble being personal favourites. But, all jokes aside it just shows how far our understanding of mental health has come, particularly in the last two decades. One of the best (self-help) books I’ve read was Ruby Wax’s book, Sane New World, about her mental health journey and qualifying in mindfulness-based cognitive therapy where she explains how the chemicals in our brains are triggered by all sorts of factors, including the imparting of advice to eat a banana before going shopping to avoid filling your basket in a dopamine frenzy! Physicians first used the term ‘mental health’ in the early 1900s, who along with social reformers and former asylum patients wanted to reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness. Ironically, the stigma now lies in that very term, and I have seen many well-intentioned articles that fall a bit short of the overall message. Don’t we all have mental health? Surely it’s the illnesses that are the disease? But YES, just because they’re in our head doesn’t mean they’re any less life threatening or serious.

Mindarium / p3 / Pilot Issue Spring 2018


Disjuncture by Louise Grace Spicer

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ver ten years ago, I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. I tried many things in an attempt to channel my emotions such as exercise and writing. I had never really considered painting as it wasn’t something I had tried before. However, one day I decided to give it a go and found the experience highly therapeutic. I never have a preconceived idea about what I am going to paint. To me, the whole process of painting has less to do with the end result and more to do with the emotional journey it takes me on. For a brief amount of time, I am totally absorbed and relaxed in what I am doing. My mental health has improved enormously because I am expressing myself in a healthy, constructive and creative way. To see more of my art, please go to www.etsy.com/uk/shop/LouiseGraceSpicerArt

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RHONDDA’S RACHEL WRITING FOR LIFE ‘There’s a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in’

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achel Trezise’s debut novel In and Out of the Goldfish Bowl won a place on the Orange Futures List in 2002. In 2006 her first short fiction collection Fresh Apples won the Dylan Thomas Prize. Her second short fiction collection Cosmic Latte, won the Edge Hill Prize Readers Award in 2014. Her first play Tonypandemonium was produced by National Theatre Wales in 2013 and won the Theatre Critics of Wales Award for best production. Her second play for National Theatre Wales, We’re Still Here, premiered in September 2017. Her debut novel has been reissued in the Library of Wales series. A novel called Wonderful is forthcoming. She’s currently working on a third short fiction collection. Do you have any mental health issues and how are you doing? Yes, I have anxiety and intermittent bouts of depression. I’ve come to accept that it’s not something that will ever go away. It’s more of a cycle, sometimes I’m up, sometimes I’m down and the key is handling both sides of it well rather than hoping the less positive bits will stop. I’ve learned that exercise is important. My work is mostly sedentary and before I started exercising regularly I suffered with acute insomnia. That’s gone now and taken quite a lot of my anxiety and my longer bouts of depression with it. But I always need to be watchful of the next onset. Much of your work, ie In and Out of the Goldfish Bowl and Tonypandemonium in particular, are quite auto-biographical, have you found writing about your personal experiences helpful in coming to terms with your difficult past? I think there’s some truth in the old cliche of ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’. Just saying things out loud helps because you’ll find people who’ve had similar experiences and realise you’re not completely alone with that issue. That’s not the reason I’ve written autobiographical material but that is the result. The point of art is to express yourself and communicate with others so it’s always seemed quite natural to me to use my own experiences in my work and nothing good comes of sweeping your issues and feelings under the carpet. You’ve just had your first novel In and Out of the Goldfish Bowl published in the Library of Wales series. How did you feel about exposing so much of your life when you first released the book back in 2002 and how much does this mean to you now? When the book came out I didn’t mind at all. People had warned me about exposing so much of my life and it caused some upset in the local community but I didn’t care about any of that to be honest. Writing the book was a compulsion and I wanted to shout my story from the rooftops no matter what. Fast forward seventeen years and my feelings couldn’t be any more different. Mostly I wish I’d written it a bit more stylishly so that it isn’t so painfully obvious that I’m talking about my own childhood. Having said that, I’ve had people tell me over the years that the book has changed their lives or made them feel less alone or given them the confidence to pursue things in their own lives so it’s impossible not to be proud of it ultimately. Your literary work is steeped in social injustice, from your most recent work with the National Theatre of Wales ‘We’re Still

Here’ for example, focuses on the decline of the Port Talbot Steel industry. Do you think your work contributes towards understanding how industrial decline affects mental health, particularly from the worker’s aspect. I hope so. Often that’s not a deliberate feature of my work but more of a by-product, especially in my writing about the Rhondda in my early books. I was just painting the area and the characters how I saw them. In We’re Still Here I wrote a monologue for a steelworker who’d been made redundant and I was determined to highlight the mental health aspects because I wanted people to understand what was at stake. It’s an easy economical decision for someone in a boardroom but it’s everything to the worker on the ground. In the monologue the worker explains that he still has all this energy from working in the steelworks but now there’s nowhere for it go so it turns to anger and then it turns inwards. That was the story the men who’d been made redundant were telling me over and over. They felt worthless and could hardly get out of bed to face the world. Do you personally feel that there’s a big link between mental health and creativity? For instance, it’s well documented that some of the greatest writers of our times suffered with mental illness, like Dylan Thomas, Virginia Woolf, Ernest Hemmingway, etc … No, I don’t think there’s a big link. I think people from all walks of life are susceptible to mental illness. I remember going to a lecture at the Hay Festival by Gwyneth Lewis who was talking about her experiences with depression and someone asked her why it was only nice people who seemed to suffer from depression. She

said, ‘I’m sure all sorts of shitty people get it too!’ And I agree. The fact is creative people get to express it in poems and paintings so it seems that mental illness is rife in creative people but it’s probably rife everywhere. What’s your favourite thing about people from the Rhondda? They’re very dramatic. Working class people in general are very dramatic because they’re less self aware than the other classes and are happy to tell you all about themselves. Add the dark humour of the valleys and you’re onto a winner. Do you have a mantra or favourite saying? ‘There’s a crack in everything/That’s how the light gets in’. It’s a lyric from a Leonard Cohen song. I’ve got it tattooed on my arm. All the joy and humour in life comes from our imperfections. We should celebrate them rather than stigmatise them. What is your all time favourite book that you’ve read ? ‘Fine Just the Way It Is’ or ‘Close Range’. Both short story collections by Annie Proulx. No-one comes close to Annie Proulx on language, characters or landscapes. Everything she writes is divine. What do you do regularly that you class as therapy? (ie walking the dogs, chillin’ with friends, etc) When I’m particularly busy I’ll go to bed an hour earlier and lie in the dark unpacking things from my brain: conversations I’ve had, places I’ve been, ideas I’ve had. I find it quite difficult, especially when I’m writing, to hold a lot of information in my head so I try to pull everything that’s hovering between consciousness and unconsciousness out into the open in order to empty my head a bit. I suppose it’s a mindfulness in reverse, consciously thinking instead of consciously not thinking. I don’t quite know what it is to be honest but I know it helps. And also I keep chickens and any time I spend feeding or sometimes just sitting with them in the garden is like therapy, they’re such a simple and gentle presence. If you could introduce 3 new laws in Wales tomorrow what would they be? Free feminine hygiene products. Unconditional basic income. No gender pay gap.

Mindarium / p5 / Pilot Issue Spring 2018


ROCKING ALL OVER THE VALLEYS

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ver the years I’ve tried lots of different things to help with my anxiety (colouring books being the biggest phase) but nothing has come close to my latest obsession, which is painting rocks. Well, actually, it’s painting rocks, hiding rocks, finding rocks, and sharing my adventures with fellow rock painters on Facebook. I’m aware that this is nothing new- in fact, some might say rock painting has been around since the Stone Age- and I have fond memories of painting rocks as a child to give as gifts to school friends after wet caravan holidays with the family. The first I heard of this latest rock painting resurgence was when I saw a fellow music festival-goer sharing a link on Facebook to a group called Shropshire Rocks - my initial thought was that is was a music festival, but I clicked on the link and saw literally thousands of people sharing photos of beautifully (and more simply) decorated rocks. I joined the group and saw post upon post from happy people expressing their creativity and getting out and about. Seeing the happiness these simple stones were bringing, I decided that I wanted to get involved. I contacted the founder of Shropshire Rocks, and asked if she would object to me setting up a group locally to me in South Wales. She was very encouraging so I set up the group and initially invited a small group of friends to test the water. Initial reaction was that it was a good idea so I opened the group up and started inviting people I thought would be interested in getting involved. Six months later the group now has over 14,000 members, though I would say that the adults seem to be having more fun than the children. Mums painting rocks after their children are in bed, parents on the school run with pockets of rocks. The school run is now an adventure for children and parents alike, and I, personally, am finding it incredibly therapeutic. The rock decorating is taking over where the colouring books left off- it is sparking my imagination and allowing me to express my creativity in a way that I haven’t done for a very long time. I am thoroughly enjoying seeing the fun everyone else is having getting involved. It’s wonderful seeing children getting excited over searching for rocks as opposed to searching for wifi signal. It’s a totally heart-warming hobby which seems to be taking the country by storm. There are lots of groups out there on social media, take a look and get involved.

From May 2018, we will be running creative workshops in the Rhondda aimed at improving the wellbeing of young people, aged 11-25. The project will be bilingual in Welsh and English. Using creativity, we will develop young people’s resilience to cope and manage stressful situations, decrease social isolation and increase opportunities for young people to express themselves and influence others about what matters to them. This project will be delivered in the Cynon Valley from 2019. If you or your organisation would like to participate or know more about this project, please contact Steve Davis at Spectacle Theatre Ltd.

Email: steve.spectacle@gmail.com or info@spectacletheatre.co.uk Tel: 01443 430700 Mindarium / p6 / Pilot Issue Spring 2018

Website: www.spectacletheatre.co.uk


WELLBEING ADVICE IN RHONDDA SURGERIES Patients in GP surgeries across Rhondda are being offered specialist advice on looking after their mental health wellbeing as well as their physical health.

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uc y Foster was appointed last year as Community Wellbeing Coordinator to link patients to the many local services which can change lives for the better. The service signposts patients to help on issues from housing, benefits or finance, to education and learning, employment, training and volunteering. But it also offers information about mental health issues, healthy and active lifestyles, the arts, music and creativity, befriending, counselling or other support groups. “I am now based in surgeries across the Rhondda and try to visit them fortnightly, working Mondays to Fridays,” Lucy said. “GPs are able to book an appointment with me for their patients by email but patients can also self refer to me directly.

“In a 10 minute appointment with a GP, it is difficult to examine the wider social issues which may be affecting someone’s health. They may not disclose the real reason for the stress in their life or they might not have all the knowledge of how to deal with it. But I have 30 minute slots to chat to people and can also speak to them on the phone.”

There are more than 56 social groups in Rhondda offering support but often people are unaware of the help available. “I aim to find out what their needs are, what they are interested in, and then to match them up with something that’s going to make their lives a little bit better. Many of my referrals over the last few weeks have concerned loneliness and losing touch with

their communities,” said Lucy, who has a background in community development and mental health. This kind of ‘social prescribing’ has been found to have a string of benefits for patients leading to positive outcomes and improved health. Those who are feeling lonely or isolated in the community are linked to groups where they can find new friends and like-minded individuals. Others can be helped back into further training and education. Help with financial problems can also relieve the stress which may be at the root of physical symptoms. The service gives GPs and health professionals an extra specialist to whom they can refer their patients to provide extra time and support to address the next steps in their lives.

