Does Hi-Tech cause Hi-Stress?

The theme of this year’s International Stress Awareness Week (5th – 9th November) is “DOES HI-TECH CAUSE HI-STRESS?”

Wellbeing in the digital age

The digital age has changed the landscape of society in terms of how we connect with each other, and has enabled access to information more easily than ever before. Whilst the exact nature and impact of the digital age are still unfolding, we do know that both positive and negative consequences are being felt – with particular respect to the negative impacts on mental health.


The digital age has connected the world, giving many of us access to almost any form of information anytime and anywhere, all it takes is a quick touch of a screen, or press of a button. Allowing us to view the lives of the rich and famous, to shop at any hour, and have our voices heard on topics at a national or even international level. It seems that we have never been so connected to one another.  However our ever-increasing participation within the fast-changing digital age is not without its concerns:


Social media and mental health

This year, the BBC will be launching a new programme titled #LikeMinded, Exploring social media’s impact on our mental health and wellbeing.  Whilst the digital age facilitates social connectedness having positive impact on people’s lives, researchers from the University of Melbourne have noted there is potential for the following negative impacts of social media use:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Eating disorders
  • Self-Harm/Increased suicide risk


Social Media philosophy is to promote social connection, openness and sharing. It can be a source of entertainment, a great tool for businesses and people to promote themselves and their services, and can allow families and friends to communicate with each other across the globe. Yet people are feeling more and more isolated in their community with the majority age between 16-24yrs closely followed by the older person generation.  Face to Face communication is on the down turn with many not engaging with their community. This is why we believe MHM Wales’s Wellbeing Hubs provide such a vital service as it allows to people to engage in their community and make new friends.


Cyberbullying has also been an ever-increasing issue for our younger population, which can have very severe consequences. A study by the Royal Society for Public Health found that 7 in 10 young people reported that they had experienced cyberbullying. The same study also found that:

  • 91% of 16 – 24 year olds use the internet for social networking
  • Rates of anxiety and depression in young people have risen by 70% in the past 25 years
  • However, on a positive note, the study also found that those who use social media report being more emotionally supported through their contacts.


MHM Wales’ Stand Against Bullying group specifically supports this age group and offers support and education surrounding this area.


For details of how MHM Wales can provide you with assistance, information and Support regarding any of the topics highlighted in this Blog contact us on 01656 651 450 or email

Eating Disorder Awareness Week 2017

Struggling Student

I Made a meal for everyone. Hours of buying, chopping, slicing seasoning. Laid the table, placed the serviettes, flowers in a vase – it looked beautiful. Don’t fancy eating anything (can’t eat anything), have used full fat milk, cooking oil etc. I’ll say I had a mega large lunch or, I feel ill.

Declined an invitation to eat out tonight. Not sure if they will have my ‘safe’ foods. Besides, I have nothing decent to wear. My clothes feel tight and unforgiving, my jewellery feels tight. I don’t feel like part of the crowd. No more selfies, thanks.

Walked to and from work again – 8 hour shift (3 miles each way). Up early to arrive for 7.30 a.m. start. Beautiful day -full of energy. Arrived home, don’t need the lift. Up 8 flights of stairs to my room, then up and down a few times for fitness. Put some music on and decided to do some exercise in the common room, have some company. I’m weighing myself on friend’s scales 3 floors down (just to keep an eye on things) at least twice a day.

Exercise buddy stopped to have some supper- maybe I should? Fridge in my room is empty apart from nail varnish (lasts x 10 longer). Maybe I’ll check the fridge in the shared kitchen – nothing of interest in there but I am hungry. I know, I’ll check the bin – maybe…….. Yep, some mouldy bread and cheese. I scrape off the mould, take one bite and then feel disgusted with myself so, throw it away.

Nearly lost it this weekend. I went into the newsagent and bought all of the chocolate and sweets that I love (weakness). I came out of the newsagent and put it all in the bin – it felt good, and I felt strong.

Weight is falling off! I’m feeling good but, people have stopped saying how ‘good ‘ I look. Friends are telling me to stop. I think they are jealous of what I have achieved; my determination, my willpower, my results.

Heating is on nearly all the time now, (thank goodness it is included in the monthly bill). I have hairier arms now, like a premature baby but, the great thing is I haven’t had a period for at least 6 months.

Feeling quite tired now and finding concentrating harder. Counting most of my calories in cuppa soups and black coffee. Know the calorific value of almost everything. Had a lot to eat yesterday but got rid of it quite easily. Took the laxatives at night time and they worked first thing in the morning.

Maybe I’ll do this for a while……….

