NEW REASON Issue No. 2
Autumn Edition 2015
THE STEPPING STONES WAY FOR EMOTIONAL WELLBEING & SUPPORT
Back to School
How our services can help you.
Interview with Glen Chisholm, Mayor of Ipswich
The Stone Foundation
A new Charity is born
Community4rce leading the way on challenging behaviour
Stepping Stones delivering support for vulnerable people since 2010.
Stepping Stones Community is the Hub that houses all of the Stepping Stones individual companies and services.
SUPPORTED HOUSING provides accommodation and support for people with mental health distress and/or a learning disability, as well as people who have complex issues that require support.
COMMUNITY OUTREACH providing a range of services to help people living in their own homes. Including our CQC registered service that utilises qualified nurses to provide expert help for people experiencing emotional distress, Help in Cluttered Homes, Academic Mentoring and Training.
IT SERVICES provides a comprehensive IT and marketing service for the Stepping Stones Groups as well as providing a hardware & software development service for external customers. 2
What makes us different? We offer a wide range of flexible support packages. All tailored to the individuals need. We are flexible in the way that we support people, flexible in the way that we manage our staff teams and flexible in the use of and access to accommodation.
Contact us Stepping Stones Community Sproughton House, Sproughton, Ipswich, IP8 3AP Freephone on: Telephone No:
0800 1337 355 01473 487373
Email: info@SteppingStonesCommunity.com website: www.SteppingStonesCommunity.com
Our Reason Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the start of September, the leaves are beginning to turn, the nights are already drawing in and it is the time when for many thoughts return to study or the familiar juggling of school runs and pack ups! Education and more specifically continual learning, is something that underpins and inspires all that we do in the Stepping Stones Community. The spirit of creativity and possibility, the curiosity and wonder about the world and all the people in it, how we got here, and why things are the way they are. We are delighted that in this, our 2nd edition of New Reason, we have features about the work of another inspiring and pioneering local service Community4rce, as well as our own Academic Mentoring service. And we are so happy to have an interview with the Mayor of Ipswich Glen Chisolm. They all demonstrate how important it is to get the right support and encouragement as we are learning. They give us an insight into what people can achieve and that regardless what has happened in our lives, anything is possible. We hope you enjoy reading New Reason and we are very interested in receiving your feedback so please get in touch and let us know what you think. Matthew Morris Director of Operations Stepping Stones Community Outreach
CONTENTS Autumn 2015
FRONT COVER 18 THE MAYOR OF IPSWICH Glen Chisholm and his experiences with being overwhelmed.
26 COMMUNITY4RCE Leading the way on challenging behaviour.
8 BACK TO SCHOOL How our mentoring service can help you.
25 A NEW CHARITY IS BORN The Stone Foundation
REGULARS 5 3 6 34
CONTRIBUTORS OUR REASON OPEN LETTER HELPFUL CONTACT NO’S
FEATURES 2 WHO ARE WE? and what makes us different.
7 WHAT DOES A MENTAL PATIENT LOOK LIKE? A piece written by Glen Chisholm
10 WALKING ALONGSIDE TALKING ABOUT PATHWAYS TO RECOVERY Rob Morris’s story about why he went into Mentoring.
14 PERSONAL FEEDBACK .
Feedback on our Mentoring Service
30 NEW REASON, NEW THINKING Matthew’s blog about rethinking the way we look at mental health.
33 TRAINING New Training dates available for the Autumn session
s r o t u b i r t Con
Meet three of the people who have taken part in the creation of
New Reason. Matthew Morris Director of Operations Stepping Stones Community Outreach Matthew Morris is our Operational Director for Community Outreach. Having worked within the NHS, Voluntary and Independent Sector, for a combined 30 years, Matthew has a particular interest in developing services that see difficult feelings and unusual experiences as being understandable in the context of people’s lives. Services where people can be helped through relationships that build on strengths and are based on people living the life they choose for themselves.
Rob Morris Academic Mentor Stepping Stones Community Outreach Rob Morris is our Academic Mentor. He has worked in self-development for the last 12 years, having trained as a Life Coach. Rob’s previous roles include media sales, recruitment and head-hunting. All these roles, enable Rob to provide 360 degree support, from the start of a student’s life at college, to the end, when looking for work.
Louise Rackstraw Creative Director Stepping Stones IT Company Photographer, Videographer & Creative Designer. Louise has established her creative skills within the Stepping Stones Community, sharing the companies’ vision of the Stepping Stones way of working with the public. Her work can be seen on our website; www.SteppingStonesCommunity.com From design layout, leaflets and video interviews. 5
Open Letter Welcome to the autumn edition of New Reason, the magazine from Stepping Stones Community. We hope that through our publication we can interest, surprise, inspire and inform, through the stories people have supplied as well as from the people we work for. With New Reason comes new hope, new opportunities and endless possibilities. For us these possibilities are created through skilful but simple human interactions and qualities such as; empathy, honesty, compassion and the belief in the innate human capacity to survive and thrive.
