Thursday, 10 September 2020

WORLD SUICIDE PREVENTION DAY 2020 | HOW IT REALLY FEELS TO BE SUICIDAL & LIFE AFTER A SUICIDE ATTEMPT


By Aimee Wilson, Chair

When I first started volunteering for LEAPS as an Advertising Assistant in 2017, I think I was slightly terrified at the thought of the other Committee members and members of the group discovering the full extent of my mental ill health. I didn’t – for one minute – imagine them ever knowing I’d attempted suicide. But, three years later and I’m now Chair and very open to talking about my experiences because I want to encourage others in the group to speak up too. Not talking about mental health and avoiding the topic is what leads to people being uneducated and holding a stigma and discriminating towards those of us who are struggling. And not telling someone you’re struggling will make it so much harder to get help and support for your difficulties.

When I began hearing voices aged 18 there were hardly any stories in the media about mental health so I was terrified that it just meant I was ‘going crazy’ and that telling someone would result in me being locked in a hospital for the rest of my life. The auditory hallucination was constantly harassing me and telling me I had deserved the abuse I had been subject to only two years before. I guess it was just a matter of time before I would finally implode… But my silence meant that my implosion came as a complete surprise to absolutely everyone in my life, and their uncertainty as to what had caused it, just motivated the decision to detain me under the 1983 Mental Health Act and admit me to a psychiatric hospital!

Wednesday, 2 September 2020

DIGITAL DETOX DAY 2020 | MY DIGITAL JOURNEY, MANAGING YOUR MENTAL HEALTH ONLINE, & FIVE NON-DIGITAL ACTIVITIES

By Aimee Wilson, Chair



With September 5th being Digital Detox Day, I thought now would be a great opportunity to share with you all my journey in the digital world, some advice on managing your mental health whilst online, and the suggestion of five non-digital activities you could engage in if you’re planning to Detox!



Having a blog (www.imnotdisordered.co.uk), I like to find other Bloggers to look up to as inspiration, and one I’ve followed for probably over eight years has been Zoe Sugg (Co-Founder of Digital Detox Day) of the blog and now brand; Zoella. I watched her blog and YouTube channel increase in popularity and subsequently afford her so many incredible opportunities. It inspired me to use my blog’s reader count (now over three quarters of a million!) to secure collaborations and partnerships with well known individuals and huge organizations. 


I feel that Zoe’s media journey has really illustrated the potential impact you can have as a social media user. She’s shown that you can start a blog from your bed, and it can grow into something so much bigger than you could have ever imagined. So much bigger than you’d even intended. When I started, I’m NOT Disordered from my hospital bedroom, I wanted it to help tell my family and friends what I was going through in the psychiatric hospital over 100 miles away from them all. I didn’t plan for it to really go public and have strangers from literally all over the world read about my little life!

Wednesday, 26 August 2020

LEAPS FAVOURITE PLACES TO VISIT & ADVICE ON MANAGING YOUR MENTAL HEALTH WHEN TRAVELLING

By Aimee Wilson, Chair


With travelling restrictions somewhat lifting from the UK lockdown, it seemed like the perfect time to write a post about travelling and to list our member’s favourite places to visit:



Edinburgh

My personal favourite place LEAPS have visited has been Edinburgh – we visited the capital city of Scotland in September 2018 (you can read more about our trip here!).

I think I especially loved this trip because it has the perfect mix of retail therapy and cultural interests! It’s perfect for such a variety of people who could be visiting Edinburgh looking for all sorts of activities.


Best for food: Frankie and Benny’s, 130 High Street, EH1 1QS

I was in two minds about picking a restaurant exclusive to Edinburgh, but I decided something more established and well-known would be a much easier recommendation. Although I know some people have the attitude that if they’re visiting somewhere new, they don’t want to do something they could do back home or even just anywhere else but I think that each restaurant on a chain can have a different atmosphere, customer service, quality…



Wednesday, 5 August 2020

FIVE TOP TIPS FOR COPING WITH THE MEDIA | IN COLLABORATION WITH TIME TO CHANGE STORYCAMP 2020




By Aimee Wilson, Chair


The current theme for Time To Change StoryCamp 2020 is mental health and the media so I thought – as Chair of LEAPS – I would take the opportunity to share my tips on managing your mental health with the content of the media…


1.    Find your online tribe

Since being abused, I’ve almost understandably developed a whole host of difficulties around trusting and building relationships with people. I think that this mostly stems from the fact I had grown to respect and trust my abuser before he began hurting me so it left me feeling completely betrayed and incredibly reluctant to trust or rely on anyone ever again.

