February Fundraising

February Fundraising
By Michaela Moore

Tips on raising funds for MHM Wales (or the charity of yuour choice) in February

Dignity Action Day – February 1st 2016
Dignity Action Day #DAD2016 is an annual opportunity for health and social care workers, and members of the public to uphold people’s rights to dignity and provide a truly memorable day for people who use care services. Why not post what you have done today on our Facebook page

Facebook’s Birthday – 4th February
Celebrate Facebook’s birthday by sharing our Facebook Page and help increase awareness of all our charitable works and help raise awareness and reduce discrimination regarding ill mental health..

Rugby Six Nations – 6th February 2016
It is that time of year again where we all get behind our home nations at the start of the Six Nations Championship. It’s a great excuse for rugby fans to indulge in an office sweepstake and raise oodles of dosh for MHM Wales. Just give it a try!

Chinese New Year’s Eve 7th February
This Chinese New Year, is the Year of the Monkey, why not hang around with your workmates/friends for tasty Chinese dishes in return for donations? (Charge fines for anyone using forks instead of chopsticks.) Or you could bake some fortune cookies to sell at work and then donate the takings to MHM Wales.

Pancake Day – 9th February
Add a little ooh la la to Pancake Day and host a crêpe party at work. Make your pancakes French style with fruit or cheese, or even flambé style with liquor. Alternatively, you could have a pancake flipping competition to see who can throw their pancakes the highest.

Valentine’s Day – 14th February
Put some sparkles into Valentine’s Day why not hold a dress down day with a difference and wear something Red/Pink to work. Or you could even arrange tombola, giving out romantic prizes of chocolates and bottle of bubbles

Student Volunteering Week – 22 February
Are you are a student looking to gain experience in Mental Health why not volunteer for us or hold a fundraising event at your school, college or university and show case your   innovative ideas to inspire others .

We couldn’t provide all the support we do without you, so thank you. If you want to get involved, in whatever way you can, call us on 01656651450 or email us at fundraising@mhmwales.org

Did you know that £98 could fund our information and support group for a day?  This would mean more people affected by Mental Health would have someone to answer their questions and sign post them to organisations which could offer them much needed support.

See if you can raise this amount with our February fundraising ideas.

Thanks for reading, good luck!




Sorted Logo


Are you struggling in your relationship with food? Who is in Charge?

Hi I’m Julie Davies and welcome to my first ever blog!

If you are having difficulty you may welcome support from others in the same position as you.

I am one of two facilitators running a very friendly support group which helps provide a confidential, non-judgemental environment for people to chat about their feelings around food.

My background is in nursing, but through personal experience I want to help others understand why it is a problem for so many.

The DSM (Diagnostic Statistic Manual of Mental Disorders) cites the main eating disorders as Anorexia, Bulimia and Binge Eating Disorder.

Who can suffer from Eating Disorders?
The group with the highest risk of eating disorders are girls aged 15-19. Eating disorders are 9 times as likely to occur in girls and women as in boys and men. This is mainly due to the fact that disturbances of body image and diet are much less prevalent in young men than in young women; however, approximately 10% of cases of Anorexia and Bulimia are young adolescent men.

Onset usually begins in adolescence, but it is not uncommon for eating disorders to develop earlier or later in life. There are cases of Anorexia in children as young as 6, and some research reports cases developing in women in their 70s. This can lead to inappropriate diagnosis due to lack of understanding and awareness of eating disorders in these age groups.

Can you ever recover?
Yes! Research suggests that around 46% of anorexia patients make a full recovery, with 33% improving and just 20% remaining chronically ill. Similarly, research into bulimia suggests that 45% fully recover, 27% improve and 23% continue to suffer.

Is it dangerous?
Eating disorders can be highly dangerous. Anorexia has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disorder, from medical complications associated with the illness as well as suicide. 20% of Anorexia sufferers will die prematurely from their illness.
Bulimia is also associated with severe medical complications, and binge eaters often experience the medical complications associated with obesity.
In every case, eating disorders severely affect the quality of life of the sufferer and the people around them.

Come along to our group ‘SORTED’ (Share Our Recovery Through Eating Disorders) at The ARC on 2nd and 4th Mondays of the month (except bank holidays) from 18:30 until 20:00.

The group is for anyone aged 18+ with no referrals needed from anyone.

