Friday 3rd April 2020

It’s Friday!


For those of you who have had to stop work completely or whose normal routines have been flattened, its still important to register the flow of the week and build structure to help achieve things, keep on track and stay positive. 


And we are her to help with that, continuing to offer support and encouragement to you and yours. 


Please get in touch via phone, Facebook or twitter if you want to talk, get some advice or share what’s going on for you at the moment. Let’s stay connected, build friendships and help one another now, and as we get through and past this, together.  And even though we are keeping a physical distance, we still have lots going on, and can still talk to each other:

Twitter: 

@HartlepoolMind

 

Facebook:     

Hartlepool and East Durham Mind

Mindskills Recovery College

 

Telephone:    

01429 2693030 - to leave a message for anyone

07377 140 141 - if you need to speak to us now

 

If you are making a referral to us, please use the email address This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

If things are very difficult, then click the “need urgent help” button above, to get relevant advice and numbers.

Topic for Today - Building Optimism

 

So, it may seem like a strange thing to be talking about when there is so much bad news.  All of us, in one way or another, are coming to terms with a whole range of problems, issues and challenges, some new, some from before the COVID19 outbreak.

 

However, if we don’t have some positive strategies for trying to deal with this, we can end up focusing entirely on the negative and those feelings can overwhelm us.  Once overwhelmed it can be very difficult to climb out and get back on a level, and once overwhelmed it can be harder to use the strategies we are going to suggest.

We might see optimism - hope - as a tonic.  A way to guard against the dark days and help keep us connected.

 

So please do try to introduce one or two of these suggestions now.  And let us know how you get on with them, and if you have found any other techniques that work for you.

 

Daily Gratitude’s (Short & Sweet)

 

We are going to suggest you do this at the end of each day, maybe just before bed.  But you can fit it into your day at whatever point works for you.  It is very simple.  All you need to do is write down three things that you are grateful for that you have experienced in that day.

 

In asking here, people are grateful for all kinds of weird and wonderful things; hot cup of tea first thing in the morning, seeing the new buds coming out for spring, the way their dog is always pleased to see them, a call from a friend, being able to help someone with a particular problem.

 

It really doesn’t matter what anyone else writes, it is all about you taking your attention to the things that make your life a little better, help you get through, are special or make you smile.  This small task, when repeated daily, is proved to really build peoples appreciation of their lives and help us all to feel more optimistic.

 

Give it a try, it works best if you do it every day, but it only takes a few minutes!

 

Gratitude Journal

 

This one may take a little longer to complete, but again, you can build it into your day however is best for you.

You need to find a small writing book or just fold some paper together to make your own book

It can be lovely to take some time to decorate it or to add some special quotes to it.  This can work to inspire you and make it more precious.

 

Then you can get to work.

 

You can write in it as many times a day as you want, but maybe set a basic plan to get you going, try once a day or even once a week. 

Record your thoughts about lovely things you have seen or talked about. 

Add quotes, poems, pictures and photographs.  Make lists of your favourite food, best places to visit when we are can all go out again, favourite books and films and maybe list the ones you want to read and watch when you can.

 

Remember back to when you were younger if you have any special and lovely memories, write those down, and if you want, when you are ready, you could share them with others.

 

It is your journal, you can’t get it wrong, you can only get it right!

 

PositiveNewsUK (Easy - no brainer)

 

This is a news feed on Twitter, and web site, that shares good news stories in the world - well worth a read to boost your spirits and encourage optimism and hope.

 

Random Acts of Kindness

 

This is a fantastic movement, created to help spread love and kindness in the world as well as recognising that in doing something kind for others, we also benefit.  Now we may be limited during lock down but that just means we need a little more imagination.  Leaving a flower on a neighbours step, writing a happy message in chalk on the pavement, sending a special text or email to someone to say what you like and appreciate about them, making a small contribution to a just giving page of a stranger, clapping for the NHS and key staff.  We can do this!

 

Things to avoid..