Am now anaemic. I feel dreadful and am overweight. Skin is pale, nails are flaking, fingers are blue. Hair is dull and falling out and my heart has developed a disco rhythm. Thinking about food ALL THE TIME……What I can eat and what I can’t eat. It’s all I think about – every waking moment. Hell on earth.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Talk to someone – this is not just your fight.

You can get better. You can get SORTED.



Calan DVS – Assia Suite

One-Stop Shop Success and Assia’s Story

This week marks the first anniversary of the “One Stop Shop’ domestic abuse advice and information service which is run from Bridgend County Borough Councils’ Civic Office every week day from 8:30am – 5:30pm.

During our first year, just short of 500 victims have sought support from this free confidential service, and clients are offered support and advice on a variety of issues including housing, health, legal issues and safety planning.

We named the service after a local woman who was tragically murdered by her estranged husband after suffering years of domestic abuse from him. Her name was Assia Newton and we were honoured to have her family join us at the opening of the “Assia Suite” last year.

Her family are thrilled that the Assia Suite is proving to be such a success and that victims are finding the courage to come to us for help. They will never recover from the horrific murder of Assia, and Nadia, Assia’s sister wants to share her story and encourage others who recognise that they are in a similar situation to seek help.

My sister Assia was the most kind, caring person who would do anything to help others. All she wanted in life was to do her best for her children. In July 2013 she was murdered by her estranged husband after suffering over 20 years of domestic abuse. There were occasions of physical abuse but the controlling, emotional and financial abuse was there everyday. On a regular basis objects would be thrown across the room, cups, phones, he even threw a microwave through the window a few times. She tried having jobs but he would hide her uniform, her keys or just wouldn’t be there to have the children. He once threw petrol around the house, another time he lit a fire on the settee, on both occasions my sister and the children were inside the house. He would constantly phone her throughout the day and if she came to visit her family he would phone her and make some excuse why she would have to leave. She tried to leave him on numerous occasions but he just wouldn’t let her go and would hound her until she took him back. They had been separated 2 years but he was still going up the house everyday, letting himself into the house all times of the day. It was still as if he hadn’t left.

Then came the day I feared would happen, 14th July 2013 was the day my sister was murdered. It’s an understatement to say we are all devastated by what has happened, our lives have been changed forever.

We will never get over something like this but going forward we now raise awareness about domestic abuse to hopefully prevent other families from going through this. We tell our story in a hope that someone may be able to identify something that is happening in their lives and get help to get out of that situation before it’s too late. The more we talk about domestic abuse the more we can break down the embarrassment that surrounds it. We were also honoured and proud to have the Suite in Bridgend named after my sister. I beg anyone in this situation or know of anyone please contact the Assia Suite and get help and advice.

If you live in Bridgend and need support you can contact Calan DVS in a number of ways:

  1. Call into the Civic Offices and ask for the Assia Suite at the front desk,
  2. Call 01656 815919 , text 07811390803 or email
  3. Can call the 24hr Fear Free Helpline on 0808 80 10 800
  4. In an emergency call 999

This blog is used with permission from Calan DVS. Visit their website.

Mulligan Community



 MC Centre Bridgend, First Floor, One Central Park, Western Ave, Bridgend Ind Est, CF31 3TZ

Open Monday – Friday 9am – 4pm to the public    

(8am-8pm for hired room bookings)                              


We offer facilities for both businesses and the community:


Large Training room (sits 30 people) £15 p hour + vat

Medium Training room (sits 24 people) £12.50 p hour + vat

Small Training room (sits 16 people) £10 p hour + vat

Family Contact room (sits 6 people) £8 p hour + vat

Rentable offices (from £100 per desk space per month) + vat

Counselling room (sits 7 people) £5 p hour + vat (FREE if free to client)


Free MC Family Support 

Free 8 week Depression & Anxiety Support Groups 

Free 8 week ‘Foodwise for Life’ Health Eating Programme 

Free adult & children clothes

Free baby equipment lending scheme



Community Services:                                 


Free baby equipment & Free clothes

We are donated lots of lovely baby clothes and equipment that we loan out for free to those who need it, employed or not, if you need help with free baby equipment or clothes, or indeed adult clothes to keep we have from 0 years – adults size 24 and mens XXL sizes, please call or just pop into the MC Centre Bridgend.


MC Depression & Anxiety Support Groups

Our MC Depression & Anxiety Support Groups are held FREE every Thursday at 6pm – 7.30pm

The Support group is for anyone, we have no barriers at MC, you don’t need to be referred.


