New Sunderland scheme can help people face mental health issues

From left, Jaqueline Clarke, volunteer Bev Metters-Brook,  Kath Smith, training manager Kathy McKenna. Sunderland City Councils Elouise Robinson, Janice Rokini, director of Aspire Learning Support and Wellbeing and Pat Lamb.
From left, Jaqueline Clarke, volunteer Bev Metters-Brook, Kath Smith, training manager Kathy McKenna. Sunderland City Councils Elouise Robinson, Janice Rokini, director of Aspire Learning Support and Wellbeing and Pat Lamb.
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A new scheme is encouraging Wearsiders to seek help and support rather than face mental health issues alone.

The Live and Learn project offers the chance to get involved with a range of social and learning activities in an informal community setting and find out more about specialist advice available.

Sunderland is one of more than 60 pilot areas to receive a grant to help people address issues such as stress, depression and anxiety.

The project is led by Sunderland City Council’s family, adult and community learning service, and is delivered through Washington Mind, Aspire Learning, Support and Wellbeing and I.M.P.A.C.T North East.

Coun Cecilia Gofton, city council portfolio holder for responsive services and customer care, said: “The aim of Live and Learn is to provide people experiencing mild to moderate stress, anxiety or depression with the chance to take that difficult first step to doing something about it.

“The programme provides an opportunity to get involved in community-based activities where people can enjoy themselves and socialise, at the same time as increasing their self-esteem, confidence and knowledge of what help and support is available.”

Lessons learnt from the pilots will help formulate national policy based on individual support and personal development in the community.

Washington Mind services manager Jacqui Reeves said: “Therapy is not the only option for improving mental health and wellbeing.

“Some people are better served by access to training or education in all its forms.”