We cover the area of South East Northumberland. A population of over 155,000 people. In the last NHS survey in 2018, 12.4% of the population in Northumberland, stated they have mental health issues, (National averge is 10%). Over the last 3 years there has been an increase in suicides in Northumberland to 12.9%, which is 3% higher than the national average.
Here are a few troubled souls, who have been with Contact and through service, activities and counselling found a better path in life
A while ago, we had a young man, who was a member, ask to be a volunteer in our kitchen. He felt he could work one day a week, so he chose a Friday. He asked to work in the kitchen as he liked to cook and reckoned he “could make a good brekkie”. We soon realised how good he was, as the centre soon became very busy on a Friday, as he used to make Breakfast in a bun . This included bacon, egg, sausage and sometimes black pudding. The members loved it.
Unfortunately, circumstances changed for him and he had to leave the centre. I recently managed to catch up with him and was pleased to hear, that he is much better now and renovating and recycling furniture. I have seen some of the pictures he puts on Facebook, they are amazing.
It just shows that often we despair but there is always hope, and we will work with whomever needs us. Our loss in the kitchen was a great result for our member. It is great that he still keeps in touch with us.
Several months ago Channel ITV were doing some research into people who had anxiety and mental ill-health, they rang to see if any of our members would be willing to talk to them, with a view to being filmed for a documentary. This would be a very difficult for anyone to do, but even more so for someone with anxiety, low self-esteem and low confidence, but one of our members rose to the challenge.
We arranged the appointment and worked with her to increase her confidence. The day came and she was very anxious but she managed to stay calm. She was asked by the interviewer, how having anxiety, depression and mental health problems, affect her daily life. He answer took us all by surprise, she stated "when i get up in the morning, I often wonder what use i am and why am I here? If it was not for Contact I'm not sure what I would do."
She was very emotional as was the interviewer. It became very obvious that her life was very difficult to manage on a daily basis, fundamentally negative thoughts all day, every day.
Since then she has attended our centre on a regular basis, we have provided more assistance to enable her to sort her house out and give herself the opportunity to become proud of where she lives again, increasing her confidence and self esteem.
We are proud of her.
We are hoping to be able to expand our services and provide a better service throughout the area of South East Northumberland....... Watch this space