The support groups are delivered by a highly trained Depression & Anxiety facilitator who is bound by confidentiality and ethical guidelines – details of which are available on request. Goals of Groups:

  • Better coping strategy
  • To reduce feeling of isolation and loneliness by providing a sense of connectedness with self and others.
  • To identify self defeating behaviours and break through denial and delusion.
  • To practice and receive support for healthy living skills.
  • To receive nurturing and affirmations for growth.
  • To learn how to identify and express feelings.
  • To increase self-awareness and self-esteem
  • To provide validation, support, and encouragement.
  • To reduce feelings of shame.
  • To learn how to form healthy relationships.
  • To provide a trusting and safe environment for growth.
  • To learn how to care for self, how to care for others and how to let others care about them.


If you are interested in our Depression & Anxiety Support Group please contact: The MC Centre Bridgend on 01656 645480. Check for the next dates on our facebook page:


‘Foodwise for Life’ is a FREE eight week structured programme which utilises evidence based approaches to weight management. Written by Public Health Dietitians in Wales (PHDiW) the programme is designed to be delivered by a range of community based staff and contributes towards activity at Levels 1 and 2 of the Welsh Government ‘All Wales Obesity Pathway’. It will particularly benefit individuals with a Body Mass Index > 25kg/m2. It is not intended to replace structured education/care provided by health professionals for those with specific medical conditions such as diabetes.


‘Foodwise for Life’ is part of a wider programme, NUTRITION SKILLS FOR LIFETM, which aims to train and develop the nutrition skills of a wide range of community workers, build on existing local partnerships, and maximise workforce capacity to deliver quality assured healthy eating advice in community settings.


Topics focus on adapting eating habits, increasing physical activity and using basic behaviour change strategies to facilitate weight loss. Each session consists of structured discussions, hands on learning, group work and activities where participants can learn more about portion sizes, food labelling, daily exercise, recipe swaps and longer term plans for weight management. Group members are provided with a programme handbook and supporting literature from the Change4Life Campaign.


The first 8 week programme starts on 9th October 2017 and finishes on 27th November 2017. The next 8 week programme will start in January 2018 (keep a check on our facebook page for the date closer to the time), there are only 10 spaces per 8 week programme, so make sure you book in on 01656 645480.


Business Services:

Our Large Training room includes:

  • Seating for 30 cabaret style or 40 if just seats
  • Ceiling projector
  • White board (pens available at no cost)
  • Flip chart (paper and pens available at no cost)
  • PA Sound system
  • Natural lighting and windows
  • Connections for laptops and internet
  • Central heating and air conditioner unit
  • £15 per hour + vat


Our Medium Training room includes:

  • Seating for 24 cabaret style or 16 board room style
  • Ceiling projector
  • White board (pens available at no cost)
  • Flip chart (paper and pens available at no cost)
  • Sound system
  • Natural lighting and windows
  • Connections for laptops and internet
  • Central heating
  • £12.50 per hour + vat


Our Small Training room includes:

  • Seating for 16 cabaret style
  • Flat screen TV
  • White board (pens available at no cost)
  • Flip chart (paper and pens available at no cost)
  • Sound system
  • Natural lighting and windows
  • Connections for laptops and internet
  • Central heating
  • £10 per hour + vat


Our Family Contact room includes:

  • Seating for 7 people on comfy colourful sofas
  • Toys for all ages
  • Books for all ages in Welsh and English
  • Interactive games
  • Central heating
  • Natural lighting and windows
  • £8 per hour + vat


Our Specsavers Free Counselling room includes:

  • Seating for 7 people on comfy green sofas
  • Coffee table
  • Heating
  • Natural lighting and windows
  • Free if free to service providers clients
  • Or £5 per hour + vat


Supported Contact is available in our Family Contact rooms at an additional charge.

For more information on this please contact our MC Family Support team.


We currently have a waiting list for our rentable offices, which benefit from:

Rent: approximately £100 per desk space per month + 10% service charge + vat

Facilities: DDA compliant lift, double glazed windows, central heating, kitchen and toilet facilities

Deposit: £100 per office

Lease: 6 month short term lease

Invoice: paid monthly in advance by standing order or Bacs (in line with moving in date)

10% charge includes: business rates, electric, water/sewage, gas, cleaning of communal areas.


Tenants also benefit from the use of the Small Training room for free on a standby basis.


If you would like more information on renting offices or you would like to discuss availability of the rooms to hire, please contact us here



June Fundraising

June Fundraising Ideas

MHM Wales’ Michaela Moore shares more fundraising ideas.

Hello again! Sunshine, music and sport – June has it all (minus the sunshine maybe)

What with Wimbledon, Royal Ascot and the European Football Cup happening, June is quite the sporting month. To join in with all the fun while also supporting MHM Wales, organise a sweepstake. Contact us for a sweepstake sheet!