Share your Story We would love to hear from you about your own experiences, whether its of personal experiences or the support you gave a friend or family member. Sharing your experiences not only shows that we are not alone but also highlights problems that we all face in our day to day lives. Help us to promote a better understanding of the issues we all face and contribute to the development of better mental health focusing. We look forward to hearing from you. info@SteppingStonesCommunity.com 6
What does a “Mental Patient” look like? by Glen Chisholm
What does a ‘Mental Patient’ look like? For Asda it looks like a grotesque figure with a hideous face, blood stained clothes, brandishing a meat clever. For me my image of a ‘Mental Patient’ is something different and if I want to see what one looks like I just look at my reflection. I had struggled for years and undergone treatment for Depression, I had suffered from a mental health problem but I’m not unique in that. As many as 1 in 4 will suffer from a form of mental illness. So in case you have not heard, Asda and Tesco decided that an ideal Halloween costume would be the grotesque figure complete with blooded shirt and meat cleaver. They then decided to label it ‘Mental Patent’ “So what’s wrong with that” some said, “it’s only a harmless bit of fun” some declared. Unfortunately it is not just a harmless bit of fun. Imagery can be very important and what this costume did was reinforce stereotypes and help enforce the stigma that surrounds mental health. We already have people facing discrimination and fear of coming forward, this outfit just feeds the misconceptions and myths around mental health. Now everyone can make mistakes with imagery. I myself have used the “Headclutcher” image in a blog before, something I regret as it does not truly represent who people with mental health problems are. What happened next was an example of people power. As the image from Asda’s website went viral the angry reaction on Twitter forced Asda to withdraw the outfit. The Supermarket chain apologized and explained they would make a donation to Mind. This showed that people can make a difference and also that people were not prepared to sit back and let this happen. But this was not how the story ended. Twitter not only forced Asda to drop the outfit it then inspired the #Mentalpatient hashtag, turning something positive from the incident. Thousands of people posted pictures of themselves in their ‘mental patient’ costumes and these pictures consisted of normal people doing normal things, because that is what a ‘mental patient’ looks like. We are all individuals from all walks of life, we need to work together to end the stigma. And like I said at the start if I want to see what a mental patient looks like I just need to look in the mirror. You can see more of Glen Chisholm’s work on the anti stigma website... ‘Time for Change’.
What is mentoring?
What to expect from a Mentor?
Mentoring aims to provide support which facilitates success.
Stepping Stones Community is developing a Team of Academic Mentors with the skills and ambition to provide a high quality service that has students at the heart of what we do.
Mentoring helps the student to focus on their strengths, utilising them in a way that enables them to address any issues that they may be struggling with. Mentors help students to develop and maintain more realistic study patterns, enhancing their ability to overcome barriers to aid success, and thereby providing them with a better prospect of achieving academic and personal goals. Support is provided with timetabling, goal-setting, and managing expectations about appropriate levels of study. Mentors utilise expertise in helping people with a wide range of life issues and difficulties. Bringing their knowledge and their experiences of helping people to recover and succeed to an academic setting.
The Mentors are able to make and sustain relationships with students and their support networks, relationships that facilitate increased confidence, awareness and success. All our Mentors are trained and supported to work alongside students, to listen and plan with them, to be there for them when they learn from the things that challenge them, and celebrate when things go well. Students usually see their mentor for an hour once or twice a week during term time, and the mentor arranges regular meetings with the student.
Walking Alongside -
Talking About Pathways to Recovery At the tender age of 5, I was suddenly thrust into a situation I had never encountered. My mum, who was a team leader on a particular evening for Samaritans, had popped into the centre, to say she would be home soon and contactable. In the pre-mobile phone time, you either had to go to a pay phone or physically send a letter or pop in yourself. Having “popped in”, my mum was told that a woman, who had been abused both physically and sexually by her husband, was on the brink of suicide. Only the intervention of my mum could save her life. This gave mum a dilemma, with me in the car. She decided the best course of action was to take me with her, but warned me to keep quiet and don’t say a word. In the following minutes, I was exposed to the harsh realities of life and how close we travel between choosing life and death. At the tender age of 5. Around the same time, my family and I had joined friends on a camping holiday for children with learning difficulties. 10
I had befriended a boy much older than me, but with a mind the same age as mine. His name was Mutley. I felt so proud to have my much older, new best friend. For the day we stayed on camp, I remember spending most of the time with him. Later that evening, he was beaten up by a group of boys, accused of being “backward” “a spastic” and whatever other words you called people with mental health issues, back in the 1970’s.
anything in the shops. On a post postcard in a shop window, I saw a headline, “Need Life Coaching? Call Monica!” I never phoned Monica, but I did look at what life coaching was all about. I found out what it involved, role playing, creating pathways to success by conversation, using your intuition when asking questions i.e. going with your gut feelings. This opened up a world of everything I was fascinated by. I enrolled on a Life Coaching course and a year later I was up and running.
