Gareth’s award!


Plymouth social worker wins top award at national awards ceremony.   Gareth Benjamin, who works at Livewell Southwest, was named winner of the Mental Health Social Worker of the Year award at the national event which took place on Friday 24 November 2017 in London.

The judges commended Gareth on his personal approach and praised him for his strong commitment to human rights, his drive to challenge the disadvantages faced by mental health service users and his enthusiasm for learning

Gareth is an ALS student who has just successfully completed his PG Diploma Advanced Mental Health Practise at Bournemouth University.

Many congratulations Gareth!





University Mental Health Day at BU: Thursday 1st March 2018


Thursday 1 March 2018 is University Mental Health Day (UMHD). The theme this year focuses on communities and aims to empower all members of the university community to be active in supporting student mental health. SUBU and BU have put together a whole week of activities for you to get involved in.

student-minds-logo-w-o-space_2 Student Minds has identified that a lack of community is one of the challenges to student mental health. For many young people, coming to university are the first years they will be away from home and away from established family support networks.  According to the Students Minds’ website, our mental health can impact on our capacity to be involved in university life.  University can also be a place where students and staff can be supported to build communities and support networks. Communities are fundamental to our mental health and wellbeing, as they can promote:

  • A sense of belonging which leads to reduced isolation which in turn encourages positive wellbeing, improving both physical and mental health outcomes.
  • ​Networks of support, where there is signposting, promotion and partnerships with existing mental health support services both in the university and local community.SportBU is also offering activities including free gym access all week, reduced swimming memberships, pay and play sessions and free access to Group Fitness classes at both campuses
  • SUBU and BU are supporting this day by offering a week of activities, including Tai chi, craft workshops, musical events and a walk between campuses. There will also be student wellbeing drop-in session on both campuses. Check out the full programme to see what’s on offer.

Mindfulness to help children’s mental well-being in schools

Thanks to Ana for sharing this BBC news story:

Over 5,000 teachers in the UK have been trained to teach mindfulness, according to the Mindfulness Initiative, and that number is growing all the time.
It’s a meditation technique being used to help pupils improve their mental well-being.

Time to Talk Day

Thursday 2nd Feb 2017.           Conversations change lives

On Thursday 2 February, Time to Change is encouraging everyone to talk about mental health, with their Time to Talk Day.  Time to Change is a growing movement of people who are changing how we think and act about mental health.tttd_2017_web_carousel_970x450_1

Talking about mental health doesn’t need to be difficult. It can be as simple as making time to have a cup of tea or go for a walk and listening to someone talk about how they feel.

Being open about mental health and ready to listen can make a positive difference to someone’s life and this is what Time to Talk Day is all about – giving everyone the chance to talk and listen about mental health.


Frazzled Cafes: Coffee shops for Mental Illness

Ruby Wax embarks on ‘A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled’…ruby-wax-frazzled-cafe

Frazzled Cafe meetings provide a ‘talk-in’ place where people who are feeling frazzled can meet on a regular basis to talk and share their personal stories in a safe, anonymous and non-judgmental environment – a place where it’s ok, to not be ok.

A key factor in helping to overcome those feelings is knowing that we are not alone – there is no substitute for meeting face-to-face and connecting with others. This isn’t just for the one-in-four Britons who will suffer a mental illness at some point in their lives, but for the four-in-four feeling overwhelmed by the stresses of modern life.

And she talks about it on BBC Radio 4 Women’s Hour, along two women talking about their Late Diagnosis of Asperger’s:

1 in 4




1 in 4

I am a 1 in 4, a prisoner of stigma, ignorance, and more.

I’d like to talk but you’ve stolen my voice. I just try my best, there’s no other choice.

But my best is my worst, and this world is not mine

And whilst your sun is bright mine doesn’t shine.

A black cloak descends and smothers my hope

You can’t see my scars so you think I should cope

And I cannot escape from the truth of my fears, too broken and cracked to shed any tears.

Hopeless pie is off the menu for you, you’d rather eat life up chew after chew.

Let’s hope you succeed, I wish you the best, but as you consider this think of the rest.

I am a 1 in 4 a statistic you’d be ‘stark raving mad’ to ignore.


by Carolyn Atherton

(Thanks to our poet)