Glastonbury, Download, Wychwood and Isle of Wight; just some of the many festivals happening throughout June. If you’re not setting off to one of these iconic festivals, why not hold your own and ask attendees for a small donation? Then all that’s left to do is dance like nobody’s watching and sing like nobody’s listening, despite the high probability of people doing both.

11th June – The Queen’s Official Birthday
Ma’am turns 90 this year, which seems like as good an excuse as any to hold a tea party. For those feeling particularly in the mood, why not go the whole hog and host a street party (dinner jacket, optional) with people paying a small donation fee to attend.

17th June – Flip Flop Day
As the sun shines down (we hope), free your feet by popping on a pair of flip flops this June.
Get workmates to join in and make sure to foot the bill by asking everyone for a donation for MHM Wales.

21st June – National Selfie Day
Cheeeeese. You can’t move for selfie sticks these days – and if you can’t beat them, you might as well join them. Yes, there is such a thing as National Selfie Day.
To get snap happy, you could challenge your colleagues to see how many people they can fit into one selfie or maybe how many selfies you can take in one minute. Get people to pay a pound to join in, award the winner half the pot and send the other half to MHM Wales.
Don’t forget to share your selfies on the official National Selfie Day website. Keep them clean!

That’s it for this month!
We couldn’t provide all the support we do without you.
Please share your fundraising ideas by logging on to Facebook or sending us a tweet.
If you want to get involved, in whatever way you can, talk to us today on 01656 651 450 or email us at

See you next time!

If you would like to promote your organisations work, new projects or thoughts on current mental health and wellbeing news, please email

April Fundraising

April Fundraising

MHM Wales’ Michaela Moore shares more great fundraising ideas for  April.

15th April 2016 – Take a Wild Guess Day
Whether its sweets, Rice Krispies, coffee beans or something else, fill a jar to the top and ask colleagues to guess the total amount for a £1 donation. The winner keeps half the money raised, with the remainder going to MHM Wales.

15th April 2016 – Micro Volunteering Day
When we think of volunteering, we sometimes think there’s a need to give up big chunks of time to our favourite nominated charities doing extravagant activities and making big gestures … this doesn’t always have to be the case (but we like it when you do!)

The 21st century has introduced something called Micro volunteering into the charitable mix. Micro volunteering is a way of making aspects of volunteering really easy and breaks up charitable activity into bite sized pieces so anyone, anywhere can get involved. So whether you’ve got a spare 2 minutes or a spare 2 hours, there’s always a little something you could be doing.

We’ve come up with a few ways you can do something good for MHM Wales this Micro volunteering Day (Friday 15th April 2016)

  • To re-tweet/share a Twitter/Facebook post = 20 seconds or less
  • Facebook: //MHMWALES Twitter://mhmwales
  • 2 Texting MHMW to 70070 to donate £2 to MHMWales = 1 minute
  • Signing up as a MHM Wales volunteer = 10 minutes
  • Sign up for a local sporting event to raise money for MHM wales= 10 minutes
  • 5 Become a member of MHM Wales: 10 Mins

16th April 2016 – Auctioneers Day
As a great fundraising LOT we need you to ask local businesses and colleagues to donate some prizes for you to host your own MHM Wales auction. Going once, going twice, we hope you’re sold on helping us raise as much cash as possible.

22nd April 2016 – National Jelly Bean Day
Who doesn’t love a jelly bean?

There are many flavours and everyone has their favourite from cherry or buttered popcorn to more adventurous flavours like latte and chili mango?

You can enjoy Jelly Bean Day and raise essential funds by staging your own ‘how many beans in the jar’ contest with the prize being the jellybeans. Whatever you do, don’t forget that the tastiest way to celebrate Jelly Bean Day is by eating lots of jelly beans!

21 April 2016 – Queen’s Birthday
Celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday by having a right royal knees-up for MHM Wales. To make sure your party reigns supreme.

30 April 2016 – Bugs Bunny Day
In honour of this carrot-crunching character, we want you to hop to it and take part in our name the bunny competition. Get friends and family to take a guess for £1, with the pot of cash going to MHM Wales! Make the winner hoppy by giving them a (newly-named) cuddly or chocolate bunny as their prize.

£500 could pay for the provision of essential Mental Health Workshops in your community allowing those affected by mental health to engage with other through peer-2-peer support and an information guide regarding their mental health condition. These workshops help the individuals and their families understand more about their condition, its treatment, How to manage it and the support available to them.

Don’t forget to share your fundraising ideas by logging on to Facebook or sending us a tweet.

We couldn’t provide all the support we do without you. If you want to get involved, in whatever way you can, talk to us today on
01656 651 450 or email us at or visit our website

MHM Wales, registered charity in England and Wales (1123842).