“Need Life Coaching?...” These two moments in my early life, made me appreciate that older people do have feelings; that adults do cry and that life isn’t always as depicted on children’s television. These two episodes sank deeply into my core and, thereafter, made me want to help people, feel empathy when others were down and want to make them happy. My role in life was to “fix” people, but as I got older, I realised that you never “fix” people, you merely give them to tools to make themselves better. During my own voyage of discovery as an adult, I’ve felt the highs of marriage and starting a family, to the lows of bereavement of my mum and job loss. The latter had far reaching implications, as a company I had set up crashed, so did my confidence and my view of the world and myself in it. It sounds dramatic, as it was. My fall from grace, my fall into the abyss of no confidence and low self-esteem has been a massive mountain to climb. Whilst out of work, my “eureka” moment came when window shopping in Blackheath, lord knows, I couldn’t afford
Life Coaching has given me the ability to feel and see emotionally, for the betterment of my service users and opened up many new avenues for meeting some amazing people and learning more and more about myself and others. One of the people I met, was Mark Goulbourne, whilst doing a day’s training with MIND, on bringing coaching into the workplace. So began my life as a mentor within the Stepping Stones Community. I love mentoring my students, as I get to coach, cajole, listen, learn and talk about my experiences in life. It’s everything I love doing in one job. Some days are challenging, when dealing with students who want to end their lives or students who self-harm. Each time, whatever the situation, I am privileged to be allowed into the lives of my students and be able to create support systems with them that can stop negative feelings and situations, create new avenues of thinking and make their worlds bigger and more varied, whilst still in a supportive mentoring environment. 11
I am able to provide support on CV writing, interview techniques for when students leave college or university, or are looking for work experience. With my acting background I encourage role play a lot, this helps them to look at problems from different perspectives. During my time as a mentor, I have been sworn at, ignored, hugged, cried on (tears of sadness and joy), laughed with, laughed at, respected, BUT, the one thing that all of my students have given me is learning. They teach me how to be a better mentor, with every situation they put in front of me. I feel like that 5 year old boy in the back of my mum’s car on a Samaritans visit, I feel strong enough to now protect that boy called “Mutley” from ignorant bullies. I feel like I’ve found my calling and it feels great. 12
The Process of Mentoring: For a student to be eligible to apply to receive mentoring, they must first go to an assessment centre. There, an assessor will discuss their learning difficulties and clarify the condition the student has, e.g. autism, Asperger’s etc. After the assessment, the student receives an allocation of hours for either - mentoring, study skills support, note taking or library support. The funding for this comes via the Disabled Student Allowance, which is granted by Student Finance (England). The assessment centre will make recommendations for a provider of these services in the area the student lives or goes to college or university. Sometimes the Student Support Team within the college, will be able to recommend companies who provide these services.
My name is Glen, I’m 22 years old
and I am from Southend-on-Sea, Essex. I’m a keen musician (bass guitarist) and have been playing for 9 years now, I am focusing on becoming a full time musician within the music industry, in which I am also currently studying Music Performance, Composition and Production at University and have just finished my 1st year. How does mentoring make you feel? The mentoring really made me feel positive about things and made me think about things in a different and effective way which would build my self-confidence. Do you still feel the same way? No, I feel a lot different compared to when I first started seeing Rob. I feel more confident with things and I am able to approach my problems differently. Also if I feel uncertain or unhappy with an issue I am now able to express that to others, which I struggled to do before. All this is helping towards my goal of becoming a full time musician. How did you hear about us or who referred you to us? Hayley Mullender, safe guarding, from South Essex College (Southend Campus) referred me on to Rob. Did you have help before Stepping Stones? If yes how was it? Yes I did, The help I was receiving before Stepping Stones was not helping me at all, and if anything made me feel worse. I did not have a positive experience from it and if anything I almost felt bullied into things at times.
How does or which way does Stepping Stones support you? Stepping Stones supports me by providing me with weekly mentoring (through DSA, student finance), focusing on helping me to build my self-esteem and self-confidence, which will help me progress with life, my studies at university and my career as a musician. Do you feel supported? Yes I feel very supported and inspired by the support I receive. Do you feel that the support provided could be any different? No I don’t, I am extremely happy with the support I receive. What is Rob like as a mentor? Rob is an amazing mentor and I feel very privileged to have him in my life, he is very approachable, friendly and extremely caring. Rob has helped me so much this year and I have come a long way with his help, I appreciate everything he has done and is doing for me, I really couldn’t have asked for anyone better. How do you feel in yourself now with the support that you get from Stepping Stones? I feel a different person and my self-confidence is continuing to grow and my life is a lot more positive and I feel so much happier with everything.
Antony Antony is an 18 year old Uni Student with Aspergers, living on Canvey Island with his parents. He previously attended Seevic College for 2 years and have a BTEC in Games Design. This is his feedback on our Mentoring service. How does mentoring make you feel? It’s very relieving. It gives me someone to turn to when I need to discuss my problems without feeling like there’s a barrier between what I can say to the person. It helps me to get my emotions out and try and figure out how to approach some of my more troubling situations. Do you still feel the same way? Yes, although other times I do not feel like I need mentoring and just having time to myself and with my close friends helps me reflect on what’s happening. How did you hear about us or who referred you to us? I was referred to Stepping Stones through my Uni as a supplier of my mentoring service to help me through my degree. Did you have help before Stepping Stones? At other establishments I had support and mentor services that were provided by the school/college, but nothing more than that.
If yes how was it? It was fine, I had good experience with some of my support mentors at College and hold them to a high regard.
