• Women with mental health problems are not exercising because of bad experiences with P.E. at school – putting them at greater risk of poor physical, and mental, health local charity Tyneside and Northumberland Mind has warned. More than half of women (57%) do not participate in sport because they were not good at PE at school while nearly half (43%) feel it is too competitive.

    In response, Mind has today launched a new motivational website to help women with mental health problems choose a sport which is suitable for them, enabling them to take the first step and get active to improve their physical and mental wellbeing.

    Tyneside and Northumberland Mind’s Get Set to Go programme will also hold two ‘Women on Wednesday’ (WOW) events to encourage women from the local area to try some gentle activity taster sessions.
    A ramble around Saltwell Park, Gateshead on Wednesday 20th April, 2-3pm and a Multi-Activity session at The Teams Community Centre, Gateshead on Wednesday 27th April, 1.30-3.30pm.
    The aim is to reduce the barriers and stigma linked with mental health and engagement in sport and also allow women taking part to register for the project or become a peer support volunteer on Get Set to Go.

    Women with mental health problems are more likely to have physical health problems such as diabetes and heart disease so being active can be really important for looking after their physical health. Mind’s new website is part of the charity’s physical activity project, Get Set to Go, supported by Sport England and the National Lottery.

    Mind’s new website asks people to select reasons stopping them from exercising, and provides practical tips and real life stories to inspire people take the first step, and reap the benefits of an active lifestyle.

    School P.E. nightmares mean women shun exercise – putting them at risk of poor physical and mental health

    Twenty-two year old Louise was diagnosed with Generalised Anxiety Disorder in her second year of university. She started running with help from Couch to 5k after her GP encouraged her to try exercise and has found that running helps her to manage her mental health.

    “I’ve found that running has made a real difference to how I cope with my anxiety. I was very unwell last July after I finished university but running makes me feel in control of the monsters in my brain. As well as giving me more energy and increasing my fitness, being active has made me appreciate my body.

    “Running was a battle with my mind, more than my body, which is true for runners with or without mental health problems. But I’m glad that I pushed through the negative thoughts telling me to stop running as I'm so much more positive now. And fitter!”

    Women currently exercise less often than men , but want to do more physical activity , so Mind is calling on women to use the charity’s new website to help them break down the common barriers – including feeling worried about taking part by themselves and fear of crowded spaces – which stop them from getting started.

    Andrew Cowan, Get Set to Go Sports Coordinator, at Tyneside and Northumberland Mind, says: “We know that having a mental health problem can make getting active more difficult. For example, the thought of joining a running group when you have bipolar disorder, depression or OCD can stop you in your tracks – but a mental health problem doesn’t have to prevent anybody from getting active. Our new website is full of practical tips and inspirational real life stories which can help people take the first step, and reap the benefits of an active lifestyle.

    “Being active can be an enjoyable, fun and social way of looking after your physical and mental health. Lots of people tell us it is a great way to socialise and make new friends – and there is a huge number of activities people can do if they struggle with social situations or new faces,” Andrew adds.

    Through Get Set to Go, Mind aims to support 75,000 people with mental health problems to improve their lives through physical activity. The programme supports people with mental health problems become more active through eight sports projects across England. Those taking part receive one-to-one support from others with shared experiences, who understand the additional challenges a mental health problem presents to those who want to get active. Participants also get support through Mind’s safe and supportive online social network Elefriends, by swapping tips, advice and linking up with others who are just starting out.

    For more information, to find out about Get Set to Go activities at Tyneside and Northumberland Mind, visit GetSettoGo.

    To talk to other people about getting started with sport visit Mind’s social network Elefriends,

  • What is the Group?

    A 12-week group offering the opportunity to discuss key topics that will help clients in their recovery while offering a selection of tools they can use in their daily lives.


    Friday mornings, starting on Friday 29th April for 12 weeks.
    10:30am – 12:30pm
    The last session is Friday 15th July.


    Wellbeing Centre, Dunsmuir Grove, Bensham, NE8 4QL


    Kate Larkin & Clarissa Humphries


    Referrals are for Gateshead residents, aged 18+

    Examples of topics covered in the group:

    Recovery, Goal Setting & Thriving, Addictive Behaviours, Understanding our Thinking, Self Esteem & Confidence, Coping with Anxiety & Depression, Management of Mood, Resilience, Risk & Triggers, Coping with Feelings & Managing Mood, Relapse Prevention & Next Steps.


    For more information, call our office on 0191 477 4545.

  • Our inaugural Writing Grief course came to a resounding end this week, with tears, laughter and copious consumption of donuts …

    The course was devised and developed by writer Lucie Brownlee and counsellor Nicki Walker, both of whom found themselves widowed at a young age and sought solace in writing.