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Lucy will be based at the Arts Factory in Ferndale every other Friday from 10am -11.30am. This new initiative is situated next door to the Ferndale practice and linked to with the Trerhondda Wellbeing Project and its activities coordinator Beverly Llewelyn. The scheme aims to: • Reduce loneliness and isolation • Sign post to relevant local activities and services • Provide a ‘safe place’ to have a cuppa and a chat Lucy said: “We will be providing the patients and community members of Maerdy and Ferndale a one stop shop for all their wellbeing needs. “We will have a small seating/waiting area where you can wait to be seen by and have a coffee from our community café stall. “This clinic is dementia friendly and the Dementia Friends volunteers will be on hand to provide support and information.”

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The first drop in clinic was held on March 16th. The feedback from those attending so far has been positive too: One said: “You hear of so many places offering activities, support and information but it’s all a minefield to me. Coming to one place for a cup of tea and be directed by a friendly face is much easier.” Others added: “This welling clinic in the hub of our community will be great. It’s well needed.”, “If I need help or advice I know where to come.” To contact Lucy, you can ask at your local GP (Rhondda Valley only) or email: lfoster@interlinkrct.org.uk

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www.seirian.me Mindarium / p7 / Pilot Issue Spring 2018


Find Balance and Breathe 10 Ways Yoga can help beat Depression and Stress

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hen a person suffers from depression, life seems to be a very dark, bleak place. There can be a lot of guilt, shame, self loathing and conviction that there is nothing that is good about oneself or the world. Depression creates a negative cycle of thoughts and behaviours that reinforce and prove one another. 

Medical help can be very hard to come by, and stigma and ignorance surrounding mental illness can scare many from even seeking help in the first place. For many, self medication in the form of alcohol, drugs or other self destructive behaviours, seems to be the only way out of the depressed state. There are other options; here are ten ways yoga can help.

brain that makes us feel good. Alcohol/drugs/etc mimic the effects of GABA, which is why we think it makes us feel good when really it is just an illusion. Yoga, on the other hand, actually increases the amount of GABA in the brain, creating a real, physiological sense of wellbeing that can last for hours after the session. Research has shown that just one session of Yoga can create this feeling.

1. Relaxation

5. Compassion

Yoga is well known for its ability to create relaxation in the body and mind.Relaxation is not merely the absence of activity, you do not relax by simply lying on the sofa. Relaxation is an active state of consciously relaxing the body through the mind.Thanks to the amazing connection between body and mind, there is a wonderful feedback loop, we use the mind to relax the body, then a relaxed body creates a relaxed mind.

2. Letting go

A big problem of depression is rumination, going over the same thought over and over again. Yoga teaches us to let go of thoughts, to let go of physical tension, and to let go of blame, shame and guilt. We become aware of the release that occurs with every breath in, when we come out of a posture that challenges us, and in the sense of wellbeing that comes from releasing old patterns of behaviour.

3. Stillness and focus

The first of the Yamas of Yoga is Ahimsa, or non harming (or harmlessness).This teaches us to endeavour to live a life that creates as little harm to ourselves, other people, other creatures and the planet as possible. The best place to start to practice compassion is to yourself, to think about ways you can be kinder to yourself. The ‘Three Rules of Yoga’; ‘Don’t Judge, Don’t Compare, and Don’t Beat Yourself Up’ are excellent mottos to carry through life to remind us to let go.

6. Positive thinking

The depressed mind can be very negative in its outlook. Yoga offers a range of tools that help to create a more positive outlook on life. Pratipaksha Bhavanam, the yogic concept of replacing the negative with the positive, helps us to strengthen the gratitude practice, see lessons and opportunities, and become aware of negative patterns and change them.

7. Balance nervous system

The rumination described above can lead to minds that are very noisy and overwhelming. It can be hard to think straight. Through breathing and meditation practices, the stillness of the postures, and relaxation practices, we find stillness and focus, training the mind to be calmer and less overwhelmed. In that stillness, we find the space to think straight, and begin to create new, more positive neural connections in the brain, creating new patterns of behaviour and thought.

Yoga brings the whole being into balance, body, mind, emotions and spirit. One of the key ways it does this is by balancing the central nervous system, and creating a more harmonious balance between the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight response), and the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest). The breath is a vital resource for this balancing of the nervous system. Pranayama is a powerful practice that can transform life in many ways, including reducing symptoms of depression.

4. Make you feel good

8. Creating routine

GABA is a neurotransmitter, a chemical produced in the

Mindarium / p8 / Pilot Issue Spring 2018

Developing a regular yoga practice creates a vital

wellbeing routine in life that can, in time, become a safety net in times of difficulty. Decide to practice at a particular time of day and sticking to it turns that into a priority and it means that you will do it no matter what else you have to change to do it. Perhaps do your practice in the morning before everyone else wakes up. Tapas, the 3rd Niyama, teaches discipline and self rule, which is a powerful tool in creating a shift in the energy of your day.

9. Improve sleep

Good sleep is vital for good mental and physical health, but unfortunately, illnesses such as depression interfere with the ability to get good sleep, a catch 22 situation if ever there was one! Yoga is excellent for promoting good sleep. All the previous points will contribute to improved sleep, assisting both falling asleep and getting good quality sleep. If you struggle to sleep, the relaxation here will help you to relax your body deeply. This pranayama practice with help to quieten your mind and soothe your nervous system, and practising gratitude before bed will help to take the focus away from the negative thoughts that might keep you awake.

10. Grow with gratitude

Taking a few moments each day to reflect on the things that went well for you, or that you are grateful for, is a powerful practice that builds resilience, improves mood and positivity, helps you to sleep better and increases feelings of optimism. Developing a regular gratitude practice, consciously focusing on the good things in life, however small they may be, has been shown to ease depression and lead to improved mental and physical health. As you can see, there are many reasons why yoga can and will help you in the battle against depression. All these benefits help to combat stress as well, there really are so many reasons why yoga is a powerful, transformative practice.


WHEN IT ISN’T

‘ALL IN YOUR HEAD…’ Those of us with chronic illness have long been aware of the link between it and mental health problems.

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hether we develop depression at the loss of our former, pain-free, lives – or anxiety over how to cope with the inevitable change in circumstances, there is now a growing body of evidence supporting a link between physical and mental illness. There is an increased interest in looking at ways to help sufferers and carers manage these co-existing conditions more effectively. It is, quite rightly, perceived as essential that physicians fully appreciate the risks of chronically ill patients developing mental health problems and the impact these can have on wellbeing, and be able to recognise and treat accordingly. But what if it’s a patient’s encounters with healthcare services, and the medical profession itself, which are compounding – even initiating – the onset of mental health issues? Certainly, here at Fair Treatment for the Women of Wales (www.ftww. co.uk) we hear countless stories from our members regarding their growing anxiety around visiting the GP, and depression at not being believed. The longer it goes on, the more entrenched these feelings become – and, before you know it, there is a full-blown psychiatric condition with which to contend as well as those physical problems which underpinned the patient’s original visits to the doctor. Let’s give some context here: FTWW is a small but growing, user-led, third-sector organisation dealing with women’s health inequality across Wales. When we tell people what we do, we often get asked why we don’t represent men too – don’t they similarly suffer unfair treatment at the hands of an NHS system in Wales which doesn’t routinely allow patients to access gold-standard specialist treatment out of area? Of course they do – and nobody is denying that they may well also need representation. However, as a patient-led organisation, we have to ‘go with what we know’, and what we know is that girls and women frequently suffer at the hands of a culture which is beset with taboos around gynaecology, which normalises pelvic pain, and which tends to dismiss their symptoms as being signs of ‘over-sensitivity’, stress, or being ‘melodramatic’. Even the word ‘hysteria’ has its roots in the Greek hystera meaning ‘uterus’, leading to the assumption that only women could be hysterical – victims of their ‘angry, wandering wombs’. This mythology continues to permeate contemporary society at every level and, unfortunately, the medical profession is no exception. Whilst nobody is accusing doctors – male or female – of being deliberately sexist in their outlook (although there may well be a few who are, just as with anyone else) there is undoubtedly some

element of unconscious bias which is clearly reflected in the experiences of our members, time and time again. Our initial focus as an organisation was endometriosis, a gynaecological condition where tissue similar to the lining of the uterus is found elsewhere in the body, causing localised inflammation, bleeding, scarring, pain, organ dysfunction, and infertility. It affects one in ten girls / women, is as prevalent as diabetes or asthma and takes, on average, up to ten years to diagnose. During that time, patients will visit their GP tens of times about their symptoms, begging for relief. Because it is hormonemediated (although symptoms can persist month-long) they are repeatedly told that it is ‘normal’ to experience debilitating pain during their periods, that their bowel problems can be attributed to stressrelated irritable bowel syndrome, that the extreme suffering they describe is probably ‘all in their heads’, and that an anti-depressant will soothe their obviously jangling nerves. And, indeed, eventually, over time, those oft-proffered anti-depressants may well help – by somewhat reducing the fear of visiting the GP or A&E yet again, to be sent away with no proper investigations done and a relatively useless prescription for paracetamol. They help to numb the ever-escalating and all-encompassing feelings of selfdoubt. What they don’t do is tackle the physical symptoms which started this whole, horrible, cycle – a cycle which costs our economy dear in terms of worsening prognoses for patients, their resultant loss of productivity, and the financial burden of meeting escalating healthcare needs. A problem we first noted in the suffering of women with endometriosis we are increasingly seeing in women with all manner of health conditions. The solution seems simple and is one around which FTWW’s campaigning centres: education; education which starts in school but extends to our training of medical professionals. We need to have more open, honest conversations about menstrual health and stop pretending that the ‘private parts’ of 51% of the population are too private to discuss, that they don’t exist because they’re tucked away inside our bodies, a dirty secret.

pelvic pain which causes young women to repeatedly miss out on their school and social lives isn’t ‘normal’, and start talking about it. We need to educate student doctors in the art of really listening to patients (whatever their gender) so that years of unnecessary physical and mental suffering are avoided. We need to ensure that the continuing professional development of medics mandatorily involves patients, thereby ameliorating those paternalistic attitudes which prevent us challenging misdiagnoses. We need those same medics to appreciate the potentially devastating

effect their words can have on patients’ quality of life, and that if they commonly – and repeatedly - attribute physical symptoms to a spurious mental health issue then that’s what friends, family, employers do too. Is it any wonder that, for those patients, genuine psychiatric conditions develop, thereby ensuring that the initial (mis)diagnosis becomes a selffulfilling prophecy? Let’s nip this in the bud NOW. Let’s start by acknowledging that there’s a problem and that it isn’t ‘all in our heads’. By Deborah Shaffer, CEO / FTWW

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We need to recognise that, actually,

Mindarium / p9 / Pilot Issue Spring 2018


Everything begins with an idea A

simple two-button device, designed to help us monitor and understand our moods is the brainchild of Christina Colmer McHugh.

