Talking about mental health

19 07 2012

Everybody’s talking about mental health at the moment. One in four people will experience mental health problems at some point in their life, yet there is still a strong stigma attached to admitting to having mental health issues. 

Last month, in a bid to break the cycle of silence surrounding mental health, four MPs stood up in the House of Commons to discuss their own experiences to further the debate on tackling prejudices against those with mental health problems. And next week sees the start of a Channel 4 season of programmes called 4 Goes Mad, which aims to challenge discrimination and the mental health stigma.

The campaign Time To Change – which collaborated with Channel 4 on 4 Goes Mad – is led by leading mental health charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness and aims to raise awareness by getting as many people talking about their  mental health experiences as possible. (You can sign up to the Time to Change pledge to talk campaign here.)

On horsesmouth our environment is anonymous, supportive and safe, which allows people to open up and disclose honestly. Depression and mental illness are therefore huge topics: just searching under ‘depression’ brings up 2,000 relevant mentor profiles.

We see people flourish after finding the support they need, often then feeling encouraged to go on and help others. In March this year, one mentee came to horsesmouth in search of support, writing, ‘I’ve been struggling with mental illness pretty much my whole life. I’ve been misdiagnosed for years. I’m looking for a mentor that I can talk to and can understand where I am coming from.

She formed several close mentoring relationships and last month signed up to be a mentor herself, sending supportive messages to other users and saying, ‘Horsesmouth has helped me tremendously. It’s nice to know you have people that you can talk to.’

Every week we have new mentors who are dealing with mental illness sign up, knowing how vital it is to offer others the opportunity to talk. For instance, h0th3ad, who signed up last month and wants to mentor on depression:

I have been through it and I know how important it is to have someone listen to you and support you. It was the worst years of my life but it’s at the back of my mind if not away from it. I believe everyone suffers from it some time in life but some suffer more than others. I am proof you can change things around with the right support, I want to be that support and the reason to change a person’s life positively.’

Other long-established mentors who have been through the mill of mental illness know how the stigma attached to mental illness can increase the sense of isolation. Mentor jennzenith, 32, says:

Although the stigma of poor mental health is supposedly decreasing, I am aware that those who find themselves living with depression, or caring for someone with depression, can often feel alone. I have experienced both sides of this illness and would love the opportunity to use my experiences to help others.’

Through the simple act of conversation and sharing, the weight of mental health and depression is partly lifted. Follow the conversations on Twitter under #4goesmad #mentalhealthdebate #timetochange. If you need advice and support on dealing with mental health issues, search for a mentor here.

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Business mentoring – mentorsme.co.uk

13 07 2012

horsesmouth are thrilled to be partnering with mentorsme.co.uk, a collaborative online resource for UK small and medium-sized enterprises seeking mentoring.

The aim of mentorsme.co.uk is to provide those seeking business mentoring easy access to all existing mentoring organisations and networks under one umbrella. The site is free to use and offers businesses access to a list of quality-assured business mentoring organisations across Britain. The goal is to help businesses find a mentoring organisation to suit their needs in a fast and easy way.

For the huge stable (sorry!) of horsesmouth business and enterprise mentors, it’s a great fit.

The site also allows business professionals to get involved, and offer their services as a business mentor via the mentoring organisations listed. Aspiring mentors may want to work in a particular area of Britain and have a particular area of expertise to offer. The site has a directory which allows them to locate mentoring organisations that are the closest match to their profile.

mentorsme.co.uk also aims to raise awareness about the benefits of business mentoring through its library of online resources, which includes articles about mentoring and case studies of successful business mentoring relationships.

Have a look at this mentorsme.co.uk clip showing how having access to an experienced mentor in the early days of a business can be the key to success for a new company.

Find a mentor on mentorsme.co.uk here.

Sign up to become a mentorsme.co.uk mentor here.

Read the rest of this entry »





Meet the Mentors – Carers Week.

19 06 2012

It’s Carers Week. We’ve written plenty about carers and caring on this blog before: caring can be hugely rewarding but also extremely challenging, with carers often making huge sacrifices to care for family members or loved ones. Carers Week aims to bring attention to the huge numbers of those caring long hours, struggling to balance their duties with work, unpaid, and the huge numbers of young people who are providing hours of care per week.

