Saturday, 29 April 2017

The Taunton Hearing Voices Group rolls out the Banner for Taunton Live

Hearing Voices Support Somerset

The Taunton Hearing Voices Group, a project provided by Mind In Taunton & West Somerset, has been asked by Go Create to create a banner for the 2017 Taunton Live arts festival which takes place between 24th to 30th July in Taunton Town Centre.

Group members took inspiration from their own lived experience of mental health issues as well as their diverse range of practical skills to pull together a piece of art which focuses on the positive aspects that they all have. The concept that they came up with uses a lot of outdoor imagery to both signify the benefits that being out in nature has on all our mental health and also the idea of working through difficult times and the personal growth one goes through after a period of emotional distress. 

Taunton Hearing Voices Support Group Bio:
The Taunton Hearing Voices Support Group was started in October 2016 to support people who hear voices, see visions, have tactile sensations and other sensory experiences. They meet once a week to share, support each other though their experiences and to take part in other therapeutic activities.
The group meets every Thursday afternoon in Taunton 2pm-4pm.
If you’d like to join us call the Group Facilitator, Marc, on (01823) 334906 or Email:
More information can be found on our Webpage:

Friday, 31 March 2017

Taunton Hearing Voices Group Saved From Closure


Mind in Taunton and West Somerset                                              


Date 31/03/2017

The Taunton Hearing Voices Support Group Saved from Closure

Mental Health Charity Mind TWS are pleased to announce that their Hearing Voices Group has been saved from closure due to generous funding from Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

The group, which has been running since October 2016, was facing closure without further funding. Thankfully, due to a lot of campaigning within the charity and a grant from Somerset Partnership, they were able to secure support for people who hear voices and see visions for the next 12 months.

Group facilitator and founder, Marc Lewis, said: “I’m absolutely thrilled that Somerset Partnership NHS Trust has been able to come through for us and provide us with this funding. Having had a family history of people who experience voices and visions I know how isolating those experiences can be due to how stigmatized mental health issues are in society. This funding means we can continue to provide social support and a listening ear to the people that need us.”

Neil Jackson, Head of Mental Health Inpatient Crisis and Specialist Care Division at Somerset Partnership, was pleased to be able to confirm the funding and said:

“Hearing Voices Groups can be very positive and effective ways of overcoming frightening experiences such as voices and visions. For many people the sharing of these experiences in a supportive group, and being able to learn coping strategies from each other are an important part of recovery.

“We have agreed to fund Taunton Hearing Voices Group for the next 12 months to give Mind in Taunton and West Somerset time to fundraise to support the group and this service in the long term.”

The Taunton Hearing Voices Group takes place every Thursday 2pm till 4pm at the Chamberlains Café at the back of North Street Church. It is a support group that aims to provide a safe and encouraging space for people who see visions and Hear voices.

Facts about hearing voices:
  • Between 70 and 90 cent of people who hear voices do so following traumatic events.
  • Voices can be male, female, without gender, child, adult, human or non-human.
  • People may hear one voice or many. Some people report hearing hundreds, although in almost all reported cases, one dominates above the others.
  • Voices can be experienced in the head, in the ears, outside the head, in some other part of the body, or in the environment.
  • Voices often reflect important aspects of the hearer’s emotional state – emotions that are often unexpressed by the hearer.

Contact –Marc Lewis, Mind in Taunton and West Somerset
Phone: 01823 334 906

Notes to editors

·         More information about the hearing voices group can be found on our webpage here:

·         A Promotional video for the Hearing Voices Group can be found here

·         More information about the services Mind in Taunton and West Somerset offer in the community  can be found on our website at

·         Mind in Taunton and West Somerset is a local mental health charity which supports people throughout Somerset and South Devon & Torbay. We provide high quality support services and information and signposting to local people experiencing mental and emotional distress.

·         Mind In Taunton & West Somerset operate two out of hours helplines under the names Mindline Somerset (01823 276 892) and Mindline South Devon & Torbay (0300 330 5464) who support people with mental health issues in their respective areas. Both lines are open from 8-11 on Tues,Wed,Fri,Sat,Sun.
·         You can find out more about these here

·         More information about the services Mind in Taunton and West Somerset offer in the community  can be found on our website at

Friday, 24 March 2017

How careless language can prevent better understanding (Originally featured in the Central Somerset Gazette 28/4/16)

How careless language can prevent better understanding

(Originally featured in the Central Somerset Gazette 28/4/16)

Students pledges
Students with mental Health pledges

 Mental Health issues should be viewed with more understanding, says a mental health campaigner

My Name is Marc and I am writing this article today to tell you about how it affects not only me, but others in our community.

I have been affected by depression since childhood and found that one of my biggest battles hasn’t been the depression itself but society’s misconception of it. There is still an idea that Mental Health issues only affect ‘other people’ but actually it affects 1 in 4 of us . This ranges from symptoms that people are familiar with, such as depression to more complex diagnosis. Because there is such a huge number of us you either probably either know somebody with a mental health issue or have one yourself.

A few weeks ago in a piece written for this publication a lady used the word ‘Nutter’ .One can understand that she didn’t mean any intentional harm by using the word the choice of language sets people apart from the wider community and creates a ‘Them and Us’ which is counter-productive when organisations like Time To Change Somerset are working hard supporting the mental health community and helping us all to understand the illness and break down barriers.

