• 26 September 2016

    Cheryl's Story - Get Set To Go

    Our Get Set To Go project promotes physical activity and excersise to improve mental health. It really does work! Cheryl has kindly shared her experiences with us...

    I have been involved with Tyneside & Northumberland Mind’s Get set to Go project for a few months now and it has been a great opportunity for me and others on many levels. I would really recommend it to anyone looking to explore activities of a physical nature to help improve their mental health and general wellbeing.

    You don't have to have won a gold medal and you can even have been the person at school who skipped games lessons like me, as there is a totally different and supportive environment here. Andrew, our coordinator makes sure that the fundamentals of the group are supportive relationships, having fun taking our minds off our troubles for a few hours and allowing all of us to explore and overcome our mental and physical barriers in my opinion.

    We always start off in the weekly activity group I attend, with a general wellbeing chat which is a good icebreaker to allow anyone who is unsure or new to feel welcomed as part of the group. After all, it is to show people that you do not have to be competitive or be the best at an activity; you are not going to be 'punished' if you don't do things right or not very good at the start.

    Why is the Coordinator key to all of this? Well, for me, I've joined certain groups in the past, and the leaders simply haven't made you feel welcome or that they want you there. I see this as unfortunate because if you get this gut feeling, then you are going to be deterred from going. Andrew has built up a brilliant atmosphere totally opposite to this.

    I can even remember going to one sporting group in the past and getting the feeling that unless you were 100% serious about 'winning' then it was the wrong place to be. I didn't feel that they were considering the barriers that people might be crossing to just get to the activity or the fact they might simply want to 'enjoy' the activity (This I might add, was a place where I should have been feeling okay as I just wanted to participate!).

    Andrew is aware of making sure everyone feels comfortable and that everyone has their own reasons/hurdles to beat which we all respect. He encourages mental health recovery from a fun perspective and has allowed me and other members of the group to take part in activities which I have not tried before and pushed me to achieve things I never knew I had the courage, skill or would enjoy; including a beach activity event and recently a climbing wall session at the local University!

    For me, since I started Get Set to Go I feel great! I have joined lots of mental health support groups in the past myself including a wellbeing group with Tyneside & Northumberland Mind but the personal challenge I have to overcome is risking losing the enjoyment factor entirely by putting myself under pressure and primarily my drive of perfectionism in my performance.

    In the past I have felt like I'm wasting people's time if I wasn't brilliant or had to ask things too many times and that I wasn't okay to be 'my own person', despite what appeared on the surface. So, I've approached this group as a 'fun' place where there is an understanding that everybody has their own reasons for being there and I feel safe and supported by everyone.

    I'm now working 'behind the scenes' to make sure I go home from activities trying to reduce the self-critique that I have on myself, as this is when any activity does not become enjoyable. It's the perfect environment to 'move forward' with my mental health recovery and life in general with Get Set and Go! Finally, I know I said it at the climbing session but I'm still thrilled to bits at having had a go, so thank you for organising it/giving me a place/lifts/encouragement!

    It's something I've wanted to try for years, so it was great going with a group of 'like minded' people and for me my 'challenge' is accepting I'm not top notch at it and coming away and enjoying it for what it is, not feeling a failure, and that challenge has been met.

    Your group/you do a lot of good!!! As I was so proud of my personal achievement I sent my photos from the activity straight to my best mates and they were chuffed for me. I wish Get Set to Go every success in the future!

    If you are interested in finding out a little more about our Get Set To Go project click here.

  • Our Get Set To Go project promotes physical activity and excersise to improve mental health. It really does work! June has kindly shared her experiences with us...


    "Here are a few words on my progress since I joined the Get Set to Go project. I’m not very good at putting my thoughts down on paper but here we go!

    My name is June and I am a lady of 66 years. For many years now I have suffered from Depression and Anxiety; I have a lot of ongoing pain and suffering with my legs and back, I have a tilted Pelvis and also have Arthritis in my lower Back and COPD too.

    In the past, I never did any form of exercise or walked anywhere, had no interest in anything, then my life changed when a friend { Dianna } eventually talked me round into going to the Get Set to Go weekly activity group at Tyneside and Northumberland Mind that she goes to.

    I went in to meet Andrew, have a chat and see what the group was all about, that was the first and hardest step over and many more to come. From that day until now I have never looked back, I am trying things I never thought or dreamt of doing, I have more self esteem, more confidence and I am a lot fitter.

    Within the group we play games and activities like {Table Tennis, seated Volley Ball, Curling, Air rifle target shooting and much more}. We also talk about our mental health improvements and Andrew lets us know of forthcoming activities and events to see if anyone is interested in taking part.

    Through my growing confidence and motivation, I recently helped Andrew promote the project with a stall at a local volunteer day in Gateshead by holding boxing demonstrations to encourage the public to participate and volunteer.