“I created Moodbeam on the back of a personal experience I had when my daughter came to me saying she thought she might be being bullied. It was quite a shock as she’s what I call life’s coasters and never really gets upset over much. When it came to light we did the usual things like getting the school involved, chatting to them and talking to my daughter and her ‘bully’. It was all dealt with quite well but it left me wondering if there was any way I could know how her day had been when she wasn’t with me. I slowly started to formulate the idea of a ‘silent buddy/button press solution and it started to transfer into something wearable. I teamed up with Jonathan Elvidge, a market leading entrepreneur, to create and design a tool that could potentially integrate with smartphones or tablets to track how you feel from day to day. When I started to draw it out and give it a life force it was initially a very colourful wearable. Five colours relating to five moods. Then we took the idea and designs out to focus groups mainly made up of school age children, their families and their teachers. The bottom line was they absolutely loved it but thought it might need to be more discreet so as not to attract even more attention to someone going through emotional abuse of some form. So that’s when we went back to the drawing board and created a two button pocketable rather than wearable device blue for sad, yellow for happy. The minute we reduced it down to two colours this tool for life, as a I see it, exploded in its potential use and application. We currently have five streams trialling it; schools and families, adult mental health, the elderly, wellbeing in the workplace and those simply curious about their general mental health - curious self.” Moodbeam is a simple product that helps easily track how we feel by logging our emotional wellbeing at the click of a button. From our discreet, handheld device, to our online and mobile platform, Moodbeam gives insight into how our moods change over time, showing patterns and trends that can support positive change in ourselves and others. It’s been created to give everyone a voice, no matter the age or technical ability, the goal is to stimulate real conversations that can make a difference to our lives and encourage us all to reflect on our own mental well being as well as those that we care most about. If you’d like more information about the product visit www.moodbeam.co.uk

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Mindarium / p10 / Pilot Issue Spring 2018


BULLYING–THE IMPACT

Schools and youth settings play an important role in developing the skills young people need to develop, cope and thrive in today’s world.

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hey are a constant in young peoples’ lives and should be a safe, consistent place for them to flourish. Going to school can be fun, but it can be stressful, too - learning new concepts, taking standardised tests, making new friends, then perhaps losing some of those friends and negotiating your way in the world for the first time.

Add bullying to the mix, and the pressures multiply exponentially. School-age bullying is a serious societal concern. With over half of the UK’s young people reporting they have been bullied, there is a crisis in our schools and youth settings. Most school-age children want to be liked by their peers, but being subjected to taunts and mockery unnecessarily sullies a child’s learning environment by adding daily anxiety and uncertainty about what will happen from one day to the next. Then there are the modern-day twists. 21st century youth are constantly switched-on in a socially connected world. Social media represents a new model of relationship for today’s generation, where global connection is the norm. Today’s young people have been born into a world of advanced technology, which is not only normal but an expected right. The right and ability to use technology manifests itself in a myriad of ways, far outstripping the uses of most adults, with young people communicating, socialising, networking and creating through, with and because of, technology. But with rights come responsibilities and as parents and educators afford and promote the use of technology, often neglected are the responsibilities that must come in tandem with these rights. Today, students can be abused online, on social media and through text-messaging. Young People have been known to share embarrassing photos of their classmates, leading to further name-calling and insults. Often, this leaves no signs of physical abuse but lots of inner anguish, torment and humiliation. All of this leaves the bullied students having to navigate all sorts of difficult dilemmas at a young age. Should I fight back? Or ignore it? Do I tell my parents? My teacher? Or maybe telling on the other student will bring repercussions? Is it better to stay silent and hope the bully will get fed up and it will all come to an end? With too much emphasis on academic achievement and exams, and not enough on a pupil’s emotional Wellbeing, the education system is unbalanced. Yet, how can we expect a young person who is suffering from bullying to concentrate and flourish academically?

has a major impact on their mental health. We simply cannot under-estimate the damage that bullying does to a person’s academic, social, physical and emotional health and wellbeing. We only seem to have awareness and campaigns when a young suicide or a severe case occurs, and after just a short time, it moves on. Yet bullying doesn’t move on. It’s with us each and every day and thanks to technology, it can be 24/7. It brings pain, trauma and devastating impact. Yet despite the scale of suffering, one in three adults still view bullying as a routine ‘rite of passage’ and 16 per cent describe it as ‘character-building’. How many more young people have to tragically lose their lives before these outdated perceptions change? No-one deserves to be bullied. It is important to take bullying seriously and not just brush it off as something that young people have to “put up with.” Bullying is not ‘part of growing up’. It is not ‘kids being kids’ and is not an ‘unfortunate but unavoidable part of school life’. Minimising a problem is not what caring adults do; it is

what manipulative bullies do. Yes, young people can be spiteful but no caring adult should ever dismiss bullying as a “rite of passage” or tolerable fact of childhood. When they do, they violate a child’s trust and abdicate their role as a responsible adult. Bullying is cruel, unacceptable behaviour that can have a devastating effect on a person – full stop! The effects can be serious on a person’s sense of safety and self-worth. If a child has plucked up the courage to tell you they are being bullied (and, considering how humiliating it can be for kids to tell their parents about the bullying they endure from their peers, this is a very brave step), it is important to speak to their teacher and report what has been going on. As a parent, we understand that reaching out and asking for help is tough as you desperately hope to be able to protect your child on your own, but it is vital to highlight your child’s bullying to the school. If your child is indeed being bullied, inform the school. Explain what has been going on and ask to see their antibullying policy. This should indicate what the school will do when an incident of bullying occurs. Ask the school to follow up with the bully and his or her parents and to let you know the outcome. Just as important, talk to your child about the importance of not bullying others. In most cases, parents don’t want to see their children on either end of this. Keep an eye on your child’s online activity and social media interactions. As the adult, you have every right to demand access to your child’s text messages and internet use. Teenage privacy should take a back seat to a child’s wellbeing.

The bottom line: Take action before it’s too late. Further information is available on our website

www.bulliesout.com BulliesOut provides anti-bullying education, training, awareness and support. The charity works in schools, youth settings and the workplace across the UK and its work is all aimed at educating on the effects of bullying, raising aspirations, encouraging empathy, respect and responsibility and creating positive environments in which young people and staff can thrive.

Bullying causes unimaginable distress to a person – anxiety, stress, depression. It affects their social and academic ability and

Mindarium / p11 / Pilot Issue Spring 2018


SOMETHING TO SING ABOUT

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A new festival embracing the arts for the Rhondda

e have a thriving arts and creative community here in the Rhondda Valley which is why I joined up with local the businesses, institutions, and Treorchy Comprehensive to launch the Rhondda Arts Festival Treorchy. I hope it will be the first of many to come. The week-long event will be based mainly in and around various venues in Treorchy, but involves people from every corner of our Valley and will build up to a weekend full of entertainment. From Jools Holland and his Orchestra, the Welsh National Opera featuring Lesley Garrett to the internationally famous Only Men Aloud and Treorchy Male Choir. There will be many other fringe events including live music, theatre, comedy, literary and poetry performances along with exceptional displays of art, craft and creations from our arts community. Art and creativity is for all people of all backgrounds, and is widely documented to have a positive effect on mental health wellbeing by helping to reduce anxiety and isolation, and increasing confidence and self-esteem. There is also evidence that chronic pain is alleviated during arts activities and through self-expression can have a therapeutic effect and even lift moods. In a recent strategy published by the Cwm

Taf University Health Board it outlines the development of a purposeful, creative and lively arts programme, which supports, nurtures and works with their patients and the wider community in a variety of meaningful, life enhancing ways and we want to contribute to that vision. Despite government cuts which have had a devastating impact on the arts and culture in our region, we want to change the general perception of the Rhondda, and showcase the immense talent that thrives amongst us. There are many encouraging initiatives throughout the Valleys where partnerships between local businesses, public services, third sector organisations and talented individuals is enhancing the wellbeing of people and communities in the area. We can only try and build and shape the event into what we want it to be, but the audiences are what make it, and we hope to engage our communities so that we all have a wonderful time.

This Is Me

I am not a stranger to the dark Hide away, they say ‘Cause we don’t want your broken parts I’ve learned to be ashamed of all my scars Run away, they say No one’ll love you as you are But I won’t let them break me down to dust I know that there’s a place for us For we are glorious! When the sharpest words wanna cut me down I’m gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out I am brave, I am bruised I am who I’m meant to be, this is me Look out ‘cause here I come And I’m marching on to the beat I drum I’m not scared to be seen I make no apologies, this is me If you haven’t seen the latest record-breaking blockbuster musical, The Greatest Showman, then perhaps you don’t recognise the lyrics above, to one of the most uplifting, songs of the decade (and soon to be covered by every talent-show contestant ever). If you’ve ever suffered loss, diversity or acceptance issues, judgemental in-laws, been bullied, felt like the bottom of the pile, and generally downtrodden, then this film is for you. It’s very loosely based on the story of P.T. Barnum, the legendary (infamous?) showman, who invented the circus, as we know it today. He’s depicted as an underdog, a hapless dreamer and a loving family man, who takes foolhardy gambles beyond his means to pursue his ambition to make something of his life. You can be forgiven for not even associating this spectacle with the real person who came from such questionable practices and enjoy it in all it’s glory. It’s a big cwtch of a film and hell, yes it’s cheesy, but it’s also a great tonic to watch and sing-a-long to. Apparently, the noblest art is that of making others happy, and it really does.

June 28th - 30TH

Jools Holland & & HIS RHYTHM

BLUES ORCHESTRA

Lesley Garrett in Rhondda Rips It Up

Treorchy Male Choir | dance back to broadway | rhondda rips it up national opera books | poetry | open mic | live music | art | comedy art & craft fair | food & drnk & much more

www.raft.cymru Mindarium / p12 / Pilot Issue Spring 2018

Designed by www.highstreet-media.co.uk


What

6 things can YOU change

to help your own wellbeing? Connect

With the people around you. At home, work, school or in your local community. Building these social connections will support and enrich you every day.

Active

Discover a physical activity you enjoy and that suits your level of mobility and fitness. Walk or run. Step outside. Cycle. Play a game. Garden. Dance. Exercising makes you feel good. I will...

I will...

Take

Be

Notice

Keep

Learning

Become aware of the world around you and what you are feeling. Savour the moments, whether you are walking to work, eating lunch or talking to friends. Try mindfulness.

Try something new. Rediscover an old interest. Sign up for that course. Set a challenge you will enjoy achieving. It will make you more confident as well as being fun.

I will...

I will...

Give

Do something nice for a friend, or a stranger. Thank someone. Smile. Volunteer your time. Join a community group. It can be rewarding and creates connections with the people around you. I will...

Change

We are not always in a position to change what happens to us, but we can try to change our reaction. This simple thought can change a negative situation into a positive one. I will...

Even the most simple and gentle of changes that you can introduce to your life, can make a huge difference. Many sources of research has proven that wellbeing has two main elements: feeling good and functioning well. Feelings of happiness, contentment, enjoyment, curiosity and engagement are characteristic of someone who has a positive experience of their life. What can you try and change?