National Mental Capacity Action Day


National Mental Capacity Action Day
15th March 2016

National Mental Capacity Action Day is to increase awareness of the Mental Capacity Act and to highlight good MCA practice.

The purpose of the Action Day is to:

  • Profile current best practice from around England and Wales
  • Identify MCA improvement priorities for the coming year
  • Gather commitments from attendees for projects and work to improve MCA implementation at the frontline

MHM Wales currently provides the IMCA (Independent Mental Capacity Advocates) and Paid Representative Services across Bridgend, Swansea, Neath Port Talbot, Carmarthen, Pembrokeshire, Ceredigion.

Advocates support clients within the Mental Capacity Act. These are some of the most disempowered people, often frightened, angry and confused.

IMCAs have specific experience, including IMCA and IMCA DoLS training in addition to the core advocacy units, which becomes the NVQ Level 4 Diploma in Advocacy. They must have integrity and a good character and to be able to act independently. Additionally, IMCAs have an enhanced DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check and undertake POVA (Protection of Vulnerable Adults) training.

Life-changing decisions.
The aim of the IMCA service is to provide independent safeguards for people who lack capacity to make certain important decisions and, at the time such decisions need to be made, have no-one else (other than paid staff) to support or represent them or be consulted.

IMCAs must be independent.
An IMCA must be instructed, and then consulted, for people lacking capacity who have no-one else to support them (other than paid staff), whenever: an NHS body is proposing to provide serious medical treatment, or an NHS body or local authority is proposing to arrange accommodation (or a change of accommodation) in hospital or a care home, and the person will stay in hospital longer than 28 days, or they will stay in the care home for more than eight weeks.

An IMCA may be instructed to support someone who lacks capacity to make decisions concerning: care reviews, where no-one else is available to be consulted adult protection cases, whether or not family, friends or others are involved.

Any information or reports provided by an IMCA must be taken into account as part of the process of working out whether a proposed decision is in the person’s best interests.

The advocate will endeavour to build a working relationship with the client and construct a picture of their feelings and wishes. Through structured meetings the advocate supports the person to make those views known and ensure they are taken into consideration. IMCAs ensure decisions taken follow due process and raise pertinent questions in relation to the rationale. The service looks to close cases when decisions are taken and implementation plans are in place. However, the IMCA can raise questions or challenge decisions which appear not to be in the best interests of the person. If there is no other way of resolving the disagreement, the decision may be challenged in the Court of Protection.

An additional area of support provided by the IMCA service, is supporting people lacking capacity, who have no-one else to support them (other than paid staff), being deprived of their liberty, or during the process of assessment in establishing if there is a deprivation taking place.

If a person is considered deprived of their liberty, the hospital or care home has to be granted a Standard Authorisation within the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards. The person is referred to as the Relevant Person; and as they lack the capacity to understand their deprivation, a Relevant Person’s Representative has to be appointed to support them. When the person has no one to take on that role, a Paid Representative will be appointed. Currently MHM Wales provides this service in Bridgend, Swansea, Neath Port Talbot, Carmarthen, Pembrokeshire, Ceredigion and Rhondda Cynonn Taff.

The Paid Representative’s role is to:

  • Visit the person deprived of their liberty on a regular basis
  • As far as possible, assist the person to understand their Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards authorisation and how it affects them.
  • As far as possible, assist the person to exercise their rights should they wish to do so.
  • Ensure any conditions attached to the authorisation are met and if not facilitate the address of this or refer it back to the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards
  • Call for a review of the authorisation where necessary, challenge the authorisation through local means where possible or ultimately refer the case to the Court of Protection.
  • Where conditions linked to the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguard are not being met or there has been a change in circumstances, the Paid Representative will trigger a review.

Technically, the Paid Representative role is not as an advocate. Advocates do not make decisions, whereas the Paid Representative is expected to make decisions. However, Government feels the best people to undertake this role is IMCAs because of their independence and understanding of the Mental Capacity Act.

The IMCA and Paid Representative services are only available in very specific circumstances and whilst the Mental Capacity Act is a hugely empowering piece of legislation, it is complex and to date implementation of the act has been sluggish and people are far more likely to benefit from their rights under this act when an independent advocate is involved.

Eating Disorder Week 2016

Severe and Enduring (Chronic) Eating Disorders
Eating Disorder Week 22-28th Feb 2016

Sorted for GV

If someone has had an eating disorder for more than 5 years it is usually described as severe and enduring. Evidence shows it is much harder to recover from a long term eating disorder, however it does happen and maintaining hope can be very important for everyone.