This next bit is more about avoiding the things that can make us extra sad or negatively affect us:

Try to limit your time on news and social media if it is overwhelmingly bad news or sad stories

Avoid long conversations with people who are only dwelling on what is wrong in the world - or at least try and turn the conversation to the more positive

Sad books and films can be touching, but too many can lower our mood - sprinkle in some up beat stuff (we recommend Paddington!)

Ok, well those are our thoughts for today, take care, stay safe, well, kind, creative and connected!

 

Don’t go out if we don’t absolutely need to (i.e. for food basics), keep a safe distance (2 meters) from the other people around us. Keep smiling, waving and talking. Wash hands and avoid touching faces when out and about. 

Anything we can do to stop and slow the virus is keeping more of us safe and literally saving lives. 

If you have symptoms, stay inside and contact 111 or the website to get more advice.

 

Look forward to speaking again soon (Monday we will be looking at how to talk to each other when we are sad or distressed)

 

Topic for Today - Dealing with Arguments

 

 Arguments and difficulties can happen at the best of times and in the best of conditions - well these are very challenging times so we can maybe expect more trouble and arguments to break out.  Please remember, this is normal, happens in every house and is part of finding ways to learn and develop together.  That said, they are often still difficult and upsetting.

So what can we do to:

 

1. Avoid big bust ups?

 

Think about regular flash points; meal times, bed time, when you have to say no!

 

Start a conversation with those involved, even small children are able to talk and share, to find solutions:

 

“I’ve noticed this causes a problem, what can we do to get round or avoid it?”

With children and young people

Good behaviour is rewarded

Not doing what was agreed would result in a withdrawal of certain privileges or treats

With adults, it is about trust and trying to do your best, together

 

Remember to include everyone in deciding the consequences - that way the individual might feel that it is fairer as they were part of the decision

But follow through on what is decided - consistency is very important

 

Remember this is about poor or not nice behaviour, we all get it wrong sometimes and can do and say awful things.  So, try to call out the behaviour, not the person - that wasn’t kind rather than you aren’t kind!  Encouragement generally works a lot better than heavy criticism and name calling!

 

2. Deal with arguments if they are happening right here right now

 

Ok, so the screaming and shouting is in full flow, what can you do?

 

Can we suggest separation - this can be hard during lock down, but different rooms to get people to calm down? 

Calm down time needs to be at least 20 mins for people to get their bodies and minds in a manageable state - for some it may take longer (don’t talk about the problem during that calm down time, it defeats the object)

 

Another option could be distraction - come and do this, look your favourite programme is on, I’m trying to find something can you help me? Nothing good comes out of a screaming match so try calm it down as quickly as possible.

 

Once calm is restored you can then go to the suggestions above, and talk about why that situation happened and how it can be avoided in the future.

 

Ground rules are important in any home, and respect for the space and time we all need, so keep that in mind and maybe review what’s happening right now to see if someone is needing a little extra help or support.  Talk, share, plan, try and review…. And celebrate even small wins so one less argument a day is a result!

 

 

There are also some other great support organisations across Hartlepool, if you could do with talking to someone and getting a little extra help and support.

Take a look at Changing Futures North East site

https://www.changingfuturesne.co.uk

They have lots of resources and support and if you feel you could also help others they are always looking for volunteers.

 

You could also look at Families First North East website

https://familiesfirstne.co.uk/

If your family includes children with special needs or disabilities

 

But do remember that during Lock Down your and your families safety stays a priority - you do not need permission to protect yourself or help protect someone else. 

If you are in danger of harm, please get to a safe place as soon as you can, or call 999.

 

Ok, well those are our thoughts for today, take care, stay safe, well, kind, creative and connected!

 

Don’t go out if we don’t absolutely need to (i.e. for food basics), keep a safe distance (2 meters) from the other people around us. Keep smiling, waving and talking. Wash hands and avoid touching faces when out and about. 

Anything we can do to stop and slow the virus is keeping more of us safe and literally saving lives. 

If you have symptoms, stay inside and contact 111 or the website to get more advice.

 

Look forward to speaking again soon (Tomorrow we will be talking about building optimism!)