CAMBRIAN LAKESIDE HEALTHY LIVING All low activity sessions aimed to improve your general health and wellbeing. Mondays 9.30am Pilates at Maerdy Community Centre Tuesdays 10.30am Social Climbers Walking Group * Tuesday 7.00pm Walking Football at Cambrian 3G pitch Wednesdays 1.45pm Pilates at Pentre Salvation Army Wednesdays 5.30pm Walking Hockey at Cambrian 3G pitch Fridays 11.00am Social Climbers Walking Group * * meet at Lakeside cafe

Rhondda Comm

YSTRAD ACTIVITY CLUB Located at Bodringallt Primary School Ystrad. We’re open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. 5-7pm for 8-10yrs and 7-9pm for 11+ yrs. Youth drop in centre for all ages, lots of fun activities going on including bouncy castle, pool, tables, game consoles, internet cafe, and lots more. Come along completely free.

ARTS FACTORY FERNDALE Health and Wellbeing Adult Clubs Adult Club (Monday 1-3 Thursday 10-12) Clinic (Every other Friday 10-11.30) Adult Autistic Club ( Commencing June 2018) Our group is aimed at making small changes to peoples lives with a varied program of activities to make people smile, have fun and feel part of a wider community.

TYNEWYDD ALLOTMENT PROJECT Lots of planting done and a great job building the composting bays. Come join us on a Thursday 10:00 - 3:00 if you fancy a go.

CANOLFAN PENTRE Mondays 9 to 4pm Hafal Mental Wellbeing Outreach 4 to 5.30pm After School/Craft/Dinner Club 6.30 to 8pm NAS RCT Youth 11-19 yr Tuesdays 9.30 to 11.30 Parent and Toddler Group 9.30 to 10.30 Pentre Fit Buttys Wednesdays 10 – 11am Various Clubs & Job Search (use of computers) 12.30 to 4.pm Bingo Lunch Club 4.00 to 5.30pm After school Club Thursdays 9.30-11.30 Parent and Toddler Group 12-4pm Craft Club for all ages (Card making Knitting/Crochet/Chat and a cuppa) 12.30-3.00 Computer Club 1-2pm Tai Chi 1-3 Cope in the Community

All of these providers are contactable via Facebook and Phone Book All details are correct at time of going to press Some groups have charges other’s are free, please check directly


unity Wellbeing

BIKE DOCTOR KIDS CLUB - BARRY SIDINGS CAFE Regular Monday night training session from 6pm to 7pm from April to October, training kids on the core skills of cycling in fun traffic free environment Currently for 5 - 11 years age group

RHONDDA YOGA Cwmclydach Community Centre (Clydach Vale), 2 classes every Monday at 5pm and 7pm Porth – Telecentre And Business School (TABS) every Tuesday at 10am EGH Judo Dojo in Pontypridd every Tuesday at 1pm Oaktree Hall, Treorchy, every Wednesday at 10am & Thursday at 7pm

INTERLINK You are welcome to join any of these social groups. The groups meet every week to share experiences, provide mutual support, gain information and advice on how to manage symptoms or to generally chat over a cup of tea. These are all friendly groups held in a private and confidential setting. Why not pop along to your nearest group!

VALLEYS STEPS Mindfulness for Everyday Free courses Tonypandy - Starts Friday 8th June 10:00am - 11:30am The Ark Project, CF40 2QZ 6 weekly sessions Stress Control courses - Free Llwynypia- Starts Monday 14th May 6:00pm - 7:30pm Coleg Y Cymoedd, CF40 2TQ 6 weekly sessions excp Mon 28/5/18 bank hol

KIDS FIRST Meet at Gelligaled Park on Monday/Wednesday/Thursday 9.30am A community-based group for mums and young ‘uns to help women socialise, helps to combat isolation and anxiety

Kindly reproduced with permission from Gofal/Journeys

Footsteps Morlais Hall, Ferndale Every Tuesday 10.30am -1.30pm New Connections: Providence Church, Ystrad Every Wednesday 10.30am-12.30 M.A.S.H. at Maerdy Community Centre Every Wednesday 6.00pm-8.00pm New Beginnings: St Catherine’s Church Pontypridd Every Friday 9.30am – 12.30pm

RHONDDA CYNON TAFF CARERS SUPPORT PROJECT We have a Carers Peer Support Group which takes place on the second Tuesday of every month from 12-2pm at Heddfan, Ilan Avenue, Rhydyfelin, Ponrtypridd. Overview - Join us at our friendly and informal Carers Peer Support Group. You can have a chat with other Carers, share your experiences, offer some advice and lend a listening year. Menny the Carers Projects Counsellor will facilitate each session. Call 01443 668813 for further information.


MEN MATTER TOO Fathers Reaching Out founder describes his journey through post-natal depression

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he day I got married, I knew that it was time for me to become a dad. I didn’t have long to wait, as we found out my wife Michelle was pregnant the following year, and for those nine months I was the happiest I’ve ever been. When Michelle was told she needed to come to the hospital to have the baby, I was beyond excited.

I’d never been in a labour ward before, so was naturally nervous for Michelle. I just wanted her to be OK, but not for one moment did I think we were going to be in there for more than 22 hours. With each passing hour, my anxiety was increasing. I was eager for the baby to come out, and growing more worried for my wife. Michelle was getting more tired by the hour, and I felt like a spare part. After 22 hours, there was a sense of urgency in the room and the midwives left looking worried. Shortly afterwards, doctors with no hint of expression on their faces, said the words: “Your wife needs an emergency C-section.”

talk to anyone about it. I kept it hidden from Michelle because I didn’t want to impact her mental health. Michelle had PND for around 18 months, but the most difficult part was not knowing how long it would last at the time. Over the next few years, I continued to suffer from mood swings, and was lying to my wife about going to work. I was isolating myself from people, calling in sick and going for walks alone. I nearly sectioned myself as I felt unsafe, but still had worries of what people would think of me, and became paranoid that nobody liked me. I felt I would be better off dead.

Now, my wife and I are fine, and have a great bond with our son. But it’s important we use our story to raise awareness. We need to get the message out that PND can affect both men and women, and that help is out there.

I suddenly felt like I was choking and became short of breath. My heart was pounding and getting louder and louder. I thought I was going to faint. I didn’t want the attention to shift to me when Michelle needed to be the priority, which made me even more uneasy. The thought of losing Michelle and our baby led me to having that first panic attack. Thankfully, both Michelle and my son, Ethan, survived. But it became apparent a short time after the traumatic birth, that Michelle was suffering from severe postnatal depression (PND). I was 30 years old and had never known anyone with depression. I was uneducated about mental health and used to think: “How can anyone be depressed?” I gave up my job to care for my wife and son, but I loved the social side of my job and suddenly felt very isolated, even going days without stepping foot out of our front door. Over the next few months, my personality changed as I turned to alcohol to cope, and became increasingly angry. Vivid nightmares of the birth haunted me, where Michelle and Ethan had died, and I would wake certain it was true. On the odd occasion where I did manage to get out and socialise with my friends, I wanted to get into fights to intentionally hurt myself and distract from the thoughts and feelings in my head. I even began to get suicidal thoughts, and couldn’t seem to control them. Six months after the birth, I broke my hand punching a sofa. Eventually I realised that as much as I wanted to be strong to look after my wife and son, the truth was that I wasn’t well either. Having been brought up in a working-class community, where my father and his father before him were coal miners, all I had in my head was that I needed to “man up”. I didn’t feel like I could

Mindarium / p16 / Pilot Issue Spring 2018

go back to a job working in mental health. Alongside the medication, I took a course of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and mindfulness, and I was lucky enough to be able to turn things around. I was diagnosed with ADHD, and realised I should have spoken out sooner about the PTSD at the birth and postnatal depression. I didn’t bond with my son during the first few weeks, as the birth was so traumatic and was just relieved both he and my wife were alive. There wasn’t this overwhelming feeling of love that I was expecting. I felt like I was different as a father back then, and supporting a partner with postnatal depression can have a major impact too.

Then in 2011, my mental health deteriorated further when my grandfather passed way after suffering with dementia and then my beloved mother was diagnosed with cancer, which happened within weeks of each other. Thankfully, my mother is now in remission after going through the treatment. In that same year I ended up sitting in my car before work and had a what I know now as mental breakdown My mind was racing like never before and I couldn’t get out of the car. I couldn’t function. This became the point where I stopped worrying about what people thought of me and knew I needed to be around for my son. I called the charity Mental Health Matters Wales and they talked me through getting help. The person on the phone may have saved my life. Doctors put me on citalopram and on a waiting list for counselling, but I knew I needed the help now and not later, so I went private. It was at this point that I first confided in my wife, knowing that since I needed to leave work, there was no choice. I didn’t want her to worry or it to impact her mental health. I was off work for around eight weeks and was eager to

It was a chance meeting at a gym that led me to set up Fathers Reaching Out in 2011, a campaign to support both fathers and the wider family affected by PND. A man I’d never met before mentioned his wife had suffered from PND, and that while looking after her he had a breakdown and lost his home and business. We started speaking openly about it, and I told him things I hadn’t even discussed with my best mates. No one had ever asked him how he felt about it all, and that made me realise that all parents need to be supported. Fathers Reaching Out was born. Since then, my life has changed for the better thanks to being honest with myself. I’ve travelled the world to speak out about PND, and was nominated for the Local Hero award at the Pride of Britain Awards in 2012, and also awarded the Wales Inspirational Dad of the Year award in the same year. I campaign for all parents to be screened for their mental health after the child is born. I also would like to see more awareness on antenatal anxiety/depression for parents. I started the campaign in 2014 to bring back the Mother and Baby Unit in Wales and will be once again speaking in Parliament on the matter. Today, I’m medication free and have found a new purpose in life. I’m glad for what happened, as it made me appreciate you only get one life. Getting the right support was the best thing, and my only regret is that I didn’t ask for help sooner.

www.reachingoutpmh.co.uk


Lighthouse - A Shining Light in the Dark

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oday I was listening to a song by Mallory Knox called ‘Lighthouse’. A particular lyric struck a chord in me and inspired this post. “Find the lighthouse in the dark, and shine a light on every single soul that weeps”

This line really hit me. Now I’ve listened to this song a million times but it wasn’t until now that I interpreted it in my own way.

favourite line. Never ever feel like you’re alone in this. What you’re feeling I can almost guarantee someone else has felt the same or similar. Reach out to someone if you can – and that goes out to both those dealing with mental health issues and those who aren’t. Reach out to those you think are in need and remind them they’re never alone. Mental illness can be a very lonely place even if you’re surrounded by love, as I’ve learnt from

It talks about finding a lighthouse to shine a light on yourself and those in need. That’s one of the most important lyrics I’ve heard. A lot of people, myself included, see their depression as a black cloud, a darkness or something that blocks out the light and goodness of life.

my own experience. Banding together and shining our own ‘lighthouse’ on other people reminds them to stay strong and reminds them they’re not the only ones going through it. There is help and there is a light at the end of the tunnel and hundreds of people who will be more than willing to lend a helping hand. Don’t worry if you need a little guidance along the way. Lighthouses guide boats to safety and stop them from hitting rocks along the way. Once you realise what your lighthouse is let it do just that for you. Let it guide you away from your demons, and direct you through the darkness. Allow it to steer you away from the rocks that will eventually cause you to sink, you can do this. What I’m trying to say is that everyone deserves to have a light in their life, no matter what it is. Games, family, friends, books, make up, hopefully if you look hard enough it will be there. Once you find it remind yourself that you won’t be like this forever and let it help you to get away from the darkness. The escape may not last forever but the little steps are always the most important.