Then, when my mental health deteriorated, I found the beauty in making friends with those who I could identify with. The realization that speaking to someone who had also been abused, or who had attempted suicide, was reassuring and made me feel less alone in the world; was incredibly beneficial to my mental health on a whole. I think that it helps to know that you aren’t the only person to experience what you have and to feel that you have someone you can talk to who might understand and appreciate things better than those who can’t empathise.


Monday, 13 July 2020

WHY UNEMPLOYMENT AFFECTS YOUR MENTAL HEALTH & WHAT YOU CAN DO TO COPE | IN COLLABORATION WITH TIME TO CHANGE STORYCAMP 2020




By Aimee Wilson, Chair


This fortnight, for Time To Change’s Storycamp, the theme is ‘the other side to mental health’ and it’s all about sharing your experiences of an aspect of mental health that isn’t always talked about or which you feel is often misunderstood. So, we at LEAPS, decided to shed light on the impact that unemployment can have on your mental health and our tips on how to cope when your mental health has deteriorated or when someone you care about is struggling.


There’s a lot in life that can impact your mental health, yet the majority of the things talked about tends to be trauma or abuse. Of course, these are incredibly important issues and as someone who has experienced abuse, I’m incredibly grateful that it’s a subject which has a lot of light shed on it. However, focusing on one or two particular catalysts for mental health deterioration can sometimes leave someone who has been impacted by lesser talked about experiences, feeling alone and dismissed. It’s so important that we share experiences despite any pressure or influence not to, because doing so can encourage others to do the same and in speaking up, a person is more likely to receive help and support.

Monday, 29 June 2020

HOW TO SUPPORT SOMEONE WITH A MENTAL HEALTH CONDITION | IN COLLABORATION WITH TIME TO CHANGE STORYCAMP 2020




by Aimee Wilson, Chair


This year, LEAPS are supporting Time To Change’s 2020 Storycamp where the organization will be sending out themes to inspire content. This week’s theme is ‘supporting someone with a mental health condition.’


As a mental health Blogger and Chair of LEAPS, I’m very passionate about the topic and the importance of educating people so that they are better placed to support someone who is struggling. Mental health is definitely one of those things in life where you really don’t know what another person is going through; especially if you have very little experience of things yourself. It’s also similar to physical pain in that everyone has a different level of tolerance and we shouldn’t judge one another for this difference. Instead, we should be supporting one another through difficult times.


A hugely overwhelming emotion that often goes hand in hand with feeling suicidal is loneliness and feeling isolated. It can be far too easy to feel as though you’re the only person going through something and that no one in the world can identify with how you’re feeling and what you’re thinking. At the same time, though, we usually don’t like to hear that others share our experiences because it’s saddening to think of someone else going through such hardship. Bit of a Catch-22.


Monday, 1 June 2020

VOLUNTEERS WEEK 2020 - A THANK YOU TO OUR VOLUNTEERS FROM THE CHAIR




So, it’s Volunteers Week this week (1st – 7th June) and as Chair of LEAPS, I thought it would be a brilliant opportunity to talk a bit about what it’s like to volunteer with LEAPS and to thank all of the volunteers (Committee members) at LEAPS!


I first joined LEAPS about three or four years ago after seeing the voluntary position of Advertising Assistant posted on the do-it.org website! I’d been blogging on my mental health blog (www.imnotdisordered.co.uk) since 2013 and it had taught me that my passion lay in all things social media, publicity, comms, and advertising. Up until LEAPS, I’d only ever volunteered in retail and now I knew the direction I’d like my career to go in, I realised that continuing with that sort of role wasn’t really a productive use of my time.



I was so nervous to go to my interview because it would be my first role in this kind of industry so I had very little confidence and was terrified that those interviewing me (the Founder of LEAPS and the previous Chair), would see that I had no experience and deem me unworthy of the position! Fortunately, the success of my blog helped shine through as evidence that I have the skills to take on such a role. Their confidence in me and that they were willing to give me a chance in offering me the position, really boosted my self-esteem and gave me the motivation to prove them right and work hard at my responsibilities to help advertise and publicise the organisation.

Sunday, 17 May 2020

MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS WEEK 2020 | THE IMPORTANCE OF KINDNESS & FIVE WAYS TO BE KIND






This year’s Week will be like no other because for the first time in the twenty years that the Mental Health Foundation has been hosting this Week, they have changed the theme! Originally, the theme was scheduled to be ‘sleep’ but in response to the Coronavirus Pandemic and subsequent lockdown, the Foundation changed the theme to ‘kindness.’ The Foundation’s Chief Executive Mark Rowland said of the decision; ‘now more than ever, we need to re-discover kindness in our daily lives.’


