Sane, Mind and Samaritans - April 2015

Welcome to our all-new monthly spotlight on an organisation or resource that can help us all in our quest for better health!

The April spotlight's on......Sane, Mind and Samaritans - 3 mental health and emotional support organisations

Read on for all the details and/or download your personal copy here

What are they?

All these organisations are charities which provide help and support for mental health. In each case, their websites will tell you more about them but here is our overview.

Mind ( has the ambition to support people with mental health problems and ensure they are respected.  Mind is a national organisation with affiliated local Minds – each local mind provides services and resources tailored to the needs in their area, for example, practical help with housing, benefits, advice as well as counseling and advocacy. 
Mind runs two helplines - an ‘info line’ and a ‘legal line’ and a text information service, all open from 9am to 6pm weekdays.  Staff help callers to find the right services or information locally. Mind supports mental health in the workplace and provides training and consultancy to businesses to help promote and raise awareness of mental health wellbeing. Information packs are also provided for teachers and lecturers.
Mind also has a wide range of resources to download or buy, covering all aspects of mental health, helpfully covered on its website ‘mental health A-Z’.
Sane’s ( aim is to help reduce the stigma of living with mental health problems. It also runs a helpline, which is open every day from 6pm to 11pm and hosts a discussion forum so that people can share their stories and get support from each other. 
Sane promotes the idea of seeking help early to prevent relapses in mental health conditions and runs a ‘black dog’ programme for people with depression.
Sane also provides information and resources and undertakes a great deal of research, for example into suicidal feelings and self-harm behaviours.
Samaritans ( is also an example of a national charity with local branches. It is open 24 hours every day for confidential emotional support and listening for anyone in distress or despair, whatever the cause. Its service is provided by trained volunteers. 
People can telephone and email nationally or locally, or visit any branch in person during its opening hours. Samaritans is non-judgemental, confidential and committed to people making their own decisions about their needs, wherever possible.
Samaritans works nationally to raise awareness of emotional support to reduce suicide feelings and behaviours, for example by providing a partnership with Network Rail, workplace courses and work in schools. It also provides its listening service at many national and local events, for example, festivals and county shows.

How can it help me with living with diabetes?

Diabetes can often bring with it emotional issues – for example anxiety at the time of diagnosis, worry about the future, fear of complications, relationship or work problems. Sometimes diabetes comes along when you already have a mental health diagnosis or experience, and vice versa.  It’s quite common for anxiety and depression to develop when you have diabetes, for example.

All of these need help and support, but it can be that the medical needs of your diabetes tend to take centre stage, with less attention to your mental and emotional health.  So one way these organisations can help is to reverse this and help you prioritise your mental and emotional health in more detail, talk about your feelings and reactions to having diabetes and / or look at treatment and therapy options, depending on your situation.

Another way they can help is by providing you with information to help make sense of your feelings and to better understand any mental health problems you have or develop. In the case of Mind and Sane, discussion forums help you to get and give support to other people and they have a range of practical services you can access.  In the case of Samaritans, you can call any time of the day or night, so you can be confident of getting someone to talk to about your feelings, even ‘out of hours’.

How can it help me with working with diabetes?

Most obviously, knowing about these organisations and how they help, will help you to pass on this information to people with diabetes you are in contact with, when you think they may need the kind of support they offer.  In turn, this will help people to look after themselves and get support that may not be easy to access or provided in the NHS, for example, counselling or therapy, advice on preventing relapses, detailed information about treatment options.  They can provide a useful point of contact between your scheduled consultations, perhaps.

As a health professional or staff member, you will have skills which are valued by these organisations among their volunteers. It may be that you are looking for a new outlet for your skills and volunteers in these organisations are always being sought.  In turn, you may also gain new skills and perspectives from volunteering, which can help in your NHS work with diabetes.

Finally, working in diabetes can be stressful and bring its own effects on your mental health and emotions. These organisations are for everyone and their resources and services may offer you ways to help you look after yourself in order to carry on caring for others.

Our 3 top reasons to give  a try:

 1.    They can provide additional support, information and services, which help both people with diabetes and health professionals

2.    Emotional and mental health issues are often the ‘poor relation’ in diabetes care. These organisations can help to change that and give people ‘somewhere to go’

3.    All the organisations are highly respected, freely accessible, respect confidentiality and anonymity and, in the case of Mind and Samaritans, have a local presence

Any down sides?

None that we can think of:  among these 3 organisations, there seems to be something for all of us. 

That’s it for now! Hope you like our take on Mind, Sane and Samaritans, and watch out for another ‘Self Health Spotlight’ in May!

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