For further information I can be contacted by email: sorted@mhmwales.org

Festive Fundraising II

Festive Fundraising
(part two)
By Michaela Moore

2015If you’d like to spread Christmas cheer and raise funds too, here are a few ideas on festive fundraising!

We’ve put our Santa-style thinking hats on, and come up with a few Christmassy themed ideas to help with your winter fundraising!

Christmas Collection
This time of year is a lovely one for collecting or bag packing, as shops are busy, people are full of Christmas spirit, and collecting in a Santa hat can help make shoppers extra generous! Contact your local supermarket for details on how to organise a collection.

Swish into the New Year
In with the new, out with the old! With your new Christmas clobber, why don’t you hold a swishing party with your friends and swap your last season’s clothes, or take the chance to exchange unwanted gifts – one person’s trash is another person’s treasure, you may just get your Christmas wish. Charge an entry fee for the event, with the money raised donated to the charity.

Alternatively, if you’d like to sell any unwanted gifts in the comfort of your own home, you can sell these online through eBay for Charity where you choose to donate between 10% and 100% of monies raised from items sold to your charity.

Christmas Party
Be it in the office, at school or in your local community, why not throw a party with a difference – celebrate Christmas whilst also raising money!
Some ideas of ways to raise funds through your party include:
• Santa Hat competition – pay £1 to enter, decorating your own hat and the most creative wins!
• Strike a pose! – Grab a polaroid, take a selfie or get together for a group photo, and donate to take your photo home
• Secret Santa – rather than paying £5 for a gift, you could buy a virtual gift through a £5 donation. For example, donating £5 allows a person affected by Mental Health to receive information which will support them through this time in their lives. Or do a company donation for example £25 pays for a Volunteer to receive 4 training Modules which will support individual project and increase awareness and reduce stigma and discrimination for people affected by Mental Health. £100. Will provide much needed equipment and supplied for our wellbeing centres which are open Free of Charge to anyone affected by mental health £250 will provide support for our volunteer counsellors and provide 6 week counselling session for someone in essential need for talking therapy. £300 will pay for a person to attend a self-harm self-care workshop
Our supporters hold a great range of seasonal fundraising activities, which you can get involved with too, or may inspire you to do your own. Check out our events listing here.

Contact us
If you’d like any more ideas or if you have your own you’d like to share, please do comment below or get in touch with us at michaela.moore@mhmwales.org or call 01656 651 450


IMCA (Independent Mental Capacity Advocates) and Paid Representative Services
by Keith Williams

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.

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 are 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.

Fundraising Tips for November

Fundraising Tips for November
By Michaela Moore

Well, have no fear – MHM Wales is here! with some top tips on fundraising for November and the start of December that will kick start your fundraising (if you’ve yet to get it going) or give you a boost as you turn the corner to Christmas.

Fundraising Thermometer1. Bonfire night!
The smell of the fire and sight of fireworks gets everyone excited. So, why not have your own event in your back garden? You can have a ‘Guy-making competition’ for a small entry fee and have mulled wine and homemade snacks available to buy.

2. Get in touch with your local school
If you have a link with a local school, this is definitely the time to ask them to help out! ‘Non-uniform days’ are a grand tradition when the term draws to a close, so try asking your local school if the proceeds could go towards your charity.

3. Christmas wish-list
Everyone fills their list with must-haves for Christmas, but why not ask your friends and family to sponsor you in place of giving you gifts? This is a great way to fundraise with little effort on your part. Plus the holiday season always brings out the generosity in people!

4. Gift/card making
If you’re the arty type, try putting your skills to good use and start making some festive gifts for your friends to buy. You could make anything from cards to cakes to homemade jewellery.

5. Christmas Sweepstakes!
With numerous TV ‘Christmas specials’ hitting our screens, there’s no better time for a bit of friendly betting. Make a sweepstake, and ask your friends or colleagues to get involved for a small donation. There’s ‘I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!’ as well as ‘Strictly Come Dancing, (a personal favourite) and the ‘X Factor’ final. You could even get your friends together to bet on this year’s Christmas Number 1, with a small fee going towards your fundraising.

6. Christmas/NYE party
Sometimes there’s nothing better than a good, old-fashioned Christmas party. Every office has one, so get in on the action and ask your colleagues to do a raffle for your fundraising as part of the festivities. Or organise a Mince Pie Making competition for a small entry fee. Local businesses are often willing to help, so you could ask them to donate a prize for your winner.