 

See you soon

 

Topic for Today - Safety Planning

 

 At any time in our lives things can go badly wrong, something can happen and it feels as though the bottom has fallen out of our world. A relationship can end, a job can be lost, a family rift or the loss of someone important.  Sadly, sometimes more than one of these things can happen at the same time and we can be overwhelmed.  Sometimes the problem isn’t one big thing, it can be lots of little things that seem to gang up on us, making life very difficult.

 

This can lead us to feeling pretty bad, distressed and anxious and this can be accompanied by a lot of negative thinking about ourselves and our importance in the world.

 

 The first thing to say is that, no matter what, you are important and valued and we want to be by your side if you are struggling now or in the future.

 

You can do this on your own or in a group with others to help and support you (maybe a zoom get together?). 

 

The plan is intended to help us all remember all the good things about ourselves, others and our lives so that if things get tough, we can take a look, and it will help us through.  Safety Planning has now been recommended for all NHS staff, so in creating one, you know you are in good company.  

 

A Safety Plan includes:

Asking yourself the questions:

If things are feeling bad how can I get through it right now?

How can I make my situation safer?

What things can I do to lift or calm my mood?

What can I do to distract myself from these feelings and thoughts?

Which people do I have and know to support me?

Who are the people I can talk to if I am feeling really bad and even thinking about harming myself?

Which are the professional services providing support?

 

Now that might seem a little vague and unclear, so we have filled a couple in to give you an idea of how it might work for you

This is Kathy’s plan (all the names are changed)

If things are feeling bad how can I get through it right now?

As long as I’m not at risk from anyone else then I can do some breathing exercises, maybe go and make a hot cup of tea and step out into the fresh air

How can I make my situation safer?

I can change rooms, call a friend or send an email to talk about how I am feeling and see if I can help anyone else at the minute  

What things can I do to lift or calm my mood?

I can listen to some music (I am going to make a happy playlist for when I feel upset)

I can get up and dance (no-one can see me if I’m in the kitchen)

I can do some breathing exercises - use youtube breathing bubble exercise!

I can write about how I am feeling and then put ideas for what I can do to help next to those feelings - I can use my new writing journal for that

I can think about my family - I am attaching silly photos of them to this plan as well as some notes and pictures they have sent me over the years

What can I do to distract myself from these feelings and thoughts?

Put the TV on - not news, something funny

I can watch my favorite film

I can clean the bathroom

I can make a cake for someone

I can call someone who is on their own to check if they are ok

I can do some exercise

Which people do I have and know to support me? I’m going to add all of their phone numbers and email addresses in a minute so its easier to call, text or email them if I need to

My friend Georgia

My neighbor Paul

My friends in our local shed group

My sister Helen

My son Tom

My doctor - Dr Jeffries

List the people I can talk to if I am feeling really bad and even thinking about harming myself?

My friend Georgia

Hartlepool & East Durham Mind

The Samaritans

 

This is Kenny’s plan (names also changed):

If things are feeling bad how can I get through it right now?

Do something practical make a cup of tea or take the dog for a walk

How can I make my situation safer?

Get in touch with some friends or my mam and dad - they help me get things in perspective and help make me laugh

What things can I do to lift or calm my mood?

Take the dog for a walk or go for a run, if I’m not well enough for that I could do some mind-full meditation to help calm me down and be able to direct my thoughts better

What can I do to distract myself from these feelings and thoughts?

Read the news paper sports section, I don’t bet but I can mark out who I think will win, do scores and the like and that takes my mind off more negative things

Which people do I have and know to support me?

My mam and dad

The lads from my football club

This isn’t many people - I should maybe think about making a few more friends, I’m going to try to do something about that - look for things going on in my area

List the people I can talk to if I am feeling really bad and even thinking about harming myself?

My mam and dad

Hartlepool and East Durham Mind

The Samaritans

List the professional services providing support?

