Mindful Summer 2015 - Flintshire County Council
The Road To Recovery
By Martin McClure
When I left college, I was lucky and found
employment as a computer programmer, a role
which I held for over fifteen years. Towards
the end of this period I started to experience
auditory hallucinations. This I feel was due to
additional stress at work and complications in
my personal life. To begin with I didn’t know
that these were hallucinations and it affected
my performance in the workplace as I thought
it was colleagues insulting me constantly. This
went on for over a year and led me to take time
off because I could not cope with how upsetting
the voices were making me feel. As time went
on I took more and more time off work and as
a result I eventually started experiencing the
same voices around my house, which is when I
finally decided to seek medical advice.
My ability to concentrate had been severely
compromised as a result of the hallucinations I
was experiencing and this, combined with the
amount of time I missed from work, resulted in
losing my job. The impact that my illness had
on my ability to function was enormous and I
found myself increasingly isolated as I could
not bring myself to mix with people or leave
the house. I began using alcohol as a form of
self-medication because every day had become
a struggle to get through. I lost interest in
looking after myself and taking care of my
home. Over time the hallucinations got worse
and I started to experience tactile hallucinations
in addition to the audible ones.
During my time at work, I had been introduced
to badminton and despite not being that good
at the sport I had found it relaxing, so my Care
Co-ordinator made a referral to Social Links. I
was scared of being involved in a group of
people to begin with and was given some one
on one sessions prior to joining the group to
build confidence. Once I started playing on a
regular basis I soon discovered that having
badminton in my week gave me something to
look forward to, no matter how tough my week
became. Through Social Links I was also
introduced to cookery courses which I really
enjoyed and I also gained enough confidence
to join the team at Double Click once a week.
Through my Care Co-ordinator I was put
forward for the coping skills group which I found
beneficial as it helped me cope better with
stressful situations. With my confidence
increasing I requested a referral to Next Steps
where I eventually decided to pursue a degree
as a full time student. To help prepare me for
this and to further my education I enrolled on
essential skills courses in both English and
Maths at Deeside College.
University has been challenging and I have
suffered setbacks with my mental health,
however, support offered by the university
combined with that offered by the mental health
team has enabled me to overcome these
problems. Attending university has been
beneficial both academically and socially, I have
made a lot of new friends who have similar
interests to myself. My confidence has also
increased and this has enabled me to take part
in a number of social activities which I would
have shied away from in the past. I am very
positive about the next two years at university
and what I will achieve following my graduation.
I owe so much to the support that I received
and although I am doing a lot better than I have
in recent years, I still feel I have a long way to
go. If it had not been for the fantastic support of
the people helping me I feel that I would have
been stuck in a rut that I could not get out of.
They helped me through what has been an
extremely difficult period of my life and I will
always be grateful for the support and
encouragement received. To everyone that
helped me achieve the steps forward that I
have made I want to say a massive thank you
to you all!
Martin is currently studying Computer Game Development at Glyndwr University
Ways To Wellbeing
Small improvements to your lifestyle can
help you feel good about yourself
Reconnect with old friends - Try Facebook or Skype. Engage in a social
activity such as the cinema or a lunch group. Speak to someone new,
arrange a day out or maybe meet up for a coffee in your local town.
Find an activity you enjoy otherwise you’re unlikely to stick to it.Exercise can be a bi-product of another activity - Walking a dog, a round of golf, gardening or walking to the shops. Otherwise perhaps you could join an
activity group such as nordic walking, badminton, bowling etc.
Of your natural surroundings. Feed the birds! Even in a built-up area you’ll be surprised at the variety of birds that come to feed. Take pleasure in their antics, learn to identify the different types. Even just putting out a
shallow dish of water will attract birds to drink and bathe.
To pace yourself. By setting small, achievable goals you’re more likely to
complete an objective. Taking on a big task can be daunting, break it down
into small steps and do a little at a time. Keep your brain active, learn a new
skill or refresh an old one.
Pass on any skills you have to someone else. Try volunteering or
become a peer-mentor, supporting someone to do something they have
wanted to do for a long time but lacked the confidence. Give up some of
your time, perhaps doing someone’s garden or just be a listening ear.
HEAR/HERE HAS LIFT OFF!
Hear/Here has grown from strength to strength
these last few months.
This new group, which has been set up by people who use
mental health support services, has had some
interesting workshops and allowed for open discussion
about provisions for mental health in Flintshire.
Our first meeting was in January. This initial
gathering gave people an opportunity to name the group
and take part in activities such as photography, creative writing and art. This workshop was well attended and received
positive feedback from participants.
Some key ideas from last meeting
Our more recent meeting focused on how the
support services work in Flintshire. Rhian Evans, Support Services Manager, gave a
thought provoking insight into how our services
work and in turn listened to your views on how
we can improve the support it delivers.
A great many ideas were put forward and sent
to Rhian for evaluation.
• Support with accessing the internet and
building computer skills
Our next meeting
• Co-location of service led groups to save
on transport costs and prevent clashing
so everyone can attend everything they
What does recovery
mean to you?
Tuesday 30th June, 10.30-12.30
Tyddyn Street Church, Mold
• Challenging activities and organising
trips/car pools with other service users,
independent of formal services.
• Utilising the skills of service users
through demonstrations and workshops
• Improve service provision on bank
• Use social media to promote the group
and improve communication
We are asking the question what is recovery and what wellness tools do you use to stay well?
We are going to hear a series of interesting, short talks from people who use services about
what helps them stay well. The talks include: History, Nature, Music, WRAP and Art.
