World Suicide Prevention Day – A personal story

This World Suicide Prevention Day we hear from a member of our Life Links staff about their recovery journey, the support they got to overcome suicidal thoughts and their work now to support others.

My experience with mental health started long before I was a volunteer at Life Links. As a child, I grew up a witness to domestic violence in the family home. My Mum was a victim of domestic violence from her partner at the time for many years and growing up I lived in a very controlled environment. This hostile way of living continued into my early teens, when they eventually separated. This had more of an impact on me than I could understand as a thirteen year old girl still trying to understand herself.

At the time, I struggled with coming to terms with their separation and the adjustment to a life without being controlled. Painful memories plagued my mind daily and my emotions were difficult to manage. This led to very unhealthy coping mechanisms such a self harm. I also became an insomniac, sleeping for two or three hours a night. I ate very little, often only having one meal a day.

On November the 12th 2010, I threatened to end my life.

On November the 12th 2010, I threatened to end my life. I had a plan and I was certain I wasn’t going to be here anymore. Thankfully, for me my Mum found out and she got medical advice from my GP. It was then that it was best decided that I would go into a Mental Health Unit for adolescence as an inpatient for two weeks.

It was there where I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and in the hospital was the first time that I had felt safe in a long time. When I was discharged, I went to live with my Dad and my step Mum and begun the journey of healing. I have always been very fortunate to have an incredible support network of family and friends that empowered to believe that Mental Health Recovery is possible.

I spent a lot of time adjusting to life after my hospital admission. I went to school on a part time basis to allow me to adjust and focus on my recovery as at the time, I was attending weekly counselling sessions. It was in these sessions that I grew as a person, empowered and charged with the belief that life would get better and it did.

It was in those sessions and also reflecting on them afterwards that really helped me to understand the importance and impact the relationship between the Mental Health professional and the client can really change a persons life as it completely changed mine. For the first time in my life, I was in an environment where I felt safe in sharing my emotions. I developed a strong sense of trust and security in myself and others.

For the first time in my life, I was in an environment where I felt safe in sharing my emotions. I developed a strong sense of trust and security in myself and others.

After two years, my counselling came to an end but I was armed with all that I had learned about myself and I was finally able to move forward. I started attending school full time and by the time I finished school in year 11 I left with 6 GCSE’S and the world at my feet.

I was almost certain that I wanted to work in the Mental Health Field, but I was unsure of what exactly I wanted to do. I did a two year course in Health and Social Care which then led me to complete my dream degree in Psychology.

During my degree, it was then where I began to question whether I wanted to or would be able to work in the Mental Health field. I questioned whether it would be something I could manage emotionally due to my past experience, or whether it would be an asset in enabling me to help others.

That is when I found Life Links sat on a computer in the library at University. I was looking for volunteering experience as part of my degree and I thought that in order to see whether the Mental Health field would be right for me, I could volunteer and that way I would know.

So, that’s exactly what I did. I sent a copy of my CV and cover letter to Shannon and the next thing I knew I had and interview and then, I was a volunteer and a passionate one at that due my past experiences.

I grew in so many ways through my volunteering experience at Life Links, but mostly in confidence.

I grew in so many ways through my volunteering experience at Life Links, but mostly in confidence. At the beginning I wouldn’t answer the phones on the information line out of fear that I would say the wrong things and the idea of delivering workshops was absolutely petrifying.

It took some time, but with encouragement from Shannon, staff and the other volunteers I begun to build my confidence and before I knew it, I was answering the phone without even thinking and delivering a workshop begun to feel natural. I actually found that I really enjoy public speaking.

Life Links provided me with the environment to grow, trust in myself and my own abilities and rocket in confidence. I took every opportunity that was given to me, including delivering a series of recovery education workshops at Recovery College and taking part in an OCN accredited training course in which I received an accreditation for.

The more I learned about the job role from the Recovery Workers, the more it felt like the right route for me as Richmond Fellowships values are very much in line with my own. Volunteering with Life Links made the decision for me that the mental health field was right for me and that my own mental health experience would only be an asset in understanding and helping others.

So, once I finished my degree in which I obtained a 2:1 classification there was much to my delight a job opening as a Recovery Worker and here I am. I don’t think ever in my life I have felt like I fit in like I do with the team at life links.

I don’t think ever in my life I have felt like I fit in like I do with the team at life links.

The supportive and encouraging atmosphere shows me daily that this is the right place for me to be and the experience of working with my own clients and seeing their progress is rewarding, not just for me but in how I feel for them. As I hope to empower my own clients in the way that I felt in powered within my own Mental Health journey.

Throughout my journey with Life Links and a volunteer and now staff, I have seen the demand for the service continue to increase and I have seen first hand how beneficial the service is for those who use it. Today is a celebration of staff, volunteers and service users and I feel incredible humbled to be a part of Life Links.

 

Gender Pay Gap Reporting 2018

As Richmond Fellowship has over 250 employees we are required by Government Regulations to publish details of our gender pay gap as at 5 April 2017, specifically the difference in average female earnings compared to average male earnings. The data for Richmond Fellowship is as follows:

Gender Pay Gap
The difference between the full time equivalent average earnings of men and women. This is expressed as a percentage of men’s earnings.

Mean gender pay gap = 5.93%
Median gender pay gap = 0.00%

Gender Bonus Gap
The difference between the full time equivalent average bonuses of men and women.

Mean bonus gender pay gap = not applicable (as bonuses are not paid)
Median bonus gender pay gap = not applicable (as bonuses are not paid)
Percentage who receive a bonus = not applicable (as bonus are not paid)

Quartiles
Proportion of men and women in each quartile of the organisation’s pay structure.