    This also takes me to an event I was interested in; a 16 mile Gateshead Recovery Walk, which I was told is the longest in the country! There were three of us who did it, me, Tony and Andrew so with a lot of encouragement and determination, we completed it in just over 6 hours, {it was hard, it wasn’t easy} but afterwards, I was elated and so proud of myself.

    Throughout the walk, Andrew recorded our progress and made a short documentary film to show and inspire others to take control of their own mental health recovery through physical activity.

    A short time later I tried Rock Climbing for the first time with a group of other Get Set to Go members, we all struggled at first but got there in the end through group support. Andrew has helped me immensely, building my confidence, self esteem and helping me achieve things I never thought possible.

    Before Get Set to Go, I was sitting at home becoming a vegetable, now I feel alive and have something in my life worth living for. By the way, I have also just become a Great Grandmother too!"

    You can view June's '16 mile Gateshead Recovery Walk' here, and if you are interested in finding out a little more about our Get Set To Go project click here.

  • Does anxiety or depression make you feel lost or caught in a loop?

    Do you feel left behind, that you should be further forward?

    This course will cover techniques that participants can use to help steer their way through daily life when dealing with depression, anxiety or both.

    In this small, supportive group, participants will learn wellness focused, practical techniques to help build resilience, move forward, and increase their wellbeing.

    The course will be running on Thursday mornings from the 29th of September until the 22nd December, and will be open to Gateshead residents over the age of 18.

    For more information, contact Doug Hill on T:0191 477 4545 M:07983461439 E:

  • From October we will be moving to our new location at Newcastle Carers in Byker. The centre is a lovely modern building with fabulous facilities that our group can develop & grow in.
    Our first session takes place on Tuesday 4th October from 2-4pm and will be an introduction/open day where we’d like to invite you to come along and meet our Wellbeing Workers and find out more about Safe Space and how it can support you in your mental health recovery.

    We are interested in your ideas on how we can develop the service to meet your needs and what activities you would find beneficial.

    We would love for people to come along and join us if you’re free.

    What is Safe Space?

    Safe Space has been central to our Wellbeing & Resilience services delivery throughout the region for a number of years. It is an informal group that offers essential support to adults who are experiencing problems with their mental health and emotional wellbeing. The aim of the service is to provide a supportive peer group in which people can reduce isolation, build confidence, improve their wellbeing and take positive steps towards their recovery. People can attend regularly to help build social contacts, or drop by as and when they feel the need.

    Safe Space runs from 2-4pm on a Tuesday on a fortnightly basis at Newcastle Carers, 135-139 Shields Road, Byker, Newcastle-upon-Tyne. NE6 1DN.

    For further information, please contact our office on:
    Telephone: 0191 477 4545

  • This week we bring you the first of a very special blog series. Our guest blogger will be sharing their experiences with mental health over a period of weeks. They have bravely offered to share their thoughts with us, with the aim of supporting others who may be in a similar situation or period of their life. Remember, you are not alone...

    First of all, thank you for visiting.
    I have always found writing things down very therapeutic and have done it for as long as I can remember; whether that’s through poetry, letters or a diary. I wanted to start to share my journey as I want others to realise that they are not alone and that having a mental health issue is nothing to be ashamed of. I won’t be sugar coating anything; you will read about my highs, my lows and everything in between. I want to be honest with you and show you that you can bounce back, no matter how hard it may seem.
    I started suffering with depression and anxiety after my Dad passed away when I was just 18. Looking back now, I am sure that what I was actually suffering from was PTSD, but that’s a whole other blog entry all together!
    I now spend my time trying to help others as much as I can. I know it sounds like a cliché but if I can make one person’s day a little bit easier, then I am happy. When I felt at my lowest I had nobody around me who I could talk to; I wanted to stay strong in front of my Mum as I knew that she was struggling too, and I really didn’t have many friends around me. I wish that I had somebody to talk to back then; I really believe that if I had some support I wouldn’t have ended up as low as I was. But I was a stubborn 19-year-old and thought I could manage everything by myself.
    And now I want to share my story with others…I want people to know that having a mental health issue doesn’t make you weak, it isn’t something to be embarrassed or ashamed about.
    I speak openly about what I have been through because it has made me the person I am today. I am stronger for it; I have had to fight against my own brain, thoughts and feelings for so long. I am more empathetic now than I could have ever been; I truly try to understand how someone feels and my experiences help me with that.
    I am not ashamed. I am not weak. I am not my diagnosis.
    This isn’t the start of my journey and it definitely isn’t the end. It’s a long road but one that needs to be travelled.

    Keep an eye on our blog for updates from our guest blogger. If you need someone to talk to, contact us here. We’re here to help.

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