We would also love to hear your stories, views and opinions about recovery.
Everyone is welcome!
Upcoming Dates: It was agreed that during the summer months our meetings would be better
held outdoors to make the most of the warmer weather:
Tuesday 11th August: Wepre Country Park. Meet in car park 10.30am
Tuesday 15th September: Loggerheads Country Park, Visitor Centre 10.30am
For those struggling to get to these parks, contact Jay/Alison on
Aspire is a Big Lottery funded partnership project working across Flintshire and Wrexham to
support and promote opportunities for young parents aged 14-25 years and their children. Led by
Barnardo’s Cymru, the Aspire project team consists of Flintshire Mind, Wrexham and Flintshire
Family Information Services, Careers Wales and Glyndwr University.
Research has revealed that younger parents are at risk of lower financial and educational outcomes as well as higher mental and physical health problems. It showed that this was not only
true for the parents but continued through the generations. The Aspire project has been set up to
help resolve some of this inequality and encourage young parents to ‘Aspire’ to better things for
their own wellbeing and that of their children.
The team consists of Laura Williams – Project Coordinator and Jane Smith from Barnardo’s
Cymru, Rebecca Lane - Careers Wales, Steph Walsh - Flintshire Mind and Beth Williams-Morris –
Family Information Service.
The project takes a holistic approach, providing a ‘one stop shop’ which meets individual needs.
Practical and emotional support is provided to develop parenting skills and fulfil personal potential.
Support may be provided at home or through a variety of group and social opportunities. These
elements of the project aim to encourage the development of self-esteem and confidence allowing
people the chance to try new things.
Some of the families supported are currently working with social services. Team members are able
to attend core group or review meetings and assist parents to be clear how the process will work
and what they can expect.
Multi-agency working in particular is essential. All the Aspire partners work collaboratively to ensure that young parents receive relevant support. The Family Information Service will give
accurate, expert and up-to-date information about additional services that young parents can
Aspire’s wellbeing adviser can offer one to one support around general and perinatal mental
health. There is also a volunteer peer mentor scheme. Volunteers can support young people to
build their confidence and achieve their personal goals.
If You are interested in volunteering with this project please contact Steph Walsh on 01978 315130
The Careers Wales adviser, in addition to offering conventional careers advice and support, will
explore volunteering, education, apprenticeship and training opportunities. Not all young
people have had positive experiences in education. If this has been the case it can cause a cycle
of unhelpful thoughts and it is important to halt this so that parents and their children have a strong
chance of reaching their full potential. A unique, person centred approach is vital in breaking down
The project has been running for just over a year and has achieved many positive outcomes for
young parents and their families.
‘I am now more confident but Aspire also gives you the sense of company and not being
on your own and feeling overwhelmed by everything. I’ve never had that before. Thank you
(recent quote from a young parent supported by Aspire)
Young parents can self-refer to the project or a referral can be made by a practitioner. If you think
you know a young parent who would benefit from being supported by the project, please feel free
to discuss a referral with a member of the Aspire team on
or email [email protected] for a referral form.
Staying safe if you’re not sure life’s worth living
……….is a new online resource to support anyone in distress and feeling suicidal. It has been written by a mixture of professionals supporting suicidal people, people who have got through tough
times and people who have supported their own friends and family.
Staying safe if you’re not sure life’s worth living includes practical, compassionate advice and
many useful links for people in distress. It explains how suicidal thoughts sometimes start because people feel overwhelmed by their problems or their situation. People can find it hard to see
a way out and just want their emotional or physical pain to end. Absolutely anyone might have
thoughts of suicide, such thoughts are far more common than people realise – we just don’t talk
Telling someone how you feel can be embarrassing or frightening but talking to someone is the
first step to getting help and staying safe.
If you or someone you know is feeling suicidal, please go to
Or you could contact a mental health professional, your GP, a helpline such as the Samaritans or
anyone you feel able to talk to about this.
Mental Health Support to Women.
Contact: 01352 872189
KIM4HIM men-only service
Community Advice and Listening Line
Free and confidential mental health
help line covering the whole of Wales.
Information and support for mental
Contact: 01352 757637
Advocacy Service North East Wales
Provides an independent, confidential
and free advocacy service for people
experiencing mental health problems
living in Flintshire and Wrexham.
Contact: 01352 759332
Hafal supports the carers of people with
a serious mental illness and also provides more intensive support to carers
and families at times of crisis.
Karen Jones or Janet Fletcher
CAB (Citizens’ Advice Bureau)
Provides free, confidential advice
and information on social welfare
Speaking Out Flintshire
Contact: 01352 752471 or
Community Mental Health Teams (CMHT)
Primary Care Tiers 1& 2
Mold and Flintshire: Pwll-Glas: 01352 750252
Deeside: Aston House: 01244 834921
Please note the revised opening time
of the Saturday Drop-in at the C.A.B
offices in Connah’s Quay.
MONDAY Hope Church Hall
1:30pm to 3:30pm
Mold, Chapel Art Centre, Tyddyn Street
10:30am to 12:30pm
Rivertown United Reformed Church
Chester Road West, Shotton
10:00am to 12:30pm
St Mary’s Church Hall, Flint.
10:30am to 12:30pm
C.A.B Offices in Connah’s Quay
10:30am to 12:30pm
Mold Mind Drop-in at Wellbeing Centre,
23b Chester Street Mold
1:00pm to 4:00pm
Mindful Newsletter is available on request
Double Click Design on 01244 846411
email: [email protected]
Designed and produced by
Double Click Design
on behalf of
Flintshire County Council