However this lyric battles that, it hints that you find a lighthouse to help brighten up that darkness, and that’s something I think we can all do. Now that ‘lighthouse’ doesn’t have to be anything in particular, it can be anything you want. It could be reading, listening to music, a person in your life…anything really. What matters is that your ‘lighthouse’ shines bright enough to you that the dark clouds move. Even for a little bit, but for that moment they’re gone. That for the time your lighthouse is shining so bright nothing can ever dull it.

I hope this made sense, and I hope that it helps whoever it needs to. Here I am shining a light on those who need it – I’m here and so are you so never forget how far you’ve come and how hard you’ve fought already.

This concept might sound cheesy but I’ve learnt through my struggle with depression that anyway to help yourself think positively is a way to help clear that darkness away.

Look out for your lighthouse and blast that darkness away. Words by Meggan Turner

Leading me on to the next part of the lyric, ‘shine a light on every single soul that weeps’ – possibly my

Illustration by Birdy Rose© www.birdyroseart.com

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Regular shop opening times Thursday 10-1pm • Friday 10-4pm • Saturday 10-2pm Meditation class every Saturday in shop from 2.30pm Reiki share once a month & other classes/workshops available (We can open up outside these hours by request)

Mindarium / p17 / Pilot Issue Spring 2018


EMPOWERMENT THROUGH EDUCATION

Power Cut The disconnection persists Something in the circuit’s wired wrong Tripped the switch, knocked out the power An outage lasting eight long months I tell myself I’ve changed I’m better for this brutality, this deceit In time, I will be But not today. ‘A sufficient level of re-engagement’ would be Picking up a guitar, with a song in my heart Writing poetry that isn’t steeped in shadow Sleeping with no remedy, natural or otherwise I’m learning to limp, learning to like the small gifts Brought to me by pain – Some days half a mouse, On the threshold of my mind Other days, artwork I might almost call beautiful. Though elusive, peace visits in between In the moments where I remember to breathe In the moments where art fills the gap Between who I was and who I am. Casey B

Life is a test, just try your best, is their motto

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f you have children kids and their families e.g. in primary school free sporting, theatrical or within the Rhondda cultural led tickets to gain there’s a chance you’ve admission into a series of already heard of Rob major events. WOW has Jones. Rob is the dynamo visited 19 schools in RCT behind World of Words over the last ten years and (WOW) which aims to the feedback from teachers, improve the literacy and parents, school inspectors language skills of our kids and most importantly the while offering wellbeing 2,500 children involved has benefits. WOW was been incredibly positive and founded in 2011 with affirming. educational inspectorate WOW still has more Estyn revealing that work to do, and always as many as 6 out of 10 children can leave WOW arranges many incentive events and rewards including this visit from Football’s has to fundraise to deliver Chris Coleman and Kit Symons when they were Wales manager and coach. its programmes into primary school with reading ages below their actual age. WOW, of: Behavioural challenges, low or under- schools due to the current local austerity which is a constituted not-for-profit, achievement, learning difficulties and measures. So WOW is always looking social enterprise, helps redress these diverse interests who will benefit from for support. If you can help in any way, negative statistics with positive learning specific motivation and encouragement. please contact Rob Jones, by email via: experiences in order to build confidence The project also helps further develop the worldofwordswales@gmail.com or call and self-esteem. more able and talented children to reach 07981 633361. The development of the wellbeing programme offers to engage children who may require individual focus as a result

higher plains. The sessions are full of energy and enthusiasm and have an array of reading materials with exciting incentives for the

For lots more information on what this project is about, and how to access this service, visit: www.worldofwords.education

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Mindarium / p18 / Pilot Issue Spring 2018

Fully Qualified Therapist Home based consultations and treatments for your ultimate relaxation or come to my outreach studios in Aberdare or Llantrisant.

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TAKING CONTROL Writing Through Trauma

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he outcome of any traumatic experience is unique, and no matter how similar two experiences may appear, no two people will feel the impact in exactly the same way, and no two people will have an identical reaction. A combination of factors, including personality, life experience and social factors all contribute to a person’s response. As a result, it makes sense that there is no one method of approaching and treating the aftermath of trauma that will be beneficial to everyone. A common reaction to a traumatic event is the feeling of having a lack of control. This can include out-of-control thoughts, impulsive behaviour, feeling disconnected, as well as physical symptoms, such as those associated with anxiety. All of these have obvious consequences for many aspects of everyday life, including relationships with others, the ability to work and participation in family life. Feeling a lack of control can be extremely scary. As human beings, we all want to be able to live our lives in the way we choose, to make our own decisions and have the freedom to act without too much interference from others - within the law, of course. At times of distress it is understandable to feel the need to control even more than usual, to want to hold tightly onto anything that brings even a small amount of comfort, in the same way that a child takes a favourite toy everywhere with them. Something to provide a sense of calm, to focus on, to gain a sense of relief from the array of emotions that trauma can create. Despite this need, as an adult trying to cope with a traumatic experience, it can be difficult to find comfort in anything. In some cases it may be because the things previously sought comfort in have a link to the trauma, or perhaps are a painful reminder of happier times. Alternatively, feeling that the experience has resulted in some sort of personal change, an effort to seek out a new way to find comfort may be made, if the old ones no longer work. One particularly challenging outcome of experiencing trauma can be finding it difficult to trust others, especially if somebody close was, on some level, involved. Even if that isn’t the case, trauma can be very isolating in itself and many people need both time and space, to allow them to process the situation at their own pace, however many others are willing and able to provide support. It is during times like this that other activities can be used to gain comfort, because as much as someone may want to be on their own, it is important that the time spent alone does not become damaging on some level. Sometimes it is difficult to find the words to explain a traumatic experience, whether through fear, shame, confusion, denial, or any number of other reasons.

Being able to express what happened in some way getting it out rather than internalising it - is one way that can help to relieve some of the strain of living with such an experience. When facing trauma, the feeling that thoughts, feelings, behaviour, and even life in general, are out of control is one that can seem both terrifying and impossible to overcome. It is, however, possible to find alternative ways to help to deal with these emotions. Writing is an activity that can be utilised, in a variety of ways, to help somebody who has been affected by trauma.

It can be used as a way of organising thoughts, telling the story, as a method of disclosure, a way of provoking the memory, as a way to reflect on the thoughts and feelings associated with the event, along with any consequences. This list is not exhaustive and writing can, indeed, be used in whatever way is deemed the most suitable, beneficial and practical by and for the individual concerned. Writing can also be used as a way of expressing something, of communicating on some level, even if there is no desire to share the words with anybody else at that time. Keeping a diary has been a popular activity for centuries and, more recently, blogging has given a new dimension to the practice, allowing the writer to invite an audience into their world, with readers able to engage with blogs based on a particular theme or topic, or those containing more personal musings. As a result, what was once a personal, private endeavour can now be open to as few or as many people, known or unknown,

as the writer likes, either openly or anonymously. There is also the option for readers to interact with the writer by leaving comments entries. Likewise, the writer can choose to read the blogs of others and may find that those containing something they empathise with can have a therapeutic value, not least because it helps them to realise they are not alone in what they are going through. Writing is, therefore, one thing that can be taken control of by a person trying to recover from trauma. The words written on a page or typed onto a screen are decided only by the writer. It is in their complete control. A full, honest narrative, a piece of fiction drawing on elements of the truth, or the use of metaphor as a way of exploring the situation without having to talk about it directly, can all be used. This is not an exhaustive list, of course, and the activity can be used in whatever way the writer chooses. Writing about a traumatic experience also provides an element of distance from it, as well as the thoughts surrounding it. This can make it easier to think and write about the situation, whether it will ever be read or not - that is not the purpose. The act of expression alone can provide a certain amount of therapeutic value, especially when the words can feel impossible to say out loud. While making the words more real, it can also help to organise thoughts and feelings more coherently, while maintaining a more protective distance from them. It can feel impossible to even begin to process a traumatic experience. Professional help is obviously important, especially in cases of PTSD, but writing is something that can be used as a therapeutic tool away from more formal means of support. Allowing the time, space and, more importantly, permission, to spend time on an activity like writing can make a difference to what may be overwhelming emotional distress, hopefully helping the mind to focus on alternative ideas, while providing the space for reflection, moving towards, and through the healing process. by Amanda Pitts Available from www.talesfromwales.net

Hidden

RCT Creative Writers Group Meet at Pontypridd Museum on the First Friday of every month from 10 am to 12 noon

Open to all who love the written word For more information contact Ann on davcau1952@gmail.com

“You’re doing well” they say, if only they knew the truth. How my quest to hide from conflict, my need to save others from hurt, mean my pain hides inside. My despair, an invisible noose around my neck. My anxiety forever knots my stomach. My tears only come in the safety of darkness, when I am alone with my thoughts. The daylight sees only my smile.

Tales From Wales Spring 2018

promoting emerging Welsh authors and artists

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G

IN

UC

OD

R NT

NEW

New Authors

WRIT ING TALE NT

'Sheila Lewis - Tom Stephen's Riot 'Smart Phone' - Paul Worthington 'The Rescue' - Stuart Kear

Guest Author

Bel Roberts 'A Touch of Gloss' Jan Ruth - 'Palamino Sky' from the 'Midnight Sky' Series Award Winning Short Story Allan Lewis - 'Get Out Of My Dreams' Amanda Audrey-Burden - 'The Ghost Horse of Galinas Moor' Dave Lewis - 'Ctrl-Alt-Delete' Graham Watkins - 'The Iron Master' Rob Benbow's hilarious. . . 'God Save Us All, It's John Palfrey!'

Author Extracts

In Memoriam

Spotlight On Writers Groups Best Welsh Blogs

Meet Tonypandy Writer's Group Writing Groups - What's the Point?