How does or which way does Stepping Stones support you? They have helped me overcome some tough periods during the first year of my degree and made me feel like I wasn’t on my own when problems started mounting against me. Do you feel supported? Yes, I feel very supported What is Rob like as a mentor? He’s very helpful and doesn’t try to hide who he is, which makes him easier to relate to. It helps break the ice when talking to him and gives me a sense of trust compared to talking to some mentors who stay mostly on a set basis of questions/topics. How do you feel in yourself now with the support that you get from Stepping Stones? Better, I feel like I can slowly get more confident and tackle my fears, but it will still take time.
Hi, my name is Lorraine, I’m 50 years old and I am Antony’s mother. Antony is co-morbid and has been diagnosed with High functioning Autism, Tourettes Syndrome, OCD, General and Social Anxiety, Idiopathic Hypersomnia, and Depression. How does mentoring make you feel? Mentoring is really helpful for Antony. It helps him to be able to talk over his problems and worries without being judged or ridiculed. Did you have help before Stepping Stones? Antony had mentors since he was 13 years old and was home tutored. If yes how was it? Antony has always done really well with responding to mentors. I have found that they are able to get him to do things that I could never persuade him to do, for example go to the cinema, go for a meal in a restaurant and even order his own meal. Unfortunately in the past his mentors have been moved on so he always worries that if he finds someone he trusts that they will leave and he will have to start again. He worries now that if he lets it known that his mentor is fantastic that the mentor will get promoted and he will lose them. Do you feel that the support provided could be any different? I think now that Antony feels at ease with his mentor and has built up a trust I feel maybe now is the time to start pushing Antony’s boundaries and help him to become more independent.
What is Rob like as a mentor? Ha ha ha now there’s a question. Rob is a great mentor, he broke down a very high wall that Antony had built around him within the first hour of knowing him. Rob is a great listener and boy is he a good talker. He is the kind of person who can get on with anybody regardless of who they are or what they have done. Rob is never off duty. Even when he should have clocked off he is still researching and thinking over solutions to Antony’s many problems. The first time I spoke to Rob on the phone was to ask him one question and a hour later was still on the phone. He is not only a mentor for Antony but has become a mentor a friend and a sounding board for me. I know I can text Rob, email him or call him at any time. Most times that I contact him within a very short time the phone will ring and there he will be. He manages to juggle our phone call, reading an email I have just sent and controlling his pet dogs at the same time. (And they say men cant multitask)! Sometimes someone comes into your life and you have to wonder which star it was you wished upon that sent them to you. That is Rob. ‘I’d just like to thank you for bringing Rob into our life. I have a feeling that he is going to be part of our life for a long time, well I hope so anyway’.
Glen, hopes to be a bass player in a professional band
Going Above and Beyond I have been an Academic Mentor for Stepping Stones for the last three years. Such is the brilliance of this job, I am able to include my interests for the betterment of my students. One such example of this was, when mentoring a student, Glen, he said he needed to get a demo tape done, as he wanted to be in a band. He is presently doing a music degree and hopes, eventually, to be a bass player in a professional band. I contacted a friend of mine and fellow band mate, who has a recording studio in his cellar and we then discussed how we could help Glen. It was agreed we would do two songs, which had a strong bass line. 16
Using two previously recorded songs, by my band, we took out our bass guitaristâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s bit and recorded Glen doing his bit. The result? A success, which Glen was happy with and so were we. As part of my mentoring service, I aim to get each student to aspire to something, whether that be a personal hobby or work. As I worked in recruitment for a number of years, I assist in finding work experience or other opportunities such as this one with Glen. As I often say to my students, donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t look in on yourself or at others in jealousy, just look up and aspire to your own goals. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m happy to assist.
For more information contact us: Stepping Stones Mentoring Services, Sproughton House, Sproughton, Ipswich IP8 3AP
0800 133 7355 or 01473 487373 info@SteppingStonesCommunity.com www.SteppingStonesCommunity.com
Mayor of Ipswich Meet the 42 year old who has been a Labour councillor for the Stoke Park ward for the past 3 years before becoming the Mayor Ipswich this year, Glen Chisholm. His consort is his 18 year old son Clinton. Mr Chisholm supports 2 causes that are close to his heart, neonatal care – The Sunrise Appeal, by the Ipswich Hospital Charity (Charity No. 1048827) and mental health – Suffolk Mind (Charity No. 219830) His son was one of twins and sadly they lost his brother during the pregnancy and they nearly lost him as well – Clinton was premature. “The special care unit at Ipswich Hospital saved my son’s life so I thought it would be an opportunity to give something back to them” explains Mr Chisholm Mr Chisholm is an active campaigner for mental health awareness and has written blogs of his own experiences for the anti-stigma website, Time for Change, he has also said that he is happy to for us to share these with you as well. Interview by Louise Rackstraw
Can you tell me about yourself and about your background? Yes certainly. I was born and raised in Ipswich, my mother was only 17 years old when she had me, my father had nothing to do with me as a child so my early years was spent with my mother and living at my nana and grandad’s house in the Gainsborough area. My mother later met and married my stepfather who adopted me as well, and they had a child together giving me a sister. So I grew up in a family unit which consisted of my mum, my adopted dad and my sister. As I have said I was born and raised in this town as well as having worked and educated here. 18
Did you ever think that you would be in this position? No. (laughs a little) pretty much no. I was looking for different ways to get involved and do community work and to help the town. Being a councillor I like the way you get to work with different organisations, it seemed to be a way of using the skills that I have, so I hoped to be a councillor but I didn’t think that I would be the Mayor.