    Funded by the generous support of the Linden Family Trust and Tyneside and Northumberland Mind, Writing Grief began in March and ran for six weeks, during which time intimate stories of grief and loss were shared among what ultimately became a tightly-knit, mutually-supportive group of people.

    Sitting in a room for two hours with eleven ‘bereaveds’ may not sound like the most fun in the world, but as one participant put it, being together gave us all ‘permission to drop the mask’ without fear of being judged.
    Tears spilled liberally, of course, but so did laughter, (so much so that at one point we all felt like frauds, sitting there with our biscuits and our belly-laughs, wondering what on earth the people upstairs would be thinking).
    And words spilled liberally too, into our notebooks, onto flipcharts, from the pages of our favourite poetry books. Sometimes the words made us cry, sometimes they made us giggle, but often they surprised us and made us wonder at the deeply buried places whence they came.

    Sharing our words and our experiences made us all feel less alone, and we left the Centre on the final day with a vow that we would stay in touch and, best of all, that we would try to keep writing.

    The next course starts on Tuesday 26th April, at the Wellbeing Centre in Bensham and there are limited FULLY FUNDED places still available. Contact Tyneside and Northumberland Mind or email to book yours.
    Notebooks and tissues provided. Donut consumption optional…

  • One of our staff, Emma Langton, is participating in the Colour Run 2016 to raise money to fund our Safe Space group in North Tyneside.

    North Tyneside Safe Space is making a wonderful difference to the lives of many people with mental health difficulties. It helps them to make friends, reduce social isolation and develop coping strategies for their mental health problems. By donating, you will give the service users hope for the future by keeping their support group open. 

    The link to Emma's Just Giving page is below.

  • Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.” -William Wordsworth

    Commissioned by Tyneside and Northumberland Mind and funded through the Community Foundation, Writing Grief is a six-week writing course designed to help those dealing with grief.
    Devised and delivered by Nicki Walker, a fully qualified, BACP-registered counsellor and Lucie Brownlee, a professional writer and tutor, the course combines individual and group writing exercises with expert support and advice.
    Using a variety of writing modes and creative stimuli, participants will work progressively towards expressing their grief in a safe and supportive environment.
    • Individual and group writing exercises, providing the opportunity to share and discuss your grief with others who understand.
    • Space to think so you can commit real and quality time to healing.
    • Two fully-trained, professional tutors so you can be sure you are getting the best possible help and support from people who understand.
    • Learn new skills for a sense of achievement
    • Meet people in similar situation to feel less alone in your grief.
    Contact Tyneside and Northumberland Mind 0191 477 4545 for more details, or alternatively email

    About your tutors

    Nicki Walker is a member of the British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists, with a BA (hons) degree in Counselling. She is a Cruse trained Bereavement Volunteer with three years’ experience, and has also worked for the NHS as a part of her counselling training. She spent a year volunteering for the NSPCC as a School Service Volunteer, educating primary children about abuse.
    On a personal level, she has suffered a number of close bereavements, including her parents and two older siblings, and most recently in February 2014 she lost her husband of 30 years after a long struggle with cancer. She is a member of WAY (widowed and young), a bereavement support network for people who are widowed under the age of 51.
    Creative writing has been a long standing hobby, and she has used it as an effective medium for emotional release and self-development for many years.

    Lucie Brownlee is a professional writer and tutor, currently studying for a doctorate in creative writing. She lost her husband Mark suddenly in 2012; he was just 37. Lucie has since written on bereavement for many publications, including the Telegraph, the Independent on Sunday and the Mail on Sunday.

    Wife After Death, Lucie’s blog about losing Mark, won Best Personal Blog in the Blog North Awards 2013. Her memoir, Life After You, based on her first two years of young widowhood, was published in 2014 by Virgin Books. Optioned for TV in December of the same year, it is a Sunday Times bestseller and one of Richard and Judy’s Autumn Book Club picks for 2015.
    Lucie teaches creative writing both in schools and one-to-one. Last year she devised and taught ‘Memoir and Me’, a six week evening course as part of the Newcastle Centre for Literary Arts adult education programme.
    Lucie has been a member of WAY (widowed and young) and is a passionate advocate of writing as a therapeutic response to loss.

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Tyneside and Northumberland Mind, Wellbeing Centre, Dunsmuir Grove, Bensham, Gateshead NE8 4QL. Telephone: 0191 477 4545  Email: 
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Registered office: Tyneside Mind, Wellbeing Centre, Dunsmuir Grove, Bensham, Gatheshead NE8 4QL. Company Number: 7552434. Charity Number: 1140856.