LEAPS – as an organisation who regularly carries out acts of kindness – greatly support the decision to change the theme and are so excited to talk to you about the importance of kindness and share with you our top tips on ways to be kind:

Wednesday, 6 May 2020

LUNCH WITH LEAPS




As Chair, I’m very proud to announce the launch of our fundraising project: Lunch with LEAPS!


I remember in my interview with our former Chair and LEAPS Founder over three years ago, they discussed LEAPS ultimate goal of one day setting up some sort of food bank for the people in need in our local area of North Tyneside. Since that day in April 2017, I’ve wanted to make that dream a reality and with your help, maybe we can do something similar…


LEAPS – from Day One (in 2009) - has been about helping others. The group specifically supports those who are unwaged no matter why they are in that position – whether it be through physical disability, mental illness, retirement, redundancy… We don’t discriminate or hold judgement against anyone. With that in mind, LEAPS is always wanting to help more and more people, so it seemed logical to launch a project to do just that…


The idea of Lunch with LEAPS is to provide a packed lunch for those in need (namely people accessing food banks or those who have no fixed abode) in our local area. In this packed lunch there’ll also be a list of food and drinks that are within a specific amount of money according to the state benefit budgets a lot of unwaged people are entitled to. 


The hope with this project is that the lunch will not only provide sustenance in that moment, but that the list will then encourage the person to take some sense of independence in continuing to manage their diet according to their budgetary needs. We’d also like to take the opportunity to spread the word about LEAPS so that more people can access the support we offer.


To donate & for more information visit: https://bit.ly/2L4c9St


or click on the ‘Donate Now’ button to the left of the homepage!

Thursday, 23 April 2020

LEAPS TOP THREE TIPS FOR MANAGING YOUR MENTAL HEALTH THROUGH THE LOCKDOWN BY AIMEE WILSON, CHAIR OF LEAPS



Sadly, since the lockdown, LEAPS have been unable to facilitate group meetings every Friday, but we’ve been staying connected with the world through our Social Media Manager on our Twitter (which you can follow here) feed! We’d actually like to take this opportunity to say a huge thanks to our Social Media Manager for massively increasing our following and therefore allowing us to reach – and hopefully help – more people to manage their mental and physical health whilst unwaged.

The lockdown is having a huge impact on the mental health of a lot of people because the guidelines are so isolating and are leaving many people feeling lonely and afraid of these times that are filled with so much uncertainty. With this in mind, LEAPS would like to give you all three tips on how to cope if your mental health is struggling through the lockdown procedures and the coronavirus pandemic:



1.     Stay in contact with friends and family

Remaining connected with people is so essential at a time when ‘social distancing’ and ‘isolation’ are becoming the new buzz words! The advantages of today’s technology mean there are so many ways to keep in touch with friends and family; video chats, tweets, calls, texts, gifs… The amount of social media platforms and their functions is literally endless right now! For all the criticism that hashtags get, the lockdown has really illustrated just how powerful they are at bringing different people who have a common interest, together. Finding that there’s someone on the other side of the world who has the same opinion as you on a topic that matters a lot to you, can be so reassuring and comforting. The reminder that you aren’t alone in something is much-needed, especially at the moment!

Staying in touch with friends and family can also be helpful in finding inspiration from them on ways to be coping with the lockdown or activities you could be doing that are still in-keeping with lockdown protocol of course!


Tuesday, 25 February 2020

WHY DELEGATION IS SO IMPORTANT & A WELCOME TO OUR NEW SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER BY AIMEE, CHAIR OF LEAPS













Welcome to LEAPS’ second post of 2020! This time, our Chair; Aimee, will be talking exclusively to leapsonline.co.uk about the importance of one of her main responsibilities as chair; delegating tasks and duties.










The crazy speed of always needing more

But when I stop

And see you here

I remember who all this was for

From Now On – The Greatest Showman



Becoming Chair of Listening Ear & Positive Support was sort of an accident; during our 2019 Annual General Meeting I put myself forward for the position of Deputy Chair when our previous Chair suggested I just ‘take the reins’ completely. I remember saying, “you want be to be actual Chair?!” Now, almost a year later, I feel that the position has really taught me a lot about having a management/supervisory role, especially about delegation and the art of having the ability – or in my case, finding the ability – to entrust a task or responsibility with someone other than yourself.

WORLD SUICIDE PREVENTION DAY 2020 | HOW IT REALLY FEELS TO BE SUICIDAL & LIFE AFTER A SUICIDE ATTEMPT

By Aimee Wilson, Chair When I first started volunteering for LEAPS as an Advertising Assistant in 2017, I think I was slightly terri...