Charity's pledge on mental heath stigma amid concerning statistics

Mental health charity, Norfolk and Waveney Mind, gives tips to improve wellbeing in lockdown.

Norfolk and Waveney Mind is breaking down the barriers of mental health stigma - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

A mental health charity has pledged to help more adults and young people than ever before, after reporting that 60pc who did not experience issues before the pandemic are now suffering.

It follows the announcement of a major fundraising effort by Norfolk and Waveney Mind to break down the barriers of mental health stigma, while raising funds and awareness. 

With more than one in four people experiencing a mental health problem and 104 people choosing to take their own lives each week in the UK, the need for good quality support, advice, and information is paramount. 

Headshot of Norfolk and Waveney Mind chief executive, Pete Boczko

Norfolk and Waveney Mind chief executive, Pete Boczko - Credit: NORFOLK AND WAVENEY MIND

The charity’s chief executive, Pete Boczko, said: “Now, more than ever, we need support to help us raise both awareness and much-needed funds. There are many ways to get involved from holding an event, taking part in an activity, volunteering, or choosing us as your charity of the year.

“For us, it is all about early intervention. We are passionate about prevention, community wellbeing, and crisis resolution, and we want to create healthier communities and businesses.”

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All funds raised through its training arm are reinvested into projects. And as part of its recent efforts, people are being encouraged to sign up for its latest fundraising challenge - a 24-hour sponsored silence. 

A group of runners at Wymondham 10k, in blue and white t-shirts, raising money for Norfolk and Waveney Mind

A group of runners at Wymondham 10k, raising money for Norfolk and Waveney Mind - Credit: NORFOLK AND WAVENEY MIND

Running from April 19 -25, individuals and groups can challenge themselves to stay silent, helping others find their voice and courage to seek support.

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This paper's Norwich City reporter, Connor Southwell, is taking part and has already raised more than £700. 

Connor Southwell holding up a blue sign supporting Norfolk and Waveney Mind

EDP's Norwich City reporter, Connor Southwell, is taking part in the fundraiser - Credit: NORFOLK AND WAVENEY MIND

The 21-year-old said: “Norfolk and Waveney Mind do an incredible job and, like so many, I know people first hand who have benefitted from their services. I wanted to help raise awareness, particularly in men, about mental health and the importance of seeking help.”  

At the end of last year, the charity launched its community space REST, which stands for recover, eat, support, and talk. People can be referred to access a personalised package of support promoting empowerment and self-care, reducing social isolation, and focusing on wellness rather than illness. 

Its digital platform was launched last year and the second phase will be the completion of its physical space at Churchman House, in the city centre, due to be completed in 2021. The building will host a daytime community hub, an intensive support package, evening crisis service, and a wellbeing café run by social enterprise The Feed, along with events, community activities, and guest workshops.  

- Visit the website for more information about REST. 

- Visit the Just Giving page for more information about the 24-hour sponsored silence fundraiser, and to donate. 

'It had become too much' - Why David Ward reached out to Norfolk and Waveney Mind

David Alfie Ward moved to Norfolk from London in 2019.

David Ward reached out to Norfolk and Waveney Mind. Photo of the image used on YouTube

David Ward reached out to Norfolk and Waveney Mind - Credit: NORFOLK AND WAVENEY MIND / YOUTUBE

He had suffered in silence with his mental health for most of his adult life, for around a decade.

He tried to take his own life in December 2018, and then again in February 2019 where he was taken to hospital following an overdose. 

“The pain and suffering had become too much," he said.

“My sister made contact with Norfolk and Waveney Mind, and the next thing I knew I was getting a phone call and they were just really reassuring. They've supported me countlessly.

“Norfolk and Waveney Mind met me for coffee once a week, sometimes twice a week. They travelled 45 minutes outside of Norwich to sit down and have a coffee with me for half an hour, an hour, and talk about stuff. They helped me claim benefits because I couldn’t work due to my condition and deterioration. 

“They were really, really, really vital.

“I don’t think it’s over the top to say I might not be here if it wasn’t for Norfolk and Waveney Mind.” 

- To hear more of David’s story, visit Norfolk and Waveney Mind’s YouTube channel for Davids Story - Sponsored Silence. You can also hear Maire's Story - Sponsored Silence and Hector’s Story - Sponsored Silence 2021.

All about Norfolk and Waveney Mind

Norfolk and Waveney Mind is a local Mind mental health charity offering a range of mental health services, along with associated training, advice, and information.   

Its ambition is to ensure that no one has to face poor mental health alone and with the right support and resources anybody can create a life that feels meaningful. 

The charity offers support services, one-to-one talking therapies, counselling, residential care, access to employment services, and also provides mental health training and education for businesses, schools, and individuals.  

A group of runners raising money for Norfolk and Waveney Mind, covered in mud

A group of runners raising money for Norfolk and Waveney Mind - Credit: NORFOLK AND WAVENEY MIND

Work is also done in communities to raise awareness and challenge stigma and discrimination.   

Its services support young people aged 14-25, adults, and carers affected by mental ill-health. It is an independent charity that raises its own funds and has its own Board of Trustees who are responsible for its running.  

- For more information visit the website, ring 0300 330 5488, or email

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