Among our mentors we have carers young and old who want to share their experience and advice to help others in the same situation. If you’re seeking support as you provide care to a loved one, maybe a mentor could help?

Clara43, 44, from South Yorkshire
‘I was a young carer for my mum who has mental health problems and after training I set up and managed a young carers project providing emotional and practical support, information, advice and advocacy as well as therapeutic work. Many people when feeling alone and isolated turn to the internet for help. I hope to be a port of call for this.’

Shelley9912, 24, graduate in Forensic Psychology
‘My mother is mentally ill and she requires full-time care. Separate from the fact that my mother is mentally ill I know very well how it is to be a carer. I have sacrificed a lot to look after and help my mother and I know that sometimes those sacrifices that we make can go unnoticed. I know that being a carer can be very daunting at first.’

nicemum, 49, an adopter and birthmum
‘I’ve been a young carer who supported a parent suffering from depression and bereavement and two younger siblings. This is a mighty burden for any child to bear and it is a deeply formative experience, I am happy to talk to any carers out there.’

CateH, 40, a self employed childminder
‘I was a carer for my mum for many years, she had leukemia and dementia so I know how hard it is to be a carer and the need for support. I was my mum’s full time carer having given up work, so I lost a whole way of life. I miss her terribly and know the pain, physical and emotional, that comes with grief.’

carriesyrup, 29, a carer and reiki therapist
‘I look after my mum who has mental health problems, so I am a carer to my mum and also work as a carer for the elderly.  I love what I do and I love helping others. It has made me a better person in myself and now I am at a stage where I can help others through similar situations.’

To contact any of these mentors, simply click ‘contact mentor’ on their profile. If you are new to horsesmouth, you will need to register first – it’s free and easy! To search for other mentors to contact, or to sign up as a mentor yourself, go to our homepage. Good luck and happy mentoring!





Mentor Mondays.

11 06 2012

It’s that time of year! Lots of our new mentors signing up are young mentors, offering advice on school and university life; dealing with exams pressure and stress, choosing courses and applying for university, and dealing with the new way of life that going to university brings, away from home and family.

Here are just a few of the new mentors who have signed up in the last month, just a fraction of the horsesmouth mentors offering advice on this topic, but why not snag a new mentor before someone else does? Let’s meet them.

rhaugh1, 20, about to finish second year studying Psychology at Northumbria University in Newcastle. ‘As someone who has recently encountered the university application process, I am knowledgeable on the procedures involved, what makes a good university application, how to choose a university and how to prepare for course interviews. As a member of my university swim and triathlon team, Psychology Society secretary and an active volunteer inside my university, I am informed of the different opportunities available to students. I am able to provide advice on making the most of university, coping with university work and peer pressures and general welfare.’

DaisyF, 21, just finished third year of a health degree and about to go on to a mental health nursing degree in September. ‘When I originally applied for university, I didn’t reach the grades I needed for the course I had applied for. However, my first choice of university offered me the opportunity to study a different degree with the possibility of transferring to my original course dependent on my grades. Although at first I wasn’t sure, during my first year I realised that my original degree wasn’t really for me and this led me to my future degree. I am so happy that the alternative degree was given as another option and it all happened the way that it did.  This helped me to learn that when something doesn’t go your way, it’s not the end of the world and things will have someway of working out as long as you are willing to try something different and work hard!’

LawUndergrad, a 20 year old Law undergraduate, living in rural Lancashire. ‘I am a young person who has been through school, college and I am now in university. I have experience in deciding a career path, navigating friendships, handling a workload and moving in with housemates for the first time. I would like to mentor on this subject because these issues can seem all encompassing at the time and an objective viewer can often help one realise the issue is not quite as daunting as it initially seems.’

Ads, 27, living in Somerset. ‘I have been through university however I am not naturally good at my studies and I have always had to work hard. I’ve been a D student who turned themselves in to a B student and have overcome many obstacles to do this. I have learnt it is about working on your strengths and taking a logical approach, breaking things down, etc. I have always studied economics and have a general interest in finance. When I graduated from university I was in debt but have since turned this around. I can offer practical advice on this subject.’

To contact any of these mentors, simply click ‘contact mentor’ on their profile. If you are new to horsesmouth, you will need to register first – it’s free and easy! To search for other mentors to contact, or to sign up as a mentor yourself, go to our homepage. Good luck and happy mentoring!