"Is the Rise of Blogs to the Detriment of Literature?" .Meet Star Welsh Blogger Lucy Mitchel Introducing from Australia. . . 'The Diary of Roxy Collins' Debut Novelist - Elizabeth Jane Corbett 'The Tides Between' 'How To' Help for Frustrated Writers Ifan Odwyn Jones proves its never too late! "Get Your Characters to Market Your Book Introducing Vernon 'Top Skip' Lewis

Wales Across The World

Help For Frustrated Writers

Discovering Welsh Artists

Kathryn Williams

The paintings of Oneill Meredith

Mindarium / p19 / Pilot Issue Spring 2018


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A girl killed herself on Saturday

t was dark, the wind was howling and she thought that she was alone. She was twenty two and ended her life. She wasn’t a close friend of mine and I think I’m probably poorer for that. For me, she was the type of person that you admire from afar. She was also the most authentic person I ever met. I knew her for years, our families are friendly and she grew up in the same village as me. She was in school with my younger brother, best friends with two of my neighbours and the rare kind of person who everyone is not only happy, but delighted to see. Her dad, trained my rugby team when I was a teenager, her uncle ran the club lotto with my mam. She grew up a few hundred yards from the club and was a stalwart from a young age and was a talented athlete when she was younger, passionate about horse riding and a national champion sprinter. She spent her summers chasing through fields and swimming in the river. Everyone within five years of her in town knew her. She was loud and funny and popular for all the right reasons. Her family run a saddlery and I worked for them moving stock one year at a horse show. I was five years older than her so she can only have been around eleven at the time, but she bossed me and everyone else around the shop for that whole weekend. The place ran like clockwork. I hadn’t seen her for a few years and was walking through a shop in town one day, two years ago, when I noticed a whirlwind of a young woman walking rapidly towards me. She was striking. Long blonde dreadlocks, dark eye makeup and lipstick, piercings and swirling tattoos, wrapped up in a kaleidoscope of colourful clothes. She sped up and shouted my name before wrapping me in a bear hug. Generally in my experience, beautiful women tend not to accost you in the street, so I was a bit taken aback. It took me a while to realise who it was. The kid I’d known had grown into a vibrant and utterly unique person. She said hi, asked about my family and then bounced on about her day. She was an artist and a dancer. She was intelligent, with an opinion on everything and confidence in herself. She wasn’t the type of person who lit up a room when she walked in, she was the type of person who set the building on fire. She genuinely walked around like a beacon of energy. You could bump into her anywhere and be greeted with a smile and a hug. She loved music and was friends with a lot of people in the electro scene. She seemed to go from one place to the next, one party to the next, constantly spreading real, infectious joy. She could appear anywhere unexpectedly. You might not see her for months, then you would run into her at a party at two in the morning and have a deep, meaningful conversation about the world banking system. Or you could wake up to find her cooking breakfast in your kitchen at home for a table full of your brother’s friends, while chatting to your mam about her back operation. She improved the day of everyone whose life she touched, trailing happiness behind her while concealing the deep pain that must have assailed her. She had laughter in her eyes and a sadness in her soul. Mindarium / p20 / Pilot Issue Spring 2018

I wish I’d known her better, and now I never will.

social media and we’re also more isolated than ever because of it. It’s harder to notice the false front that people are putting on over a text. It’s harder to read the pain in someone’s eyes through a Snapchat filter. I think a good starting point is to admit that we’re all a bit messed up. Every single one of us. It’s part of the human condition, nobody gets through life unscathed. Let’s admit it and move on to addressing the problem.

© image ‘Dreadlocks’ by maximunki on Deviant Art

She is the third person I know who has killed themselves since New Year’s Eve. We have a mental health crisis in the UK, which is still barely acknowledged. We are terrible at speaking about our emotions and worse at acknowledging when something is wrong. I have struggled with depression on and off for years but I’ve only been aware of what I was feeling more recently. Sometimes it can be easy to sweep emotions under the rug and put on a front for people, as well as for yourself. You can easily become an actor playing a version of yourself, for an audience of people who think they know you. A reverse Truman Show. Sometimes you can become so good at the act that you start to compel yourself to believe that you are actually fine. So long as you can ignore the gnawing feeling in your gut, the darkness in the back of your head that whispers, “You fucking liar”. Two of my closest friends revealed to me this year that they were struggling with anxiety and depression. We talk every day and none of us had known about the others. That’s a typically ‘man’ story and it’s sadly symptomatic of my generation. We are more connected than ever before over

I don’t know exactly what that solution is but I believe that it needs to include a major investment in access to treatment for people suffering from mental health issues. We need a serious investment in education about mental health and coping methods to stay on top of daily stresses before they become a serious problem. We need to have an engaged national debate about mental health and marketing campaigns aimed at young people. A lot of them are lost, drowning in a sea of ‘friends’ and ‘likes’ without understanding the value of listening to each other, of discussion. To quote Jessie J (there’s a sentence I never thought I’d write), “It’s ok not be ok”. We are all going through things, let’s be brave and up-front about what we’re feeling. Pain is part of being alive, it’s a horrible part but we need to learn to embrace it and stop running from it because suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Tell someone you trust about how you’re feeling. Care for each other. Care for your friends and the people on the fringes of your life. Ask someone how they’re feeling today. Check in on your people regularly, don’t allow someone to drift into quiet despair because silence can kill you like a cancer. Be kind when you speak to people, because you never know what someone else is going through internally. Find something you love. Get a cat. Get two cats. Peace, Conor.

Helplines and Support Groups We know it can be difficult to pick up the phone when you are feeling so desperate, but please reach out to somebody and let them know how you are feeling ... Samaritans (116 123) 24-hour service every day, or write/email: jo@samaritans.org Childline (0800 1111) for under 18s. www.elefriends.org.uk a supportive online community run by Mind. PAPYRUS (0800 068 41 41) support for teenagers and young adults. Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) helpline (0800 58 58 58) is an excellent resource for young men. Community Advice & Listening Line (C.A.L.L.) Mental Health Helpline based in Wales Tel: 0800 132 737 or Text HELP to 81066 www.callhelpline.org.uk Contact your local GP or call NHS Direct 0845 46 47 (Wales)


BAVO UPSKILL MORE PEOPLE

to help communities become suicide safer

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ridgend Association of Voluntary Organisations (BAVO), one of the leading training providers in Applied Suicide Interventions Skills Training (ASIST) across Wales, have had the pleasure to recently upskill 20 more community members to help ensure we have suicide safer communities. ASIST is a two day suicide ‘first aid’ workshop that teaches how to intervene and save a life from suicide. Over two million people around the world have participated in this award winning programme and nearly 2,500 trained specifically by BAVO. BAVO’s Chief Executive Officer and Master Trainer Heidi Bennett said: “Most people thinking about suicide don’t actually want to die, but they need help deciding to stay alive. Often these people considering suicide share their distress and their intent, but very discreetly. ASIST training will help you see and respond to these invitations for help, give you the confidence to ask about suicide if you are concerned about someone’s safety and provide you with the tools to help prevent the immediate risk.” If you would like to find out more about BAVO’s courses call 01656 810400, email or visit www.bavo.org.uk

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MAN UP

t’s one of the most destructive things a male will ever hear growing up, harden up, big boys don’t cry, and yet, we’ve been saying this to men this for years, but is it healthy? Did you know that suicide accounts for more deaths than road traffic accidents, particularly in people under the age of 35 and is 4 times more likely among men than women. Devastating new research suggests that some men choose to take their own life, rather than appear weak by asking for help. We should never be afraid to show our feelings, particularly men who seem to find it much more difficult to share. We know that bottling up emotions can set you off on a self-destructive path, and it’s probably the hardest thing to do by taking that first step and talking about how you feel. But when you do you’ll never look back; there are now so many resources aimed at breaking the silences and stimulating conversation about depression and suicide.

Recent ASIST participants with their certificates at end of 2 day course at BAVO offices in Maesteg.

So, what can we do? Let’s help men (and women) get back up and be mindful of using outdated phrases. This could make all the difference. We can raise awareness and put people in touch with the right services and best people to help. Help them to have a conversation that might just save their life.

Mindarium / p21 / Pilot Issue Spring 2018


GARDENING FEELS GREAT! Gardening guru Monty Don – and many other experts - have long advocated the benefits of going back to the land to combat anxiety, depression and more.

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here’s nothing like pulling on your wellies, getting your hands dirty and spending time out in the fresh air with the sun on your back.

This has proved to be the case at Vale of Clwyd Mind, where an allotment project which started two years ago in St Asaph has, like Topsy, just grown.

people along before they are discharged so that they can make friends before they go home.

After the first year The charity took over a derelict St Asaph Allotment double plot and employed a Associations saw part time support worker as an the success of experiment. Would an outside the project and project work? Would people launched their come along? If so, would it own initiative – to improve their mental and find the funding physical well being? The answer and build a second has been an outstanding Yes! double allotment specifically for Those who attended were not physically disabled expected to ‘dig for England people in the – just to come alone, enjoy the c om mu n it y. beauty of the site which is in the ‘We grew a giant pumpkin from a tiny plant in our first After a winter centre of the city but also in a year. It was so big it took four people to ROLL it out of of work peaceful country setting by the the allotment for donation to a local soup kitchen!’ this is now River Elwy. complete and Two years on there have been some outstanding Vale of Clwyd Mind has recently taken over the improvements in people’s health, and some have gone maintenance of that plot as well. Local GPs and on to study at college. Fruit and vegetables grown there hospitals have expressed interest in sending are distributed among those who attend, and the rest along a range of patients with mobility, pain or is sold off the day it is picked to local cafes in return depression issues for a small donation. A series of barbecue events has Since then VOC Mind has taken over a double attracted people to visit and this has broken down the allotment and a community garden walk in Ruthin stigma of mental health in the community as other with equal success. allotment holders socialise, swap seeds, plants and

socialise and grow their own produce There are plans to take over other allotments – but in the meantime the aim is to keep up people’s interest in the allotment in winter by providing activities – cooking, arts and crafts, willow weaving, jam making and more. Director of Vale of Clwyd Mind, Philip Williams said: ’This has proved to be an outstanding success for so many people – and our next plan is to work with the local Job Centre so that jobless people can volunteer, gain skills and get the references they need to move on into work experience and a job.’ It’s been a Win Win all round!

It’s finished! The double allotment specially built for people

produce.

Through partnership working, patients from the Ablett Mental Health Unit at Glan Clwyd Hospital now send

A current partnership plan is to maintain a large with physical disabilities, who can work at their own pace and allotment and woodland area owned by the plant whatever they wish with help if needed from a support charity Barnardo’s, so that young care leavers can worker.

New Horizons is a Mental health and emotional wellbeing centre who support individuals who are 18+ living in the Cwm Taf area. We provide self management courses for those living with mental health issues and for anyone who would like to learn about them. Our courses are free and accessible to all. Rhondda-MATV Mind – Porth Plaza, Pontypridd Road, Porth, CF39 9PG Agored Accredited SelfManagement of Long Term Conditions Introduction to long term health conditions and common problems Self-Management techniques Action planning Communication barriers Preparing for accreditation

5

Tuesday 11am-1pm

29/05/2018

11am-1pm 11am-1pm 11am-1pm 11am-1pm

05/06/2018 12/06/2018 19/06/2018 26/06/2018

Rhondda – New Horizons- The Factory, Jenkin Street, Porth CF39 9PP Individual Differences & Abnormal Psychology

Tuesday

12.30pm -3pm

17/4/18

13

Self-Harm

TBC

TBC

TBC

TBC

Taf Ely – New Horizons - Bryncae Community Centre, Powell Drive, Llanharan CF72 9UU Managing Anxiety 12.30pm – 3pm 14/5/18 7 We also have aMonday young persons project Resilience Skills Thursday 9.30am – 12.00pm 19/4/18 3 for 18-25 year olds on a Monday evening 4- 8pm. Assertiveness Skills Thursday 9.30am – 12.00pm 10/5/18 3 Peer Mentor Thursday 9.30am – form 12pm 7/6/18 6 at You can pick up an enrolment from us Taf Ely – New Horizons Wales Council for Deaf People Glenview House, Court House St, Pontypridd CF37 1JY Depressionour Busting for Adults Hard of in Dean TBC TBC Aberdare TBC TBC offices street Hearing Taf Ely -MATV Mind -Factory HAPI Newydd Housing, Y Cwm, Maesfield Way, Rhydefelin, Pontypridd CF37 or the The at , Trem Jenkins Street Porth or5HQyou Agored Accredited Confidence and Thursday 5 can contact us on Well-being 11am-1pm 19/04/2018 Introduction to confidence and selfesteem 01685 881113 for further information. Taf Ely – New Horizons HAPI Newydd Housing, , Trem Y Cwm, Maesfield Way, Rhydefelin, Pontypridd CF37 5HQ

Passive, aggressive and assertive behaviour types 5 ways to well-being Resilience Preparing for accreditation

11am-1pm

26/04/2018

11am-1pm 11am-1pm 11am-1pm

03/05/2018 10/05/2018 17/05/2018

Mindarium / p22 / Pilot Issue Spring 2018New Horizons Merthyr and the Valleys Mind 88 High Street, Pontmorlais,

16 Dean Street, Aberdare,

Did you know?