Families report that living with someone with a severe eating disorder is frequently very challenging. The challenges can be many. Firstly the difficult behaviors caused by the eating disorder can be extremely wearing for all family members. Additionally the family’s sense of hope for recovery and improved wellbeing for their loved one can fade. Families describe a range of emotions including sadness, frustration, anger, despair, grief, “at their wits’ end”, fear and many more. Families also report a sense of isolation not only from their loved one but from their own friends and social contacts. It is also common to feel that there is little help or support offered by the health system either for the ill family member and/or for the family. Families can also feel very frightened … it is reported that anorexia has the highest mortality rate of any mental illness.

Related Article: Minimizing and Treating Chronicity in Eating Disorders: A Clinical Review

What You Can Do:
Recognise the Huge Contribution you are Making as a Family.
Caring for someone with a serious long term illness is extremely challenging. Caring for someone with a long term mental illness can be even more so. Caregivers of other illnesses receive significantly more care/compassion/empathy than you are likely to be receiving.
It is likely that without your love and ongoing support your loved one would be in a much worse situation. It may be that few understand the “real picture”. Find ways to acknowledge the wonderful contribution you are making and support each other.

Try to Keep Communication Channels Open with Your Loved One
Whether your loved one lives with you or not try to keep communication open. This may be very challenging.

Support Each Other- Try to Work Together as a Team
Families report the strain of the illness can be very destructive on families. Try to support each other-eg make a point of noting kindness, helpful behaviour of others. Try not to blame.

Establish some common rules/strategies (eg. agreement about when you can meet to talk about concerns with your loved one)
Make sure it is not around mealtimes or other stressful times. Agree on some common ground rules eg no raised voices.
Discuss with other families members what would really help you now.
Get smart about having a break / take turns- you deserve it and it may well help your loved one.

Check out financial help to get the support you need.
Be realistic about what you can achieve both for your child and for yourself. Caring for someone with a serious illness is a huge task…you mightn’t be able to manage much else…
Try to find something to laugh about

Seek Help- MHM Wales is here to help and support your recovery
Remember you are not alone…Literature and clinicians can seem reluctant to discuss chronic illness and its impact but unfortunately there are many families out there who are experiencing similar challenges that you are. Contact MHM Wales and we can support you and help you contact others.

Get support/help from someone you can trust and who has some understanding of the real challenges you are facing. Our Sorted group welcomes all contact us to find out more

Seeing a skilled therapist may be helpful to discover strategies to make living with the illness more manageable. You may be able to identify behaviours that are intolerable and develop strategies to establish boundaries to make daily life more manageable for everyone. MHM Wales offers a low cost Counselling Service to find out more contact

Stay Hopeful
It will not only help your loved one and her/his emotional wellbeing but it will help you. Hope and staying positive is very powerful. It will help you much more in managing your daily life than negative emotions eg despair.
However if you feel you are seriously down/depressed seek help sooner rather than later. Don’t beat yourself up…get help. Check out our finding connections workshops on our events page or contact us on for tips on how to help yourself.

Motivation to change
Often motivation to change is very difficult. David Epston (author of ‘Biting the Hand That Starves You’) has a section on his website on ‘Archives of Resistance.’

Archives of Resistance may be helpful for people with eating disorders to gain insight, hope and ideas for taking action. Its online format allows individuals privacy and independence and may offer a fresh approach to people who have not found other approaches helpful.

Families report high levels of guilt regarding their loved one’s illness. It can feel overwhelming. Remember – you are not to blame for your loved one’s illness.

The Academy of Eating Disorders (Internationally recognised clinical leaders in the field) clearly refutes long held but unsubstantiated claims of family dysfunction that may cause eating disorders in it’s positional paper published in the July 2009 Journal of Eating Disorders ( It reinforces the importance families can make in the recovery of their loved one.

Unfortunately some clinicians may still hold outdated unhelpful attitudes towards families and may openly or covertly blame the family for the illness. Families may also feel that clinicians may be shutting them out of treatment of their loved one. In most circumstances this is unhelpful. Current best practice encourages the inclusion of the family in their loved one’s treatment. If you would like your voice to be heard then contact our independent advocates and we will help you understand your rights and be listened to.

Contact us on

Remember: Never give up hoping and working towards recovery!

Finding Connections

Anxiety and Depression

What can you do?


Hi my name is Andrea Beard and I’m the Training Co-ordinator for MHM Wales.

I know that you know what anxiety and depression is. When we have a physical illness (imagine you have a broken leg right now), we are experts in our own care, we automatically look after ourselves and attend any physio appointments needed. We do this until we are on the road to recovery.

Why should it be any different when we experience mental health issues? Is not that easy I hear you say. I understand that it’s not, but through MHM Wales’ Anxiety and Depression workshops, we can begin to help you to help yourselves.

