Next to talk about their cause is 'Mind', giving us the inside story about mental health today, how they support people and how we can all play our part in caring for our loved ones too.
Q1. In a nutshell, what does Mind do?
We provide advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. We campaign to improve services, raise awareness, and promote understanding.
We believe no one should have to face a mental health problem alone. We'll listen, give you support and advice, and fight your corner.
Q2. When was it established and where do you operate? And is there a unique story about how and why it began?
Since 1946, we’ve stood side-by-side with people with mental health problems in England and Wales.
Even from the earliest days of Mind, the same fighting spirit has been in our DNA. Our first annual report, written in 1947, painted a picture of the world we were set up to create. The founders of the National Association for Mental Health – as we were known then – wanted to ‘foster a wider understanding throughout the community of the importance of mental health in all the relationships of everyday life’. They wanted to ‘spread a knowledge of the ways by which mental health may be achieved and maintained’. They wanted to ‘supply information as to existing facilities for the prevention and treatment of mental and nervous disorders.’.
Our founders, in other words, wanted to change the world in many of the same ways we do today.
1 in 4 people experience a mental health problem every year. With the cost of living increasing, and mental health services so often oversubscribed and without the funding they need, donations are supporting those of us with a mental health problem at an urgent time.
Q3. When people donate, where does their money go?
We’re working hard to ensure that everyone who experiences a mental health problem gets the support and respect that they deserve. In 2020/21, we responded to 118,000 queries from our support and information helplines, reached over 1,570,000 employees though our workplace wellbeing programmes, and supported 406,000 people through our network of over 100 local Minds across England and Wales.
We’re so proud of the work that we do, and we know that it’s only possible thanks to supporters.
Q4. What has been one of the most significant projects you've seen your work aid?
Mental health is not hidden anymore; it’s on the front pages; it’s on the political agenda; it’s spoken about by royalty. For millions of people, mental health is now something to be honest about – not ashamed of.
The Mind community has been at the heart of this transformation. Together, we’ve shown what mental health really looks like, what support makes it better, and what needs to change.
Q5. Which of the 18 Christmas Charity Card designs is your favourite?
It’s so hard to choose! But what’s not to love about some adorable dogs wrapped up as Christmas presents?!
Q6. How would you like to leave this world a better place? What is your charity’s ULTIMATE legacy?
Right now, waiting lists are far too long. People are pushed into poverty because of their mental health. The mental health system is failing racialised communities. And a generation of young people are dealing with anxiety, trauma and self-harm. The pandemic has exposed the realities of mental health support for millions.
- we’re reaffirming our commitment to fight for mental health.
- we’ll offer more mental health support for people living in poverty – increasing workplace support for people in low-paid jobs and campaigning for welfare changes so people are treated fairly and have the resources to meet their needs.
- we’ll target the injustices in the mental health system to remove shameful differences in service access and outcomes for people from racialised communities.
- we’ll work to ensure that every young person learns about mental health. We’ll join with whole school communities – from parents, to pupils, to teachers – and make sure young people are able to easily access support when they need it. Whether you want support at school, at work, in your community or through the NHS, we’ll fight to make sure help is there for you.
Q7. What can people do to play their part in helping loved ones with their mental health this Christmas?
Christmas is a hard time of year for lots of people, for many different reasons. It can make existing problems feel worse and add new ones. If you or people in your life find Christmas difficult, you can find tips for coping on our website.
A few tips for supporting your loved ones include:
- understanding that Christmas means something different to everyone
- telling them they're not alone
- listening to what they say and accepting their feelings
- asking if there are things you can start, stop or continue doing
- It’s also important that you look after yourself. Supporting someone else can be difficult. For example, you might feel sad or conflicted. It's ok to confide in someone about how this is affecting you. Your wellbeing matters too.