You have been a labour Councillor since 03 May 2012, can you tell me why you wanted to be in this role? I was looking for a way to give something back to the community, I’ve always been community spirited. In my younger years, in the 90’s I was a special constable for 5 years and I was looking around trying to find some way to get more involved and I happened to see an advert in the newspaper saying ‘could you be a councillor?’ and those words jumped out at me and I thought ‘yes, so what does it involve? Could I do this?’ So I went along to this meeting and there were councillors from various parties there, talking about their experiences and I listened to it and I was like ‘I could do this, I think I have got something to offer’. My natural inclination was towards the Labour Party, as my grandfather was a Labour party member and a union activist and growing up it was what I have been around and the values seemed to be something which sang out to me. So it seemed natural to join the Labour party but, I thought that I could also become a councillor as a way of contributing to my town.
I think it is brilliant that your 18 year old son is your consort, what a fabulous honour for him, can you tell me why you made that decision? Yes, certainly. I’m a divorcee and since I’ve been a councillor my son has pretty much been my plus one to different functions and events. I thought it would be an interesting way for him to see what’s involved and what goes on in civic life so when it came round to being mayor it seemed like an obvious choice to bring him along, but also it would be a great experience for him and open horizons for him to see things. But in another way, by having a younger person involved I’m hoping that it will get younger people interested in the role, they may look at that and say ‘well what does civic life involve’ and try to aspire to get involved themselves.
and I mentioned that I had depression, they saw me as a confident person, someone who can quite happily speak in front of people. But confidence is one thing, you can be in a room full of hundreds of people and still feel very alone and very isolated and a lot of people wear a mask to hide their feelings, to hide what’s happening, to hide what’s bubbling underneath. So it was a way to show that no matter who you are and how confident someone seems, everyone can be effected by depression and has to deal with these issues. So I was hoping to get people to speak up themselves. By me speaking out I wanted them to speak it out and to get help and not to keep everything bottled up inside.
How’s he dealing with it? He’s enjoying it, he had his A Levels, so for the first period of time his studies came first, that was important. But now his A Levels are finished we’re easing him into it with a few events and getting him involved but yes, he is enjoying it, he’s liking it. You are a very active campaigner for mental health awareness, can you tell me about it?
I have been open in discussing my own experiences with mental health, I suffered from depression and I found that when I was going through the counselling program and getting myself back into normal life I found writing as a way to help with the process and I found that in sharing my experience it made me realise that I wasn’t the only person who is experiencing these things, other people were, and by me sharing these experiences it was helping other people. A lot of people, when they look at me,
You have written blogs about your own experiences for the anti-stigma website, Time for Change. Can you tell me what inspired you to do so? Yes, it was about the misconceptions people have around mental health. There is still a lot of people that when somebody mentions to them that they have depression they think ‘is that a real illness?’ and then they look at them and they think ‘well just get over it, I mean come on cheer yourself up’. But there is so much more to it than that. It was a way of trying to increase understanding and make sure that people who have to struggle with the stigma are not tarnished or looked down upon because of what they are suffering and going through.
You have written some amazing pieces on your personal experiences. Can you tell me about the responses you got from: The Counselled Councillor; Depression is part of who I am but it is not all of who I am? I am very proud of some of the pieces that I have written and that is the one piece that I am most proud of. When you are in position of leadership as a civic leader, I think it is important that we lead by example, and I wanted to reach out to people and tell them that there is no shame in feeling these feelings and for you to get help as it is available. I have had a great response and I have had lots of people come up to me telling me that from reading my piece it has inspired them to seek out help, to move forward and also I had other people say that it has given them an understanding of people they know who are suffering with depression, like if their partner was going through it they’d say that reading my piece helped them understand what their partner was going through more. So I like to think that its helping people.
I loved your piece on Depression doesn’t discriminate, can you tell me more about this piece? It was very much about misconceptions and Ideas and the fact that depression can affect anybody no matter what age or what background, and it was about trying to get that message through to people. Have you had any responses from what does a mental patient look like? And what type of response? I have had positive responses to that piece. People once again talking about the image that people have, the perception. Quite often when they do a piece in a magazine about mental health patients they quite often have the ‘head-clutcher’ image, and it is a certain perception out there so it’s very much about trying to break down those images and make people realise that with 1 in 4 people suffering from mental health problems, we have all been touched by it and we all know somebody who has been touched by it and it isn’t someone you see in the magazine with their head in their hands or someone who is wrapped up in a straight jacket. That’s not what it’s all about, it’s about the normal person in the room sitting opposite you who has struggled with these issues.