In my workshops, I don’t tell people what Anxiety and depression is (let’s face it; if you have it you know and if you haven’t there’s Google!). What the workshops provide are the tips and tools needed to be able to manage your anxiety and depression in a positive proactive way.

MHM Wales Anxiety and depression workshops are physio for you mind!

How do I know these workshops are helping? Don’t take my word for it. Here are some accounts from participants themselves:

It has helped with being able to control myself in situations where I feel stressed

It was helpful speaking to others who feel the same as you and knowing you are not the only one to feel this way

The last statement has been said many times in the groups. Everyone who has attended the first session has come back. This is not just down to me; it’s because in the workshops people gain confidence throughout and feel very comfortable in each other’s company, being with people that experience the same feelings as them (Everybody who has a broken leg will experience pain).

The workshop provides a logical understanding of the conditions and the coping tools allow you to separate yourself from your condition, control your anxiety and panic, build your confidence and self-esteem.

Session one looks at the condition and encourages group discussion, giving an outline of the coping tools.

Session two focuses on how the conscious and unconscious mind influences how we think about our condition and how the mind controls our confidence.

Session three is all about the triggers and warning signs which affect the condition and how the tools can be used to help cope with any circumstances arising in the future.

Participants are expected to attend all 3 x 3 hr sessions and will work in groups to identify the tools needed to help with their anxiety and depression. Each will receive a file full of the resources to take home to allow them to continue to make improvements.

For more information on Finding Connections, please contact Andrea on 01656 649 557 or email

Self-Harm Project

Self-Harm Self-Help

The Self-Harm Self-Help project is one of seven Big Lottery Funded Community Voice Projects headed by BAVO.

The Community Voice: Needs Must/Pan fo Angen Projects aim to increase the voice of the seldom heard in Bridgend County, encouraging recognition of their views and opinions and involvement in local policy and planning processes.

The projects reflect the findings that over the last decade, government policy has increasingly recognised the importance of community engagement of community engagement in the design and delivery of public services.

Self-Harm Self-Help is a four year project which aims to gather data on how prevalent the issue of deliberate self-injury is in Bridgend County.

What is Self-Harm?
Self-harm is an umbrella term for any action, habit or behaviour which can cause damage to your health. It takes many different forms and as an individual act is hard to define. However in general, self-harm is the act of deliberately causing harm to oneself, either by causing a physical injury, by putting oneself in dangerous situations and/or self-neglect.

Self-Harming is a serious public health problem and results in significant social and economic burden to health services, particularly with respect to unscheduled hospital care to treat injury/overdose.

The UK has one of the highest self-harm rates in the whole of Europe with 400 reported cases per 100,000 people.

Out of those people, it is estimated that 87% will seek no treatment, and that 5% will die by suicide within 15 years of the initial attempt.

Talk to Me
In 2015, Welsh Government released the Talk to me 2 Suicide and Self-Harm Prevention Strategy.

According to figures released in the document, there are approximately 5,500 admissions for self-harm in Wales each year.

This figure does not, however, take into account those assessed in A&E departments who do not require admission, or the many more who do not attend following an incident of self-harm.

While there have been improvements in how services respond to people, too often those who present in distress still feel stigmatised for their self-harm and suicidal behaviours.

There was a story in the news recently from Scotland where a student, after building the courage to visit the GP, was told she couldn’t be suicidal as her clothes were too clean.

This is the attitude that people fear. This is why a staggering 75% of people with mental health problems do not access statutory services at all due to the perceived stigma attached.

Those who are the first point of contact should see this as an opportunity for intervention, and as such, need to have the necessary knowledge, skills and attitudes to ensure that compassionate and supportive evidence based care is delivered.

There are many misconceptions about ‘the type of people who self-harm’. Let’s address some of those here

They only do it for attention.
Self-harm is usually a very private, personal act. People who self-harm tend to cover their wounds, or harm in places invisible to everyday eyes. When attention is drawn to their injury, it will often be negative and increase distress.

The wound isn’t bad so the problem can’t be bad.
The severity of the wound is unimportant. The fact that someone is self-harming indicates they are in need of help and support. If you notice that someone is harming themselves, your reaction can be crucial. Dismissing the injury is belittling to the person who no doubt already feels misunderstood and run down.

Only teenage girls self-harm.
Although the majority of people who disclose self-harming behaviour are teenage girls, self-harm is definitely not something that just affects young people or women. It is estimated that out of the staggering amount of hospital admissions for self-harm related injury in Wales last year, 11% were male.

It is widely believed that many more males self-harm, but there is a greater stigma to come forward. There has always been shame and secrecy around self-harm for any age and gender, but the ‘boys don’t cry’ attitude leaves many suffering in silence, unable to seek help and support.