Meet the mentor.

23 05 2012

As part of Dementia Awareness Week, we would like you to meet kennc: a mentor with our partner Living Well With Dementia. He is 62 and has early onset Lewy body dementia. A Dignity Champion, he mentors on horsesmouth to help others and give as much support as possible to everyone on the dementia journey. He agreed to share with us his experiences of mentoring on horsesmouth.

‘When I was told about horsesmouth I really did not know what it was nor did I understand what it was trying to achieve. However it soon became part of my life and I found that as someone with the illness, I could help others, whether they were people with dementia, carers, loved ones, or family friends.’

‘I have helped quite a few people and feel as if I have gained many new friends in return.’

‘This is an independent website where people can go for impartial support and advice about any illness, and no matter what illness you have there is always someone there to help and support you, day and night.’

‘Most of those on this website have experience in one form or another and although dementia is a big topic we always try to help, but do not give medical advice.’

‘The main problem is that although there are around 12 different types of dementia, there are well over 120 variations of the illness and each person goes down a different route and has different symptoms, so no two people with the illness are the same and this causes many problems with people who think that their symptoms don’t match the norm.’

‘I feel that it is sometimes a very good thing to have something like horsesmouth, as we get diagnosed with illness such as dementia and we feel totally numb, and after the diagnosis has sunk in the questions start to come. But there is not always someone around to give you the answers and this is where horsesmouth can come into its own, as there are people there most of the time and quite a few have the illness.’

‘I also feel that many people could enjoy the experience of mentoring and supporting others in their time of need, and when it works well you really get a buzz and a sense of achievement, ‘a job well done’, so I would recommend it to anyone who wants to become a mentor and help others through a difficult time, and usually help yourself in the process.’

‘So if you are willing to help and have the free time why don’t you come and join us?’

Why not take kennc up on on his invitation? You could start a mentoring relationship today that could change your life. Our Living Well With Dementia mentors have a wide range of experience. To read more, and maybe meet your future mentor, click here.





Dementia Awareness Week.

21 05 2012

In support of Dementia Awareness Week, we will be sharing profiles and real-life stories of our Living Well With Dementia mentors. We have mentors sharing honest first-hand experience of dealing with dementia, and others who care for those dealing with it, whether as a paid carer, family member or friend.

Follow us on Twitter or Facebook for updates as the week goes on, or check back here, as we hope to post first-hand accounts of how mentoring on horsesmouth has helped those living with dementia.

In the meantime, check out this great clip from the Alzheimer’s Society Remember The Person campaign. Five things you should know about dementia.





Mentor Mondays.

16 04 2012

As we regularly do on Mentor Mondays, we’d like to share some of our newest mentors who have signed up. These are just a few of the people who have signed up to volunteer their time to mentor with us in the last couple of weeks; great new mentors that we’d like to get out there so the good work can begin! Why not get in there today and drop them a line?

First up, StartUpBuddy – a web entrepreneur with a successful online business, he is experienced in e-commerce, SEO and pay per click. He describes himself as, ‘a little obsessed with entrepreneurship and can’t wait to start a new business’. Maybe he could advise you on how to turn your business idea into reality, or help push your existing business to the next  level?

Seagull54 has 35 years or varied business experience, from senior menagement in multinationals through to directorships of medium sized companies. (£50-100m turnover.) Not only that, but he is a qualified practitioner coach and a Master Practitioner of NLP, Hypnotherapy and timeline therapy. His reason for mentoring? ‘At the age of 57 it is important for me to help people and to make a positive contribution to society.’

mentorBrove is someone we could all use from time to time – the IT guy! With 22 years of experience working in IT with public sector clients, he could be a great mentor to advise on your charity or social enterprise IT requirements. He says, ‘I have enjoyed helping many different clients get the best out of their IT services by ensuring that they understand and meet their business needs.’
And finally, DanniLou95 – a new young mentor, she describes herself as, ‘just your normal 16 year old girl who has been through the typical problems you face through your teenage years!’ She’s offering to share her experience and advise on essential teenaged issues such as friends, school life, exams and young love. Who didn’t need someone to talk to when they were a teenager?
Sign up to become a horsesmouth mentor today! It’s free, anonymous, easy and safe. Let someone else benefit from the lessons you’ve learned and share your wisdom.