From reading ‘being mixed raced’ ‘am I a human Rorschach test’ and ‘Hate crime and alternative lifestyles’, it is clear that you have been on the receiving end of discrimination and hate crimes, that is horrible to actually say that in this day of age but at that time it was quite the norm. Can you tell me more about this and how this felt?
Your piece called my heart condition needed treatment to improve so did my depression, this piece highlights some of what you have struggled with. What were you hoping to achieve by writing it?
Understanding. There’s a stigma around medication as well, and as I said in the piece if you have a rash you put some cream on it, or if you are in pain you would take pain killers for it. Mental illness is an illness and there is no shame in treating that. I was on a course of anti-depressants, I also went through CBT therapy. These helped me but it’s important to find the right thing for you. We are all different people, we are all individuals and what works for me might not work for someone else so it’s important you find the right treatment and get help as it is available.
Like many people who grew up in that period of time it wasn’t easy for me at all. I did suffer from a lot of racial abuse and I have physical and internal scars from that, but very much in the same way as in my mental health writing, it is something that is just a part of my make-up. Yes it’s something that I went through, but it doesn’t define me as a person or who I am. The Rorschach test is that ink blot test that asks when you look at it what do you see? And it’s how sometimes people project onto other people and I have found that going through life being mixed race that people have projected and mistaken me for various different things. At times when I was younger, I did get uptight about it but as I have become older and more worldly I’ve realised that there are more important things to worry about and at the end of the day I’m me, I am a human being, I’m Glen. So instead of asking me if I am this race or that race, just refer to me as Glen and that will be fine.
From what I have read from your pieces it is not surprising that you became overwhelmed to the point of being diagnosed with mental health issues. Do you still feel that cloud of doom hoovering over your head? Obviously I am in a much better place than I was 10 years ago, but with mental health when you have gone through something like that, it’s the awareness of something which is there, it’s a shadow which you are aware of. But now through the therapy that I have gone through, and the work I’ve done through writing, I’m much more able to pick up the signs, I’m much more able to know when things are becoming too much for me and what I do now is I break down what I can handle and what I can deal with, so instead of trying to do everything at once, I break it down into segments of what is manageable and that’s how I move forward. So yes I am very much aware of it and it’s something which does stay with you, but it’s about how you manage to deal with it and how you move forward.
Thank you so much for sharing your experiences with us as we do appreciate that some things are really hard to talk about but it is also good to let people know that no matter who you are whether its age, race, sex and your position in life that everybody at some point in their lives may experience being overwhelmed by life’s experiences. What would you like to say to the public about this? That’s completely right. There are times when you become overwhelmed and there are times when it becomes too much for you but you are not alone in this world, there are people there who are there to help you. If you can’t talk to family members reach out to an organisation like Time for Change or Suffolk Mind. Make sure you don’t suffer in silence and make sure you do speak out and get help.
You can follow Glen chisholm on Facebook ‘Mayor of Ipswich Suffolk’ and on Twitter Glen Chisholm@glenchisholm 23
Stepping Stones Supported Housing
Alternative to Admission and Respite Beds. We provide a supportive and safe environment within the community helping people develop their personal and social skills.
For more information please contact us on Freephone: 0800 133 7355 Telephone: 01473 487373 info@SteppingStonesCommunity.com
in the provision of Council or Housing Association accommodation, but increasingly, this option is becoming less viable due to scarcer resources and people are therefore ‘missing the boat’.
Foundation The Stone Foundation has been officially registered as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Elaine Thomas, who currently works for Stepping Stones as the Business Development Manager, has been spending most of her time developing the Charity, and is absolutely delighted at the news she received today from the Charity Commission. She says:
“It’s been a huge challenge as this is something I haven’t ever tackled before, and it’s been a very long time coming - so I am over the moon! Now the real work in finalising the Business Plan, seeking funding and putting the theory into practice is about to begin in earnest!” The charity’s aim is to provide accommodation with tenancy support for people who are vulnerable and in financial hardship. The idea stems from the need to find suitable accommodation for people who are ready to move on from supported housing. Historically, supported housing tenants have been given
“People reach a point in their recovery during their stay in supported housing when they feel ready to move into a more independent setting; if they are not able to move at that time, their recovery may be impeded. It is therefore important that the right accommodation can be found at the right time”. With this in mind, the Charity will aim to work with property owners, landlords and local authorities with a view to acquiring accommodation in the private sector on a full tenancy management basis. These properties will be let to vulnerable people who will be supported in a way that encourages them to stick to their obligations as a tenant – pay their rent, keep the property ‘in a tenant like manner’ etc. Rent deposit guarantees will be provided so that landlords will not lose out on either rental income or have to make good any damage to the property. The charity currently has 8 willing men and women who have agreed to be trustees, but we need more (up to 12 in total). We really need people who are landlords/have experience of private sector rentals, people with a good knowledge of benefits and people who have experience of accessing funding.
please contact Elaine Thomas on
0800 1337 355/01473 487373 Elaine.Thomas@SteppingStonesCommunity.com
Who are Community4cre? Community4rce is an innovative, empowering and dynamic not-for profit organisation based in Suffolk. They work on building and strengthening communities and ultimately make changes for the better by engaging with, and responding to, the needs of Young People, Families and the Local Communitys. Their aim is to Reach, Relate, Challenge and Empower, young people and those facing disadvantage within the community.
Hereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s what Director/Tutor Rodney Hurd had to say - we enhance targeted students learning and development experiences. We develop training programmes and activities, which build upon existing experiences to inform decision-making and make a positive contribution in the lives of people within the local community.
We use our extensive experience and expertise of working in schools and voluntary and statutory sectors delivering training and services to both young people and adult professionals. Community4rce staff are fully qualified in Youth and Community work and undergo enhanced DBS checks and have regular training/self-development sessions.
So what is the driving force behind community4rce? I think for me it’s because of my own experiences from my time I had at school. There was a point where I needed to tell somebody that my life was falling apart and it was something that I felt ashamed of. I had 4 brothers (one that used to box for England) so I always felt that I had to uphold an image a reputation, I used to be very insecure and I really needed someone to take notice of me and realise that something wasn’t right. I wanted a teacher to look at me and say ‘look Rodney, you’re a nice guy, you do well in your lessons and do really well in sports but I need you to tell me what is troubling you and if you do tell me what it is I will do what I can to change things and I will make it alright’ well in my head that was the fantasy and in this fantasy I would be taken to one side and the moment
would be just right and I would have the courage to say ‘look my life is really falling apart and it’s something I feel very, very ashamed of, I need to share that with you’ I decided that I would create that moment by getting attention. So I would go to school drunk, I would blow up electrical plug sockets, I would refused to cooperate, I was mad. But there were days and times where I would feel ok, in some of the lessons I would be perfect. I would do really well on those days. But I still needed that perfect moment, to make that connection with a teacher so that, that part of me could and would say yes this is it I can tell you what is going on. It never happened and in the end I ended up getting expelled at around 14 and my life went off the rails for a while. I got myself involved with a church which ended up being a cult. I got myself out of that situation but because of my experience with the church I found myself wanting to work with vulnerable young people.
Role playing helps their learning process and encourages cooperation and understanding with team mates.
Rodney Hurd, giving briefing on the next Team Building Activity.
Richie – Support key worker and trainee counsellor - We receive a lot of young people who are considered challenging and disruptive, instead of suspending and expelling pupils schools ask us to take them on. We work on what is going on and help them in a way that meets their needs, unfortunately personal life situations i.e. the people they hang out with, home life etc. … can impede on what we do and we have no way of controlling those situations but what we offer is a safe and helpful way to cope with their life situations and to progress in their school life. The students we have in are kinaesthetic learners, they find it difficult to sit and learn from text books or to listen to lectures, they need to carry out physical activities, use real life examples, have hands on experiences and be able to talk and compare to take in what is being taught.
I was working with young people at the YMCA doing Life skills Training, but it never felt like we were doing enough, we were ticking all the right boxes but I felt something was missing I felt that we weren’t doing enough. I thought it would be a good idea to start a youth club in the evenings and I was willing to “The problem I have found with do this in my own time without incurring labelling people is when you sit down any cost to the YMCA, I wanted to do and get to the nature of what is the something that would help build driving force of that person, the label is relationships with people, give us an far removed from what you get in a file. options to relate and develop. Make Though labels are necessary to get a connection for people so that they people the help that they need but it would have an option to be able to talk does not give you a true picture of who about what was going on in their lives. or what is happening to that person” I wanted to enhance what we were delivering in the daytime with things we could do in the evenings, I just wanted to do so much more. Unfortunately they didn’t feel the same way and I had to leave as for what I was doing with for people was not enough, for me. I felt Young people need more and I wanted to give that to them. It wasn’t enough to just tick the boxes I wanted to reach out. I was eventually approached by schools and the local council to help them and Community4rce was born and we have been developing and growing ever since. 28
‘Putting ‘Heart and Passion’ into serving, improving and developing relationships within our local community’
For more information on community4rce and their services check out their website
New Reason, New Thinking There is an old joke my father used to tell, about a man who wanted a talking budgie. The joke is a long one, and Dad used to enjoy stretching it out as long as he could. However to shorten it a bit for you; the man went to a pet shop and bought a budgie and a cage, and was promised that it could talk. Each week the man came back to complain that the bird wasn’t talking, and the shop keeper would ask if the bird had certain things like a bell, a mirror, a perch or a ladder and so going on for as long as Dad could think of extras. Finally, at the end of the joke the man comes back to report that the Budgie had died, and the shop keeper enquires whether the bird had spoken before his demise. The man replies yes, he said “hasn’t that bloody shop got any food!”
Recently when I was thinking about services and how frequently things don’t make any sense, outcome measures and even new “models” of care such as recovery, are becoming the mirrors, bells, ladders and perches
of our systems. Meanwhile the people that we aim to help, and their families, are out there struggling with painful experiences, difficult feelings, traumas and emotional pain, and they are just like the budgie. Unable to speak and crying out to be cared for in the most basic, but most important and fundamental ways. The way things work today, it is possible to imagine the following scenario, which is much like the joke; A worker struggling under the weight of many demands, goes to supervision and says “I don’t understand what is wrong with this person, all the key performance indicators (KPI’s) are ticked, he has an assessment, a care plan and a risk assessment. I have had a professionals meeting and a CPA review. I have referred them on to services in the community and I have reviewed their case in our multidisciplinary meetings. I don’t know what else to do!” And the supervisor asks, “Have you ever met the client?” and the worker replies “no I haven’t had time.”