Stroking and playing with dogs has a hormonal effect, releasing endorphins and making you feel happier and more relaxed. The instant effect is good, but the accumulative effect is even better. Regularly spending time with dogs can help reduce stress, depression and anxiety.


WE STRIVE TO BE ALL THINGS FOR ALL PEOPLE

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And we are stronger together

anolfan Pentre is a community Hub open to all ages, providing services to anyone and everyone in and around the wider community. They work in partnership with other Third Sector providers, offering clubs, learning opportunities, parent and toddler group, after-school clubs and a chance to get out and get involved. Last Christmas Eve you may have seen them on BBC1 with Mary Berry, Mel and Sue in the Big Christmas Thank You, which tripled their user base and providing services for even more community members. They run a funfilled, happy centre where everyone is welcomed with a cup of tea and a smile. Their main objective is to combat isolation and loneliness as it affects many age ranges not just the elderly.

It’s hard to measure enjoyment and engagement with a figure, but, they believe that the people that come because they feel happy and part of something special, and there is always something to do and someone to speak to. It’s not always about learning a new skill, sometimes it’s just about having somewhere safe and warm to go in the knowledge that no one will judge you and always feel welcome. The centre’s main source of income is mainly generated through the hard work and determination of its little volunteer army, they go out bucket collecting, hold raffles and fetes and open the community café to the public where they serve light snacks and refreshments. Our village may have lost all its facilities such as our school, library and day centre but it has not lost its fight or heart, and Canolfan Pentre is proof of that.

WIN

a personalised hand-signed by Ruby Wax book of How to be Human by completing the reader questionnaire at the back of this magazine and submit to enter the Lucky Draw Deadline for entries 31st July 2018 Winner will be notified

Written with a little help from a monk, who explains how the mind works, and a neuroscientist who explains where everything that makes us ‘us’ can be found in the brain, Ruby Wax’s new book sets out to answer every question you’ve ever had about: evolution, thoughts, emotions, the body, addictions, relationships, kids, the future and compassion. How to be Human is extremely funny, true and the only manual you’ll need to help upgrade your mind as much as you’ve upgraded your iphone.

Mindarium / p23 / Pilot Issue Spring 2018


Musings

Happiness lives inside the smallest moments

My Hero My smooth operator My liberator Lover extraordinaire You lift my mood And soothe my brow My sweet beyond compare You know no fear You’re he who dares You wrap me safe in silk Can’t live without you I’ll never doubt you My bar of Dairy Milk.

anonymously in the US, where people mail in their secre ts is an ongoing community art project, based which , ecret PostS by ed inspir ly direct is This Musings board . on one side of a postcard (www,postsecret.com) mhwmag@gmail.com If you’d like to send your original ‘musings’ by post (to Musings, Rhondda 3/CF41 7DT) or by email to All submissions must be authentic and your own work. By submitting information to Musings you grant Mindarium a royalty-free license to use, reproduce, modify, publish anonymously, distribute, and otherwise exercise all copyright and publicity rights with respect to that information at its sole discretion, including storing it on Mindarium servers. If you do not wish to grant Mindarium these rights, it is suggested that you do not submit information. Mindarium reserves the right to select, edit and arrange submissions, at any time at its sole discretion.


POP GOES THE FACTORY Nurturing the Creatives

Y Welsh Hill Works by Factory resident artist Anne Culverhouse-Evans (above)

ou may notice the iconic red building in Porth as you drive through the gateway to the Rhondda Valleys, which was once the home of Corona Pop. The Factory is now a dynamic hub of diverse creative organisations and a hive of community regeneration initiatives. Valleys Kids purchased the building in 2011 and is now the delivery home for Community Enterprise Network, is the base for their ArtWorks Team and hosts Art in the Attic. It is also establishing itself as one of the Rhondda’s premier live music venues, along with theatre productions and exhibitions. There’s also a recently opened Barista-style coffee-shop selling light snacks where you can meet up with your friends, and coming soon in the units alongside the factory is a new children’s play facility. They regularly host art exhibitions from local artists and have shared-space workshops where magic really does happen. One artist who thrives in the basement is Dawn Hoban, who’s currently sculpturing the most incredibly detailed figurines, which really have to be seen in real life to appreciate the detail and impact of her work. She says “I never really considered myself as bright because I didn’t really do very well in school, but I now realise that I am, but in a different way. I am creatively bright. I make art because it helps me cope with life and gives me a voice, and I think I create my best work when I’m licking my wounds, it’s a form of expression. I don’t create art for money or fame, I just want my art to touch people and make them think and question these times which we’re living in . I feel as if it’s all I have ever been good at, and all I have ever wanted to do. I put my heart and soul into my work, You can see some of Dawn’s work in the Factory’s Art which is based on the history of the Rhondda where we live. Studio by appointment, email: 1970@outlook.com

I CAN’T NOT Nerea Martinez de Lecea is an award-winning interdisciplinary artist

S

he is currently working on her most ambitious drawing project to date, ‘1000 Days’ - an installation consisting of 1000 unframed A5 drawings presented together to create one large portrait. “My work is not ‘conceptual’. Of course it contains concepts and ideas but it always comes from emotion. Images are my language and my images express the things I have no words for. My work aims to tell stories of loss and leavings, of strength and resistance. It is characterised not only by things falling apart but also by the things which come to life in their wake. With my work I am sometimes asked “how do you come up with/think of images?” and to me that’s like asking how a person comes up with/thinks of feelings. I don’t think of images, just like I don’t think of feelings. They are there, they exist inside me, and the images demand expression, I must make them real. It may sound dramatic, but my images are my tools for survival. I usually know exactly what the images need to be, sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t and I have no problem editing. Some images do develop as I work, so I would say my process is a mixture of mainly the conscious with an intuitive (unconscious) critical eye as to whether I am succeeding in conveying what I set out to do. I make images with whatever media is appropriate and available to me. There are an infinite number of images and an infinite number of ways to make them. The main thing is to make them - just do it. At the moment, drawing is the mainstay of my practice, it’s a very immediate way of creating work – all I need is myself and my tools.”

Image: ‘Day 111’ (2016)

For more information and to follow Nerea’s work visit her Facebook page ‘Drawings-Nerea’ (@drawingsnerea)

Mindarium / p25 / Pilot Issue Spring 2018


If you’re a Harry Potter fan you will know what a ‘Boggle’ is, if not a, Boggle is your worst nightmare. Your worst fear. The thing that you keep inside you, eating away at you, draining you, frustrating you – and it constantly chases you.

MY BOGGLE WAS ANXIETY

A

s a child, I had severe OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) which began at a young age, and due to the resources and understanding at the time, it wasn’t completely addressed. OCD compelled me to perform a series of rituals; as a night time routine, checking gas switches in sets of three, light switches in sets three and locks in sets of three. If anything went wrong with my checks I had to begin again, which meant that I could often spend a long time doing this ritual and with all of the frustration, anger and upset that brought. With OCD there is always an attached outcome, and my outcome was this, if I didn’t correctly do these things, my family would come to great danger. Irrational, right? Completely. I knew this. My family knew this. But as anyone who has experienced OCD will vouch for, the compulsion remained. As I got older, in to my early teens, then in to my late teens, it morphed in to GAD (Generalised Anxiety Disorder) which stuck right up until a few years ago, when I was 35. The easiest way I explain GAD to people is this: you attach a ‘worst case scenario’ to every daily event. If I would text my wife, family or friends and I didn’t hear back then I automatically jumped to the assumption that they were injured, ill, don’t love me anymore, or worse. When I first started addressing this, I started keeping a ‘worry journal’. The first day I did this I made 128 entries! 128 things I was worried about just in that day. Then, I made a note in the diary to check back in a couple of weeks to see what had actually happened.

Mindarium / p26 / Pilot Issue Spring 2018

The result = NONE OF IT EVER HAPPENED!

The obsessive part of my anxiety had completely gone.

That was just one day! Imagine how stressed, depressed and anxious you would feel over a week, or a month!

That really is only the start of the story, but my message here is this…

So, I decided to draw a line in the sand.

• • • •

I had tried lots of different things, none of them really impacted me positively when coming away from living with anxiety. So, in Harry Potter style, I decided to let my Boggle out of the Cupboard – and bring it out in the open! How I did it was by Public Speaking. I belong to a Business Networking organisation called 4Networking. In ‘4N’ there is a slot of time reserved for people to talk about anything, if they choose, but it can’t be related to their business, the idea is to generate more interesting stories, etc. A slot became free at my local group, and I decided to seize the day! I stood up. Sweaty, anxious and short of breath. I held my notes in front of me. Shaking, nervous and emotional. And…I told my story. 20 minutes later, when I had finished the last word, the whole room stood up to applaud, with whoops of support and an air of surprise. The air of surprise was because I had become so good at wearing a mask when in public that no one knew what I was managing every single day. And I felt a little better So I did it again at another meeting… and felt a little better still. And again… At the third meeting, the founder of the network (Brad Burton) was there and he encouraged me to take my story on the road and visit groups all over the UK. So I did. Two weeks later, I returned home, and without the OCD! I still feel emotional about this as I write it.

Step up. Tell your story. Let your Boggle out of the cupboard. Exorcise that demon.