If I’m worried about hurting myself or anyone else, or if I’ve done anything about that, then I need to call 999 or go direct to Accident & Emergency

 

Why not use this opportunity to make your plan as beautiful as possible, add pictures and photographs, stories about yourself and life, mementos of lovely things you have done and plans for the things you will do in the future?  And if you think some sections are a little empty maybe look at what other support is out there that you can join in to. Go to our Facebook page to get more information on groups and activities to be part of

 

You can find out more and access other resources by following this link: https://www.stayingsafe.net/making_plan_with_jb

 

Please remember that during Lock Down your personal safety stays a priority - you do not need permission to protect yourself or help protect someone else. 

If you are in danger from yourself or anyone, please get to a safe place as soon as you can, or call 999.

 

Ok, well those are our thoughts for today, take care, stay safe, well, kind, creative and connected!

 

Don’t go out if we don’t absolutely need to (i.e. for food basics), keep a safe distance (2 meters) from the other people around us. Keep smiling, waving and talking. Wash hands and avoid touching faces when out and about. 

Anything we can do to stop and slow the virus is keeping more of us safe and literally saving lives. 

If you have symptoms, stay inside and contact 111 or the website to get more advice.

 

Look forward to speaking again soon (Tomorrow we will be talking about dealing with arguments)

Topic for Today - Relationships

 

If we have to be apart (from adults, children and babies)

 

Today we want to talk about when we have to be apart.

 

To stay safe, to slow and stop this virus, we are having to create physical distance between ourselves and others.  This is hard.  As the lock down continues there will be some very difficult days, days when we are apart from those we love most, and in some cases, parted from them while we, or they, are ill.

 

Feeling sad, crying, feeling lost and alone are all completely normal.  We are human, under normal conditions it is our job to be together and care for one another.  But, these are not normal times, and so for now, we must work out the best possible ways to do this while we are living in different homes.

 

So, can we make a few suggestions that might help:

 

  • Use technology - use your phone, use social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp, etc.) and stay in touch with the people that mean most.

 

  • Share information - about what you are doing each day and on your plans and how you are feeling - if you can, share photos so you can see each other and what is happening.  Maybe think of it as a sharing diary.  Staying involved in each other’s lives will help us all transition when we can come back together again.  It also lessens the feelings of grief that can come when we miss others deeply.

 

  • Create special time - maybe a regular slot every day or week, to sit down and have a conversation, maybe by phone, facetime, zoom or some other app.  Build it into your routine and know that you have that to look forward to.

 

  • Share with each other what you love and appreciate most - Tell them how you miss reading in bed together on a Sunday morning or reading them a bedtime story as you tuck them in, meeting at your favourite coffee shop for a cinnamon bun, watching TV together, their smile, their laugh, sharing the last chocolate biscuit. 

 

  • Do what you can - make something, send something, plan a funny surprise!  Think about what you can do now to make that other person or group or family, smile. Music, dance, a letter or picture can say so much, and go a long way to bridge the physical gap between us.

 

  • Make some plans for when this is all over - what will the top three things you do together be?

 

We want to mention those of you who are apart from tiny children.   Babies will be born that you can’t go to see or hug right now.  This will be heart breaking, but we are doing this to keep them and others safe.  You can still create and build connection with tiny ones.  Babies recognise voices even when they are too young to see properly, so take time and talk.  Phones can be put on loud speaker, babies can be held while you facetime, and you can talk right to them.  What about reading them a story from a distance? you can still be there for bedtime, or what about a morning nursery rhyme time when you can sing together? - we just all need to get a little more creative

  

Ok, well those are our thoughts for today, take care, stay safe, well, kind, creative and connected!

 

Don’t go out if we don’t absolutely need to (i.e. for food basics), keep a safe distance (2 meters) from the other people around us. Keep smiling, waving and talking. Wash hands and avoid touching faces when out and about. 

Anything we can do to stop and slow the virus is keeping more of us safe and literally saving lives. 

If you have symptoms, stay inside and contact 111 or the website to get more advice.

 

Look forward to speaking again soon (Tomorrow we will be talking about Safety Planning)

 

 

We are starting the second week of lock down. To any one struggling please get in touch via phone, Facebook or Twitter.  There are loads of us here, and all around you, wanting to stay connected and help one another now, and going forward.  