7. Christmas collections
Contact your local council to get a Christmas collection going on your local high street or in a busy train station. Rope in all your mates to make it a great – and profitable! – day. Get in touch as we can provide the buckets, authority letters and some t-shirts to help you along the way – but some Christmas hats and props might make it a bit more festive! You could even add a competitive element by giving a prize to the person who fills their bucket the highest!

Phew! Well there’re a few ideas to get you going. As usual, if you need any help, ideas, or materials such as decorations/collection buckets to make your fundraising the best it can be, then please email me on fundraising@mhmwales.org and I’ll do my best to help.

Good luck!

Bipolar Awareness Day 2015

Bipolar Awareness

Today is Bipolar Awareness Day. But what is Bipolar disorder? Let’s find out…

Bipolar Disorder, also known as manic depression, is a mental health illness that causes severe shifts in mood, energy, cognitive ability and behaviour.

The term ‘bipolar’ means ‘two poles’ and signifies the polar opposites of mania and depression which sufferers are subject to.


The cycles of bipolar disorder last for days, weeks or months and, unlike ordinary mood swings, the sufferer’s mood changes are so intense they interfere with their ability to function.

During a manic episode, people can become impulsive. They may find that they don’t need as much sleep as usual, become more sociable and optimistic, they may seem agitated and have racing thoughts and speak very quickly. They often become much more productive than usual and may have many ideas and plans or even take on risky activities.

When the depression takes over, they would be more likely to need more sleep than usual, struggling to get out of bed, carrying with them a mind full of self-loathing and hopelessness. They withdraw from socialising and neglect everyday tasks.

Aretaeus of Cappadocia
Aretaeus of Cappadocia

Aretaeus of Cappadocia (you know him) began the process of detailing symptoms in the medical field as early as the 1st Century CE in Greece. Aretaeus described a group of patients that who ‘laugh, play, dance night and day, and sometimes go openly to the market crowned, as if victors in some contest of skill’ only to be ‘torpid, dull, and sorrowful’ at other times  His notations on the link between mania and depression unnoticed for many centuries. Bipolar only appeared in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagonostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) in its third revision in 1980. Jean-Pierre Falret (1794–1870) observed that the disorder clustered in families, and postulated that it had a strong genetic basis. In the early part of the 19th Century, German psychiatrist Emil Kraepelin (1856–1926) was able to distinguish the disorder from schizophrenia by studying it’s natural, untreated course. He coined the term ‘manic–depressive psychosis’ to describe it. Kraepelin emphasized that, in contrast to schizophrenia, manic–depressive psychosis had an episodic course and was more benign.

Today, the term ‘bipolar disorder’ or ‘bipolar affective disorder’ is used as it is thought to be a less stigmatizing term than ‘manic–depressive illness’. However, some people with bipolar disorder still prefer the term ‘manic–depressive illness’ as they feel that it more accurately reflects the nature of the illness.


Although the causes of bipolar disorder are still not fully understood, experts believe that it results from chemical imbalances in the brain, and, as Jean-Pierre Falret correctly observed, it often appears to be hereditary. Bipolar disorder may also be triggered by physical illness, sleep disturbances and overwhelming problems in everyday life, such as problems with money, work or relationships.

The symptoms generally occur in the teenage years or early adulthood, and when work, studies, family or emotional pressures are at their greatest. In women it can also be triggered by childbirth or during the menopause.

Like all mental illnesses, bipolar disorder can develop in any age, gender, social or ethnic background. Early diagnosis is the key to coping with the illness; however the symptoms can be subtle and confusing, often resulting in misdiagnosis resulting in unnecessary suffering. Managing the illness is possible and many sufferers lead a rich and fulfilling life through proper treatment involving medication, healthcare, therapy and support. Treatments focus on reducing the impact and severity of the episodes, allowing a person to live as normal a life as possible.

Bipolar_UK_Colour_No_Strapline_SquareBipolar UK

Bipolar UK is the national charity dedicated to supporting individuals and their families affected by bipolar.

Their services in Wales include:

  • Support for young people through their Youth Service, which supports people aged 18-25
  • Link Mentoring Service which provides telephone mentoring sessions to anyone affected by bipolar disorder
  • A vibrant eCommunity hosted and moderated by Bipolar Uk
  • Support Groups running throughout England and Wales.

Bridgend’s Bipolar Support Group runs the first Wednesday of every month at 1:30pm at the ARC Centre, Quarella Road, Bridgend CF31 1JN

All the services mentioned above are available not just to individual sufferers, but also their family, friends and carers.