For the last couple of years I’ve been lucky enough to be given a platform by Time To Change to not only speak out about my own issues and the challenges I’ve faced, but to also encourage others to speak about theirs. Our Somerset Public Health Funded project has 10 volunteers who all have various mental health issues. Our task is to attend local events, speak to employers and others on how they can better understand and speak more openly about mental health.

Another aspect of our work is to let people know what services are available to people with mental health issues. For example, in Glastonbury, there is the Wellbeing Group each Friday which focuses on life skills, assertiveness and employment opportunities.

There is also a helpline service, Mindline, for anybody needing to talk and be listened to 01823 276 892.

But it doesn’t stop there. Minds in Somerset offer much more throughout the county. For anybody seeking support we encourage you to go to

A link to a picture file of the original article can be found here: 

Listening again

Another poem about listening picked out by the team at Mindline

When I ask you to listen to me

and you start giving advice
you have not done what I asked.

When I ask you to listen to me
and you begin to tell me why I shouldn’t feel that way,
you are trampling on my feelings.

When I ask you to listen to me
and you feel you have to do something to solve my problem,
you have failed me, strange as that may seem.

LISTEN! All I asked, was that you listen,
not talk or do – just hear me.

Advice is cheap; you can get both Dear Abby and
Billy Graham in the same newspaper

And I can do for myself; I’m not helpless.
Maybe discouraged and faltering, but not helpless.

When you do something for me that I can and need to do for myself,
you contribute to my fear and weakness.

So, please listen and just hear me. And if you want to talk,
wait a minute for your turn; and I’ll listen to you.   
Quoted in Amenta & Bonhet (1986)

Mindline is a Mental Health Helpline Project which operates 3 helplines to help support better mental health

Mindline Somerset 8pm till 11pm – Tue, Wed, Fri, Sat & Sunday 01823  276 892

Mindline South Devon & Torbay 8pm till 11pm – Tue, Wed, Fri, Sat & Sunday 0300 330 5464

Mindline Trans+ 8pm till Midnight Mon & Friday 0300 330 5468


The Team at Mindline asked us to share this poem about the importance of listening. We're sure it'll touch you just as much as it touched us.


I am here to listen…not to work miracles.

I am here to help you discover what you are feeling…not make things go away.

I am here to help you identify your options…not to decide what you should do.

I am here to discuss steps with you…not to take steps for you.

I am here to help you discover your own strength…not to rescue you and leave you still vulnerable.

I am here to help you discover you can help yourself…not to take responsibility for you.

I am here to help you learn to choose…not to make it necessary for you to make difficult choices.

I am here to provide support for change!

Mindline is a Mental Health Helpline Project which operates 3 helplines to help support better mental health

Mindline Somerset 8pm till 11pm – Tue, Wed, Fri, Sat & Sunday 01823  276 892

Mindline South Devon & Torbay 8pm till 11pm – Tue, Wed, Fri, Sat & Sunday 0300 330 5464

Mindline Trans+ 8pm till Midnight Mon & Friday 0300 330 5468

Monday, 6 March 2017

Hospital kicks off month of feedback by making Time To Talk

Hospital kicks off month of feedback by making Time To Talk - Jenny Langdon

The Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) at the Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust kicked off a month of listening to patients at Bridgwater Community Hospital for national #TimeToTalk day.

Time To Talk is a national event encouraging people to chat about mental health issues with their family and friends. PALS Manager Lucy Nicholls said: "We are focusing on patient and carer feedback during February - in a project we've called #FeedbackFebruary - and Time To Talk day gave us a great opportunity to get out and talk to patient and their families at Bridgwater Community Hospital.

Bridgwater Community Hospital is a great hub with so many services from maternity to x-ray to the Minor Injury Service. We spoke to around 100 patients and their families who were being seen by all these services and were happy to chat and give us feedback - especially when offered a cup of tea and a biscuit when they were waiting!

One lady wrote us a note saying that it was lovely to chat, especially for older people who might not have anyone else to talk to.

We'd like to thank all the patients who took the time to chat to us and to give us feedback about the services at the hospital."

Time To Change Somerset Local Champions Meeting

A note from National Time To Change:

We are delighted to have secured funding for Phase 3 of Time to Change over the next 5 years. With a focus on sustainability, we have been working to develop strategies to ensure that our existing Champions can continue challenging the way we all think and act about mental health and that new Champions are encouraged to join the movement. We are holding an open meeting for our Champions and interested parties in the Somerset area to find out more.

This is being held on:
Thursday 30th March 2017 11.00am-4.00pm at The Albermarle Centre, Albemarle Road, Taunton TA1 1BA.

At the meeting you will be able to:
  • Hear from Time to Change about our focus and our plans for sustainability over the next 5 years
  • Meet up and connect with other Champions and volunteers in your area
  • Be inspired by work already being carried out
  • Share ideas for future activities
  • Finally, to leave with concrete plans in place for activities that will tackle isolation, shame and other impacts of stigma surrounding mental health across your region
A light lunch will be provided with a vegetarian option. Please feel free to bring your own if you prefer. Reasonable travel expenses will be given.

If you’d like to attend please reserve your place by 12.00 noon on Monday 20th March. Please note that places are limited. Follow this link to book your place:  

If you would like to contribute to the meetings by sharing your experience of successful activities you have participated in as a champion, or by making suggestions for future activities then we would very much like to hear from you beforehand. Please email us with your ideas by 12.00 noon on Friday 24th March.

If you have any questions about this event, please get in touch. We look forward to seeing as many of you as possible on the 30th March.

With best wishes,

Lisa Benham
Tel: 07771 335535

Time to Change