 

And even though we are keeping a physical distance, we still have lots going on, and can still talk to each other:

Twitter: 

@HartlepoolMind

 

Facebook:     

Hartlepool and East Durham Mind

Mindskills Recovery College

 

Telephone:    

01429 2693030 - to leave a message for anyone

07377 140 141 - if you need to speak to us now

 

If you are making a referral to us, please use the email address This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

If things are very difficult, then click the “need urgent help” button above, to get relevant advice and numbers.

 

Relationships (if we are in the same home)

So today we want to mention relationships.  For some people lock down means being inside together for a long time.  Now, whether we are the happiest of families or not, this is going to be difficult! There may be times, because we are unwell, tired or worried, when it feels too much.  

 

Can we make a few suggestions to try and help us all through this:

 

  • Agree some ground rules - what will help you as a family or group of friends or house mates get through this. Privacy, quiet times, how to handle disagreements, sharing responsibilities? These might be some of the things we should all be talking about and setting out some ways of dealing with them.

 

  • Build a routine - activities, rests, time alone, time to share, eating, cleaning, caring. It doesn’t have to be a minute by minute set of instructions, and it may need to change regularly, but some form of routine helps us feel secure, helps us get through our day and can give us a sense of achievement

 

  • Focus on the Positive - maybe spend some time each day letting each other know what we appreciate about each other and our lives right now - this can really help us feel valued and keep our spirits up 
  • Do something kind together or for each other - maybe focus on something you can do for your house, your neighbour or your street. Connecting with others and helping them, helps us.  So, if you can help by getting someone else their shopping, sharing something you don’t need anymore, or drawing kind messages and rainbows on the pavement, then let’s give it a crack!

 

You might like to look at the gottman institute for some great advice for couples and parents, around building and maintaining healthy relationships.

https://www.gottman.com

 

Ok, well those are our thoughts for today, take care, stay safe and remember to help one another safely!

 

Let’s double down on all our safe practices, don’t go out if we don’t absolutely need to (i.e. for food basics), keep a safe distance (2 meters) from the other people around us, but remember this does not mean we can’t smile, wave and speak.  Wash our hands regularly (as seen on TV, and for at least two cycles of Happy Birthday) and avoid touching our faces when out and about.  Anything we can do to stop and slow the virus is keeping more of us safe and literally saving lives.  If you have symptoms, stay inside and contact 111 or the website to get more advice.

 

Look forward to speaking again soon (Tomorrow we will be talking about maintaining and building relationships when we are apart)

Hi everyone - well I think we are sort of getting used to the new resections.  I know they will be very difficult for some but we know we are all doing it to help each other and to keep each other safe.  We are also hoping to reduce pressure on our NHS and core staff so that is also important!


We hope you are all managing to get what you need while still remembering to go nowhere if you have symptoms and to wash your hands regularly, avoid touching your face when out and about and keep a safe distance from other people.


But physical distance doesn't mean friendships, relationships, neighbourliness and kindness to strangers can't continue - it definitely can.  Lets all remember to to keep connecting in every way possible.  Even a smile and a wave can go a long way to helping each other.


One thing we did want to mention today is the importance of building some structure into your day, if you haven't already.


Maybe decide on a wake up, time to be dressed and ready by, maybe a time to go for a short walk if you can as well as a few small tasks to complete - write them down so you can have the satisfaction of crossing them off!

Then see if there are other things you can join in on, friendship calls to others perhaps, and if you are digital there's some great stuff on line.  Go to our Facebook page to access lots of other resources and activities.


Remember, you are not alone and we can all get through this together.

Hello everyone - we hope you are keeping well and staying indoors.  The more of us who can stay in, and avoid spreading the virus, the more lives will be saved and the sooner we will be able to come back out again!  

We are all in this together and we are all needed to help one another through it.  


As circulating on Twitter, please remember, we can still phone friends and relatives, we can still smile and wave through windows, send texts and emails, do facetime and zoom, we can still play music, sing and dance, play games and even write letters (for those of us who are more old school).  I'm personally going to get my paints out!


But it is normal to be worried and even afraid sometimes, that is completely understandable, so stay with us and let's see if we can offer some help and go together in the right direction.