To find out more about Bipolar UK and the services they provide, please visit the website



Dads Matter UK

Dads Matter UK
By Mark Williams

Recent research from Oxford University found that 10% of fathers suffer from Postnatal Depression.

Hi, I’m Mark Williams. After personal experiences of postnatal depression following the birth of my son, I have worked tirelessly for many years since on raising awareness of PND in fathers.

I firmly believe that all men should have insight, education and awareness before becoming fathers.

With this in mind, we’re launching Dad’s Matter UK this Father’s Day weekend.

Dads Matter UK Logo Crop

The aim of Dads Matter UK is to raise awareness amongst dads and to encourage open discussion and disclosure of anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress during the 1001 Critical Days from Conception to Age 2. This is the crucial time when parental behaviours and attitudes impact upon the critical development of their child.

What is PND

PND or Postnatal depression is depression from the time the child is born to the first twelve months. Though more common in mothers, many fathers don’t really understand the full feeling of depression that they are going through, due to the need to be supportive of their partner and new family. Men tend to put on a brave face and can often end up masking their feelings with alcohol or other substances as a coping method. This can lead to them hitting crisis point many years later.

The Dads Matter UK team will be promoting their first conference in October and coming to Wales early next year. Perinatal mental health is everything involving postnatal depression, anxiety, OCD, stress and PTSD during the birth.

Prevention needs to be in place before the father hits crisis point and it will also save other services like alcohol and drug treatment where some men go to cope with the difficulties. With backing of Chris Bingley whose wife Joanne died five years ago after raking her life due to postnatal depression and a team of professionals already people are taking about it.

Mother and Baby Unit

Mark W. with Mark D.

After speaking to Mark Drakeford Welsh Health Minister, we are hoping to bring better services to Wales with the help of Family national charity whose been going for the past 150 years and NHS Flying starts where Mark currently works on a dads project including training. Mark is hoping that the only mother and baby unit in Wales will reopen again is firmly on the Dads Matter agenda.

Dads Matter Aims

  • Create an online “Gateway” to resources and support services – for the general public, corporate enterprise and Perinatal Mental Health Champions
  • Create and establish a social media network via Facebook, Twitter, Netmums, DadsInfo and more that encourages open discussion and disclosure of the risks and issues associated with perinatal mental illness, signposting available services via the “Gateway”.
  • Create and establish supervised support on social media that encourages open discussion and disclosure with signposting to available services via the “Gateway”.
  • Hold a series of regional and national events, aimed at Corporate Enterprise and Social Care professionals, discussing PND and PTSD and the benefits of encouraging open discussion and disclosure to raise awareness and de-stigmatise mental illness with signposting to available services via the “Gateway”.

If you would like more information about Dads Matter UK or would like to talk to  Mark about volunteering, please look at www.reachingoutpmh.co.uk

Volunteers Week

volBAVO out and about during
Volunteers’ Week 2015

Do you enjoy meeting people? Looking for a change of direction? Want to boost your CV?

In celebration of Volunteers’ Week 2015 at the beginning of June, BAVO’ s volunteering team will be at volunteering information stands in various locations throughout Bridgend County Borough. BAVO will be accompanied by various local community groups and organisations from 9:30 – 3pm each day in the following locations:

  • Bridgend Market – Monday 1 June and Friday 5 June 2015;
  • Bridgend Bus Station – Wednesday 3 June 2015;
  • Maesteg Market Square – Thursday 4 June 2015;
  • Bridgend Market – Friday 5 June 2015.

Volunteers’ Week, running from 1 – 7 June, is a national event which celebrates the fantastic contribution that millions of volunteers make across the UK and plays a huge part in raising the profile of millions of volunteers.

Sharon and Tracy are eager to meet you to discuss volunteering opportunities in Bridgend County!
Sharon and Tracy are eager to meet you to discuss volunteering opportunities in Bridgend County!


Volunteering is rewarding and can make a huge difference to you and your community. BAVO provides a county wide volunteer centre offering a one-stop resource on all aspects of volunteering, with over 300 registered voluntary organisations offering a wide range of opportunities to match your skills and interests.

So whatever you’re looking for, come along to one of our volunteering information stands and we can match your skills with an opportunity that best suits you!

Take a look at our volunteering pages of our website for further information on volunteering >>>

Contact BAVO on
Tel: 01656 810 400 or Email: bavo@bavo.org.uk