I was introduced this week to a campaign that is attracting attention across the UK and such is the campaign’s high profile that it has been referred to in a speech by Jeremy Hunt, and mentioned in government papers. The campaign is led by Kate Granger and is called “Hello My Name is……..” Kate is a doctor who is terminally ill. Her experience when receiving care herself, was that compassion and basic human interactions were not happening. This was to the extent that she was surprised how many staff didn’t even introduce themselves to her. As a reaction to this she started the campaign to encourage people to start all interactions with this common courtesy. Kate hopes that workers remembering to introduce themselves may be the beginning of a conversation that creates a more compassionate interaction. What is particularly interesting about this campaign, has been the reaction to it and what this might tell us about where we are in our caring services now.
The campaign appears to have struck a chord with so many people, from patients, staff, carers, managers, politicians, celebrities and the general public. This is clearly because people realise and acknowledge that it speaks to truth. Truth about what we would want when we are in need of care, or what we would expect for our loved ones. The truth is that this is often lacking from the care we currently receive. What I am really curious about is why are we in this place, a place where we need a campaign to focus our attention on something so basic and fundamental? And if that is missing what other, perhaps more significant aspects of care are neglected and why? Maybe saying hello my name is ……..is just a crumb from the loaf of bread that our budgie needs. Every difficulty and problem we face as human beings, challenges our emotional and psychological world. How it does and to what extent will be unique to every person on the planet.
That is what makes the role of helper so special, so interesting and requiring of such careful thought, kindness, compassion, and honesty. Most of all the ability to listen, to listen some more and then to really listen. Listening not just to words spoken, but to those unsaid, to the relationship between the words and the actions. This is the true art of our work, and this is the food that feeds recovery. So why is this so often missing and not valued, nurtured or even mentioned in day to day practice? Could it be that for people to feed others the giver must too be fed, or have food to give. Are the bells, mirrors, ladders and perches of our systems starving our staff of the space and nourishment they need, so much so that their malnourishment means that they can’t even say hello my name is…..? Providing real care requires people to care, and to have an acknowledgement that whatever the problem, people’s emotional and psychological world is
challenged or threatened. We know that healing can take place more quickly and successfully if this is acknowledged, and carers have the time and skill to engage in simple and skilful responses to how people are feeling. Is it possible that we all need to rethink a culture that doesn’t allow time, or doesn’t appear to value and seemingly takes for granted the human interactions that need to be at the heart of all that we do. Is it possible that we need to strip away the mirrors, perches, ladders and bells, and focus on the person and their story, their wishes and the help that they need. To do this by nourishing staff, giving them the care and consideration that enables them to fully engage in the relationships that truly help others. If we begin to create cultures where care is respected and valued above targets. Where listening to people, and responding to them with a focus on them feeling helped, is more important than a box to be ticked, perhaps then real outcomes, better outcomes and more permanent outcomes will naturally follow. Perhaps then our budgies might sing, break free from their cages and fly!
TRAINING DAYS Enhancing Skills Building Confidence
Improving Outcomes September 30th – Raising Awareness October 14th – Helping People in Cluttered Homes October 28th – Working with Self-Injury November 11th – Working with Voices November 25th – New Thinking and New Practice for the 21st Century The Costs;
For more information contact us:
Each day costs £50 plus VAT. If you are interested in a group booking we can create training that is designed specifically around your Teams, the price for this is £250 plus VAT for half a day, £400 plus VAT for a full day.
Stepping Stones Central Services, Sproughton House, Sproughton, Ipswich IP8 3AP
0800 133 7355 or 01473 487373 info@SteppingStonesCommunity.com
L U F P L E S H T C A T N CO
General enquiries: 01603 421 421
Drug & Alcohol Recovery HELPLINES Adults 0300 7900 227 under 18 (Suffolk) 0808 800 0003 Under 18 (Norfolk) 0800 970 4866
Tel: 020 8215 2356
TEl: 0808 802 5544
Emotional support If you would like to offload or talk to someone about your problems, then you may find an emotional support line useful: 34
Tel: 0845 767 8000
The Road Not Taken Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveler, long I stood And looked down one as far as I could To where it bent in the undergrowth; Then took the other, as just as fair, And having perhaps the better claim, Because it was grassy and wanted wear; Though as for that the passing there Had worn them really about the same, And both that morning equally lay In leaves no step had trodden black. Oh, I kept the first for another day! Yet knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back. I shall be telling this with a sigh Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and Iâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference. By Robert Frost
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Our Training Room facilitates a 4 x 3 meters screen full HD 1080P projector with HDMI, DVI and VGA inputs.
For more information contact us: Stepping Stones Central Services, Sproughton House, Sproughton, Ipswich IP8 3AP
0800 133 7355 or 01473 487373 info@SteppingStonesCommunity.com www.SteppingStonesCommunity.com