If you are in immediate danger and frightened for you own life or that of someone close to you please call emergency services on 999 or go directly to your local Accident & Emergency unit


If you need someone to talk to urgently then please talk to a reliable friend or family member of call the Samaritans on 116 123


If you are very anxious and worried at this minute, you can try this link


This is a breathing exercise to help you to calm and get all your normal thought processes back in play - once you are calmer we can look at other ideas for the next hours and days ahead

It can be really difficult to use this if you are very upset but try, and remember to build it into your daily plan going forward, and you will find it really helps when there is a problem

 

Can we also direct you to the H&ED Mind's "Mindskills Recovery College" on Facebook - this has loads of great resources, there's bound to be something that will work for you.

 

If you would like to talk to someone or think you could help others through this difficult time then please use our contact form to let us know and we will be in touch as soon as possible.  But please be patient, as you know, things are pretty busy right now and our team, staff and volunteers, are working flat out to make sure no one is left alone in this.

 

And while you are waiting why not connect to us through Facebook (Hartlepool and East Durham Mind and Mindskills Recovery College) or Twitter (@Hartlepoolmind) - we would be delighted to connect!

 

And last thing to say - if you haven't connected with your neighbours then please reach out to them now if you can - our friends and neighbours are the front line defence against this virus and we all need to avoid using any other NHS or emergency services if we can.

 

Look forward to speaking again soon - stay in touch!

As we all keep following guidelines on self isolation for those with symptoms and in higher risk categories; washing hands, keeping hands away from face, etc. things are moving at a pace.

 

Check the site on Monday for new activities and things to get involved in but in the meant time stay safe.  Keep reaching out to people and connecting, maybe with a 6 foot gap between you in the open air or by phone, email, zoom, FaceTime - let people know you are there for them and share the many good things that we still have together.

 

Next week we will be posting more about Personal Safety Planning, which all NHS staff are already being recommended to do, but you can also find out more about this on www.stayingsafe.net (this is also a great site if you, or anyone you know, are having a very difficult time and struggling to know what to do).

We will also be posting information about what other organisations are doing that you might find helpful as well as resources if you are self isolating or may need to.

 

Also over the weekend, or at any other time, please remember to click the button at the top of this page if you find yourself needing urgent help.

 

Remember people, this is a long run, not a sprint, it is going to take a little time to get through this, so lets's pace ourselves and do some self care.  Don't spend too long watching the news, it can blind us to all the loveliness around us, and take time to smile at people and enjoy the first signs of a beautiful spring

Hi Everyone


We trust you are all trying to preserve safe personal space to avoid the spreading of the virus, remember this will slow or stop the virus and protect many people. Wash your hands and try not to touch your face when out and about, as this is a way the virus can spread to you.


That said, lets talk about what we are all trying to do to get through this:


We are working with lots of other organisations trying to patchwork a range of support for those most at risk and those most vulnerable in these challenging times.


We are currently redesigning our services to ensure everyone who needs us is able to access support in one way or another:


There will be virtual services


There will be Phone and Video contact


Some groups will be going ahead, these will mostly be small and only happen where we can preserve safe personal space (also following strict health and hygiene protocols).  However there is also opportunities for us to meet out doors (still preserving safe personal space) to go for walks, have icecream and chats and to plan other ways to stay connected!


We are also encouraging everyone to join local community WhatsApp groups to help each other in your neighbourhoods, connect to other groups offering help and support, volunteer to help if you can and do everything possible to show love and kindness (so no fighting over toilet rolls people!)


Keep an eye on our website, facebook and twitter feeds and we’ll see you soon

To all those wanting and needing us now and in the weeks to come:


Business continues but with a difference, some sessions or activities may be changed so check in by phone


But please remember, you are not alone, we will be posting ways to stay in touch and keep connected no matter where you are

Keep your eye on this site and remember to look out for friends and neighbours - they need you too


Remember to wash hands thoroughly, avoid touching your face and if you have symptoms separate yourself physically if you can, but let others know so we can make sure you are ok and have food as well as the other things you might need


Please try to follow official guidance and let’s look after each other with love and kindness