It is also apparent that the way in which many boys and men self-harm, fighting, hitting and punching walls is not always recognised as self-harm, despite following many of the same behavioural and emotional patterns and internal processes.

Welsh Government research shows that women aged between the ages of 15-19 have the highest prevalence of self-harm in Wales. What we have found through our own research is that the highest numbers of incidents in Bridgend County are women in the 41-50 age range. In fact, over 24% of people actively engaged in the project are over the age of 50. Welsh Government’s research also suggests an increase in self-harm in males over the age of 85.

Why do people self-harm?
There is no one reason for self-harming. What we find is that there are common themes:

Relieving unbearable feelings such as grief, sadness or anger.
Self-punishment due to feelings of self-hatred, shame, guilt and ‘dirtiness’ (self-harm is often used as a means to ‘cleanse’ oneself.
Feeling ‘Real’ – often people harm themselves as a way to connect their minds and body, it is easier sometimes to deal with physical pain than emotional pain.
Control Self-harming allows an amount of control in the lives of those who feel overwhelmed with the difficulties they face, or the pain they feel inside. Often, it can be away for the person to punish themselves for perceived failures in their own lives.

In older people, self-harm is more often linked to loss, loneliness and social isolation, but again, as with self-harming in any age group, there really is no single motivation that causes a person to harm themselves. Ultimately, self-harm is a coping strategy and one that can be replaced by healthier mechanisms.

One area of self-harm in older people that requires further research is how many begin self-harming in old age and how many have continued in to old age. Research does show that many cases of self-harm in older people stem from failed attempts at suicide.

What we know about self-harming in the younger generation is that while there is a relationship between suicidal tendencies, self-harming does not necessarily mean a person wishes to take their own life. With the older generation, it appears that self-harming is much more likely to result in completing suicide.

Statistics indicate that while suicide rates amongst older people are steadily falling, reported cases of deliberate self-harm rates are rising. This could be because more older people are self-harming, or it could be that people are more willing to speak out about their self-harm.

The scope of what is considered self-harm behaviour is also widening, and older people tend to self-harm in different ways to their younger counterparts.

Unlike the young, elderly people who self-harm could be more likely to behave in such a way as to hasten death. This can involve taking a passive role in their own care, not looking after themselves when physically able to do so, under eating and excessive drinking, refusing medical treatment.

These forms of passive self-harm are more common in the older generation than the physical, deliberate injury generally associated with the younger generation.

The British Journal of Psychiatry admits that self-harm in older people is under researched, and that more awareness is needed in services for older people as numbers are predicted to keep on rising.

Self-Harm to Self-Care
Since beginning the project, one of the areas we’ve been researching is what support is available for local people who self-harm, and what services they would like to see. Based on those findings,  MHM Wales started the first Self-Harm to Self-Care workshop in February of last year.

These workshops provide a safe, welcoming atmosphere where participants are helped to identify and express their feelings, build their confidence and learn alternative coping strategies. The workshops run for 8 weeks and have a maximum of 12 participants.

We ask participants to fill in various evaluation forms at the beginning and end of the workshops to allow us to see how useful the workshops are to them. I’m happy to say we have received nothing but positive feedback and thus the workshops have continued.

Next workshop starts on Wednesday 24th February

These workshops focus on reducing self-harm by:

  • Providing a safe space to share feelings, thoughts and concern
  • Helping to identify and express feelings appropriately.
  • Teaching healthy communication skills
  • Learning to treat yourself and others with respect
  • Encouraging responsibility for our own lives and choices

When the first workshops ended in March 2015, participants expressed a desire to continue to build upon the good foundations and friendships they had built during the workshops, and a peer support group, Archways, was set up.

Why Archways? The group decided on the name as symbolic of what the group stands for – an archway can provide shelter, but is not a permanent stopping place. The groups are a place that anyone who has been on the MHM Wales’ Self-Care workshops can go for a ‘top-up’ whenever they feel they need to. The group remains supportive and pressure free and carries over the same ideals and confidentiality of the Self-Care Workshops. Although they are currently for workshop participants, it is likely that the group will open up to non-workshop participants in the future, or a new peer support group can be set up, but this is down to the needs of the community.

What can you do?
If a person you know is harming, it is not expected that you will be able to solve their problems, but, as when dealing with any mental or emotional distress, try to be patient, sympathetic and understanding.

Take a look at the Community Voice: Needs Must/Pan fo Angen Self-Harm Self-Help page to find out more about the project and Self-Care Workshops, read our newsletters and find information and guides on how from NSHN, Self-Injury Support, Self-Harm UK and more.

Thanks for reading, if you would like to contact someone about the project, please email or