When it is out, in the cold light of day it seems a lot more manageable and, in my experience, you will have queues of people just falling over themselves to help you. If you are honest with people not only do you find the ones that will support you, but you also find the people you really don’t need in your life. Fast forward to present day, and I am the Founder of Talking Anxiety, an organisation which is based on my passion for positive Mental Health and engaging people to find their voice and live their life blueprint, NOT one that has been dictated by situations or other people. It all seems very surreal this started out as my ‘cheap therapy’ and now I speak to thousands of people, sharing my experience to as many people as I can. As a career businessman, to have a complete shift of focus to helping as many people as possible, it feels like my calling. That is the reason I lived with this for so long. This makes it all worth it. So, when would you like to draw a line in your sand? Nick Elston Founder – Talking Anxiety @NickElston_ (Twitter & Instagram) @TalkingAnxiety_ (Twitter & Instagram)


Researching for a better future Today, one in four people in the UK is living with a mental health problem. That’s almost 15 million people with an illness affecting their wellbeing and relationships, and for some, their ability to work and lead an independent life. It’s heartening to see more people open up and share their experiences of mental ill-health, but unfortunately there’s still some way to go in tackling the stigma that can make those experiencing problems with their mental health feel isolated. One of the main drivers of this stigma is the fact that there’s still a great deal to learn about the causes of mental ill-health, as well as how best to treat and support those who become unwell. When compared to the extraordinary advances in treating physical health conditions, it is clear there’s a lot of catching up to do. However, in terms of research, it hasn’t been a level playing field. Analysis by MQ, a UK-wide mental health research charity, shows that despite mental health representing a high burden of illness in the UK, just 5.8% of health research spending is focused in this area. Research is key to improving outcomes for the millions of people affected by a mental illness. Without detracting from the seriousness of conditions like cancer, dementia or cardiovascular disease, a more equitable distribution of funding would be helpful in improving

the lives of those affected by mental illness. At the National Centre for Mental Health, we’re using a variety of research techniques to examine the complex interplay between social, psychological and biological factors that influence an individual’s risk of experiencing a mental health problem. By understanding how these areas interact and overlap, we hope to help develop more effective treatments and improve diagnosis in the future. There could also be other benefits too, like better informing government policy – not just in health and social care, but also the criminal justice system, education and the economy. Over 8,000 people have already taken part in our research, and we’re hoping thousands more will join them – the more people who give their time to help with our work, the better the outcomes will be. Taking part involves completing an online survey, which should take no more than 15 minutes. If you agree, we may then contact you in the future to invite you to complete a more in-depth interview with one of our researchers, and provide a blood or saliva sample. If you are interested in helping, visit www.ncmh.info/help to find out more.

BOOK REVIEWS Young Adult books have really stepped up their game dealing with mental health issues. I have a particular interest in this as a close family member was diagnosed with Generalised Anxiety Disorder that was later, more accurately diagnosed as OCD. I read an excellent practical book, Overcoming OCD, which taught me a huge amount about the condition, and gave some great advice. Of course I also ended up seeing OCD everywhere, which leads me to my fiction recommendations:

Am I Normal Yet Holly Bourne

Powerful, at times upsetting, but ultimately, warm and hopeful, this is a fantastic book about a young woman, Evie, with hygiene OCD. Evie has a boyfriend with some serious anxiety issues too. What I love about the book is that it deals with recovery AND relapse. Relapse happens, it can be bad, but it doesn’t have to be forever. It’s a special book, funny but never flippant. Highly recommended.

Finding Audrey Sophie Kinsella

So technically I guess Audrey has agoraphobia, not OCD, but I already warned you, I see OCD traits EVERYWHERE. I really felt for Audrey as she struggled to get out of the small box her life had become.

While I didn’t feel this delved as deep as my two other choices, I did enjoy this story and it’s a pretty fast read.

Optimists Die First Susin Nielson’s

A moving and honest love story. Considering its two main characters and grief stricken and wracked with guilt, this is an amazingly funny and uplifting book. Petula is said to have anxiety but I can see the OCD traits there! Obsessing about safety and compulsive collecting a scrap book of disasters while avoiding any potentially risky situations. I really believed this book, it felt real – there were no easy fixes for any of the kids in the Crafting for Crazies group but there was hope, and I loved that.

The one thing these books all have in common is humour. Sometimes, it’s the only way to get through!

Kathryn Evans is the author of the Young Adult novel, More of Me, described by The Bookseller as “a gripping thriller with a sinister sci-fi edge, exploring family, identity and sacrifice.” More of Me was nominated for the Carnegie Medal and won the Edinburgh International Book Festival First Book Award www.kathrynevans.ink @kathrynevansink

Sue Goddard: I wrote this poem in Spring 2012, whilst waiting in the Psychiatrist’s waiting room for her daughter to return. It was written about the only others there and it was heartbreaking to watch them. The mother of the young man spoke to me later and told me their story. I could relate to her desperation.

DESPAIR

Paintings of flowers In a plain plastic frame She’s sat there for hours But no one’s to blame Sat in the arched backed chair Feeling his pain Him with his vacant stare Feeling the same Her eyes shed a tear Her hand strokes his hair Her son is so dear It’s so hard to bear Needing so badly To know what is wrong Thinking so sadly It’s been far too long Fourteen years waiting For the doctor to say ‘Your son has bipolar, I’ll help if I may’ Their turn comes to go in But once again there’s No decision of treatment It’s like no one cares They both have to live With this illness so bad And mam’s heart cries out For the son she once had His tears bring her sadness His rage brings her fear What happened to him The son she holds so dear? So doctors please listen When we show concern We know our kids better Than you’ll ever ‘learn’ All we need from you Is your knowledge and care To bring our kids out From the edge of despair.

Mindarium / p27 / Pilot Issue Spring 2018


Directory Advocacy Support Cymru Telephone: 029 2054 0444 Email: info@ascymru.org.uk www.ascymru.org.uk

Elefriends Online community run by Mind. Apps are also available via the Google Play store or the Apple App Store. Website: www.elefriends.org.uk

Age Concern Morgannwg Telephone: 01443 490650 Email:Information@acmorgannwg.org.uk www.acmorgannwg.org.uk

Fathers Reaching Out www.fathersreachingout.com

Alzheimer’s Society Tel: 0300 222 1122 National Dementia Helpline Email: helpline@alzheimers.org.uk www.alzheimers.org.uk Anxiety UK Tel: 084 4477 5774 (Mon-Fri 9.30am-5.30pm) www.anxietyuk.org.uk Assist (Support and Self Help in surviving Trauma) Tel: 01778 560800 Email: assist@traumatic-stress.freeserve.co.uk www.assisttraumacare.org.uk Basement Project Provides information about abuse and self harm to survivors, families & friends and workers. Tel: 01873 856 524 www.basementproject.co.uk B-eat (formally the Eating Disorders Association) Adult Helpline Tel: 0845 634 1414 Youth Helpline Tel: 0845 634 7650 Email: info@b-eat.co.uk www.b-eat.co.uk BeatBullying Telephone: 0208 771 3377 Email: hello@beatbullying.org www.beatbullying.org Bipolar UK Tel: 020 7931 6480 Wales office: 01633 244 244 Email: info@bipolaruk.org.uk www.bipolaruk.org.uk BulliesOut 02920 492 169 https://bulliesout.com Carers UK Helpline open 10am-12 noon, 2pm-4pm Wed & Thurs Tel: 0808 808 7777 www.carersuk.org

Gofal Welsh mental health and wellbeing charity www.gofal.org.uk Hafal Wales-based organisation, which helps people with severe mental illness Information Line: 01792 816 600 www.hafal.org HOPELineUK Practical advice and info to anyone concerned that a young person they know may be suicidal. Helpline number: 0800 0684 141 www.papyrus-uk.org Interlink Mental Health Project Telephone: 01443 846200 www.interlinkrct.org.uk Journeys Depression and self-help groups Tel: 02920 692891 www.gofal.org.uk/journeys/ Meic For children and young people in Wales, ages 0-25 yrs. 080880 23456 (24 hr freephone number) SMS Messages: 84001 (free and anonymous) www.meiccymru.org Mental Health Matters (Wales) Independent Mental Capacity Advocate (IMCA) Telephone: 02920 888901 www.imcawales.org Mind Information Line Any aspects of mental health issues. Tel: 08457 660 163 Legal line Tel: 0845 2259 393 www.mind.org.uk Miscarriage Association Tel: 01924 200 799 www.miscarriageassociation.org.uk National Association for Pre Menstrual Syndrome Tel: 0844 8157 311 www.pms.org.uk

Childline Tel: 0800 1111 24hr freephone number www.childline.org.uk

National Debt Line Tel: 0808 8084000 www.nationaldebtline.co.uk

Citizens Advice Bureau Telephone: Advice line: 0844 477 2020 Website: www.citizensadvice.org.uk

New Horizons Local Mental Health Support Telephone: 01685 881113 Email: newhorizons2001@btconnect.com www.newhorizons-mentalhealth.co.uk

Community Advice and Listening Line (C.A.L.L) Wales based mental health helpline for anyone in need of information and support. Tel: 0800 132 737 (24 hrs) www.callhelpline.org.uk Cruse Bereavement Care Helpline: 0844 477 9400 www.cruse.org.uk Domestic Violence Helpline Tel: 0808 2000 247 (24 hr)

Mindarium / p28 / Pilot Issue Spring 2018

New Pathways Rape crisis and sexual abuse support services Telephone: 01685 379310 Email: enquiries@newpathways.org.uk www.newpathways.org.uk NHS Direct Support for health advice and information. NHS Direct 0845 4647 www.nhsdirect.wales.nhs.uk

NSPCC Helpline for parents, children abusers, professionals or anyone wanting help and advice. Helpline number: 0808 800 5000 24 hour line text: 08000 560 566. Email: help@NSPCC.org.uk www.nspcc.co.uk OCD Action Advances the awareness and treatment of OCD [Obsessive Compulsive Disorder] Tel: 0845 3906 232 www.ocdaction.org.uk PANDAS (Pre and postnatal Depression and Support) Tel: 0843 28 98 401 www.pandasfoundation.org.uk Parentline Plus Helpline open 24 hours a day 365 days a year. Tel: 0808 800 2222 (freephone number) Email: parentsupport@parentlineplus.org.uk www.parentlineplus.org.uk Relate Telephone: 01633 880960 Website: www.relate.org.uk Rethink Information on mental illness issues. Tel: 0207 840 3188 or 0845 456 0455 e-mail: advice@rethink.org www.rethink.org Rhondda Womens Aid Telephone: 01443 731445 www.wa-rct.org.uk Samaritans 24 hour confidential support for anyone in crisis. 116 123 (UK) 0808 164 0123 (Welsh language) www.samaritans.org.uk Shelter Cymru’s national LGBT housing helpline 0844 264 2554. Email: lgbthousinghelpline@sheltercymru.org.uk www.sheltercymru.org.uk/housing-help-mobile-app SNAP Cymru Support for parents, children and young people with special educational needs or disabilities Helpline: 0845 120 3730 Email: headoffice@snapcymru.org www.snapcymru.org Supportline Confidential emotional support to any individual. Tel: 01708 765 200 Email: info@supportline.org.uk Website: www.supportline.org.uk Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide Helpline: 0300 111 5065 (9am-9pm every day) www.uk-sobs.org.uk TEDS Drug Addiction Treatment Centre Aberdare · 01685 880090 www.teds.org.uk Wales Dementia Helpline Supporting carers & sufferers in Wales. Offering a confidential listening support service. Freephone: 0808 808 2235 (24hrs) Or text ‘help’ to 81066 www.dementiahelpline.org.uk


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Mindarium Magazine  

For your Wellbeing: exploring the world of the mind. We look at a variety of issues that challenge our mental health and show ways of coping...

Mindarium Magazine  

For your Wellbeing: exploring the world of the mind. We look at a variety of issues that challenge our mental health and show ways of coping...

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