Charity to celebrate 50 years of helping Norfolk’s mental health patients

Staff at Norwich Mind celebrating it's 50th anniversary.Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Staff at Norwich Mind celebrating it's 50th anniversary.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

For half a century it has helped thousands of people during their worst moments.

Whether they have suffered from anxiety, depression, bipolar or personality disorder, or other mental illnesses – Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind has been there to help.

And on Saturday the charity, which provides services to people all over the county is inviting the public to join the celebrations for its 50th anniversary.

Amanda Headley, chief executive of Norwich Mind, said mental healthcare had travelled a long way since 1966 – both for treatment given and discrimination experienced by patients. She described Mind's 50 years as an 'amazing journey'.

Since being set up – in a world where mental health patients often spent the remainder of their days in 'asylums' (mental health hospitals) viewed with fear and mystery by the outside world – Norwich Mind has grown enormously.

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It launched with the simple aim of helping more patients be fit for discharge to special housing but has since evolved to become a full-scale charity which receives more than £2m from local NHS bosses to provide services for mentally ill people.

Using around 120 staff, some of whom are part-time, and volunteers – many of whom have had mental health problems of their own – the charity has been able to utilise the first-hand experiences of patients to help others in need.

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Mrs Headley said: 'It's been an amazing journey, but there is still much to do.

'We want to be really responsive to people's needs, and increasingly look after people with serious and long-term problems.

'The next 50 years will almost certainly see lots more changes and it is hard to know what those might be – but lets hope this includes parity of funding and parity of esteem between mental health and physical health so that service provision is improved and any stigma and discrimination is removed.'

The charity will celebrate its anniversary on Saturday with a raft of activities planned at an event at the Forum in Norwich.

The free event will feature an art exhibition depicting Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind and mental health throughout the years.

There will also be information stands, complementary therapies, and mindfulness sessions.

Other activities such as drumming, singing, face-painting, mindfulness colouring, and a smoothie bike will all be available to the public.

A choir, drumming group, band, and singer will perform throughout the day. The event, which will be opened by former Norfolk coroner and now Mind patron William Armstrong, is held between 11am-4pm. For more information on Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind call 01603 432457 or visit

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