We won’t give up until everyone experiencing a mental health problem in Dorset gets support and respect.
Dorset Mind will raise awareness within general and specific communities about mental ill health. That’s to say we will educate people about symptoms – what they are, what to expect and how to spot them. We will educate people about what they can do when they experience symptoms either themselves or someone they know.
The charity will always challenge the stigma and equality of mental ill health so that neither stigma nor inequality prevent people receiving the information and support they need.
Dorset Mind will promote the ethos of recovery of mental ill health by educating people about recovery and by directly providing support services to specific communities to assist them in their own recovery.
How does your organisation contribute to preventing suicide and supporting those affected by it?
The battle to combat suicide informs everything we do and every service we provide. Our Chief Executive, Marianne Storey, sits on and contributes to the multi-agency Suicide Prevention Panel for Dorset.
We currently play a leading role in the 5-year Light On Campaign in Dorset, which shines the light on mental health. Light On tackles the stigma of talking about mental distress and emotional struggle – particularly among men – because 95 per cent of people who take their own lives in Dorset are male.
A network of organisations including local businesses, charities, the NHS, Public Health Dorset and Bournemouth University, have joined forces. They aim to build mental wellbeing together and put an end to men dealing with mental health difficulties alone and in the dark.
The campaign urges men to go beyond banter and talk openly about how they are feeling and whether they are coping. It aims to train champions and ambassadors to spread this message across the whole of Dorset reaching men where they work, exercise, socialise and live.
What are your current priorities?
Aside from Light On, the charity’s aims are to support hard-to-reach communities such as LGBTIQ+, people from ethnic minorities, people with eating disorders, deprived people and young people.
We plan to expand our Active Monitoring, Befriending, Counselling, Mentoring and support groups for adults across Dorset.
Dorset Mind Your Head, our Children and Young People’s division will create and establish new support groups, continue our Counselling, and our Wellbeing Check-In Service and Wellbeing programme for schools and colleges. Our Training team continue to work with businesses and individuals to deliver our bespoke training courses across Dorset to support the workplace wellbeing of a range of industries, especially those that concern men such as construction and hospitality.
What challenges are you currently facing?
The pandemic forced us to deliver the majority of our service online, but while this can be challenging it also enabled us to reach people who perhaps can’t attend in-person sessions.
As other charities, we’ve had a very difficult time over the last 15 months. We had to cancel events, training and working with corporate partners as they closed. That has had a big impact on fundraising at a time when referrals for our support doubled in some areas. We have seen some recovery, but our upward trajectory has suffered as a consequence. Thankfully we’ve stabilised, but funding is always a concern as the future is still extremely uncertain.
It’s been challenging to support the mental health difficulties of not only our clients, but also our staff.