Lower quartile = 80% female and 20% male
Lower middle quartile = 64% female and 36% male
Upper middle quartile = 66% female and 34% male
Upper quartile = 71% female and 29% male

Commentary from Derek Caren, Group Chief Executive

The mean gender pay gap for the whole economy (according to the October 2017 Office for National Statistics Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings figures) is 17.4%, while in the Not for Profit sector it is 19.4%.

At 5.93%, Richmond Fellowship’s mean gender pay gap is therefore significantly lower than for the whole economy and for our sector. The quartile figures demonstrate that we have more women than men across all four quartiles and this can perhaps be explained due to the sector that we are in.

Analysis of our data suggests that the 5.93% pay gap that we do have arises as a result of positions held in the upper quartile. However out of our top five most senior positions, two of these (40%) were filled by woman as at 5 April 2017.

As an organisation we are committed to equality and there are no differences in pay rates for different genders occupying equivalent roles. Our pay policy states that we pay employees equally for the same or equivalent work regardless of their sex (or any other protected characteristic as defined in the Equality Act 2010).

We will continue to ensure that our external and internal recruitment processes are fair and consistent. In addition we will continue to undertake wider diversity monitoring e.g. workforce representation and training attendance by diversity groups as part of our wider commitment under our Investors in Diversity accreditation.

Crisis House opens its doors in Lancashire

National mental health charity Richmond Fellowship, part of Recovery Focus, has opened a new service in Lancashire to provide support to people experiencing a mental health crisis.

Willow House, a crisis house in the Chorley village of Coppull, provides short term placements for people experiencing a mental health crisis as an alternative to hospital admission and is being run in partnership with the NHS. Read more

Richmond Fellowship reaction to Isle of Wight CQC report

Our reaction to the Isle of Wight NHS Trust CQC report:

Stephen Smith-Trask, Managing Director for Richmond Fellowship (south) said:

“Richmond Fellowship is aware of the recently published CQC report on the Isle of Wight Trust. We also acknowledge the decision of Karen Baker to step down from her role and welcome the trust’s commitment to work towards improving service provision for people on the island.

“Richmond Fellowship provides a number of services on the Isle of Wight and is proud to work alongside a range of partners, including our colleagues in the NHS, in order to ensure we are providing the very best mental health services for people on the Isle of Wight.

We have exciting plans in place to bring new services onto the island in 2017 and look forward to continuing our support to make recovery reality for people living with mental ill health on the Isle of Wight.”

Notes to editors:

 

Richmond Fellowship services on the Isle of Wight (formerly provided by My Time)

Richmond Fellowship provides a number of services on the Isle of Wight:

  • Quay House Recovery Centre – A community support centre funded by the CCG and Age UK to support people to increase their social skills and support low level mental health needs.
  • Community based service – offering one to one support to people with mental health problems, supporting them in maintaining their housing, attending appointments and managing their finances and benefits.
  • Reablement – a joint project with the NHS to support people with high level mental health needs to reintegrate into the community following a stay in hospital.

Mental health services doing an important job in Cambridge

SUN_logo_Final_low-res

Mental health services in Cambridgeshire are ‘doing a very important job in a very effective way’
according to a leading service user network.

Services from national mental health charity Richmond Fellowship, part of Recovery Focus, in Wisbeth, March and Godmanchester were visited and independently appraised by the SUN Network. Read more

Liverpool comedy event tackles mental health stigma

Comedy trustPeople living with mental health problems have been given the chance to take to the stage and talk about their experiences as part of an evening of comedy to raise awareness for World Mental Health day.

Richmond Fellowship, the national charity making mental health recovery reality, has teamed up with the organisers of the annual Liverpool Comedy Festival to run the event tackling mental health stigma.

Feeling Funny, an evening of comedy held in the city on Thursday 8th October, is the culmination of a project where people living with mental health problems have undertaken work shops in writing and performing comedy.

Read more

Charity staff sleep rough for homelessness

Grazina, Angela and Beth sleeping rough to raise awareness for homelessness

Grazina, Angela and Beth sleeping rough to raise awareness for homelessness

Richmond Fellowship staff braved the cold to sleep rough at an event in Birmingham to raise awareness of homelessness.

Recovery worker Beth Mason from Richmond Fellowship’s Brendan House supported intervention service in Cannock was joined by Grazina Berry, Director of Performance, Quality and Innovation and Angela Williams, Director of People and Organisation Development at the CEO Sleepout held at Villa Park in Birmingham, the home of Aston Villa Football club.

Read more

Charity scheme tackles mental health and homelessness

People living with mental health problems are increasingly becoming homeless

People living with mental health problems are increasingly becoming homeless

A national mental health charity is launching a new service alongside Wiltshire Council to prevent people with mental health issues in Wiltshire becoming homeless.

The Community Housing Support Service is a joint project between Richmond Fellowship, the national charity making mental health recovery a reality, and Wiltshire Council with the aim of preventing people with mental health issues losing their homes.

Read more

Guildford Daisyfest chance for us to showcase our art

Guildford Daisyfest gave us a chance to showcase the talents of our artists.

The event earlier this month was an opportunity for our community arts scheme Art Matters to show new work and run workshops.

The team showcased ‘Heads Up’ – ‘Who are you looking at?’, an art response to the media’s obsession with ‘perfect’ looks and questions how images from fashion magazines and celebrity media impacts on people with disabilities. Art Matters used collage to create images, changing faces and subverting identities to explore beauty and conformity and asks ‘Who are you looking at?’

They also exhibited ‘A Question of Balance’ print – a recent collaborative work with East Surrey College and the interactive work ‘The Creativity Tree’.

Daisy – Disability Arts in Surrey, organised the two day festival to showcase local talent alongside some of the country’s leading disabled artists.

Find out more about Art Matters.