A FORTNIGHT'S programme of activities and talks has been organised by a local mental health charity, to "highlight the effects of stress and anxiety and the positive steps people can take to increase mental resilience".

The South East and Central Essex Mind, is launching its annual Mental Health Awareness campaign from May 16 to May 30.

Ken Sanderson, chief executive of the charity, said: “It seems the busier we get and the more demands we have from work and family, the amount of stress and anxiety many people face is on a never ending spiral upwards. This can lead to dependence on alcohol or drugs to cope and this in turn can lead to even more stress and anxiety.

“South East and Central Essex Mind runs a series of programmes to help employers and senior managers recognise the symptoms and create strategies to help their employees who are suffering from work related stress. Many companies and schools have benefitted from this training and are working towards becoming mindful employers”.

He added: “Mental Health Awareness fortnight is an opportunity for people to get involved in the organisation and to raise awareness on stress and anxiety. We need to end the stigma so people with mental health issues feel able to ask for help”.

The local Mind has 25 staff, who work either full-time or part-time, and 29 volunteers and run counselling programmes designed for people suffering with stress, anxiety and depression. The organisation is based at the Jubilee Centre in Southend and is responsible for funding its own local mental health services, independently from national Mind. The Jubilee Centre acts as a hub for mental health services where people can drop in for advice, in times of crisis or if friends or family are concerned about a loved one.

For further information call the Jubilee centre on 01702 601123 or visit seandcessexmind.org.uk.


May 16 - Enrol in Mental Health training and receive certification at the Jubilee Centre! It runs from 10am to 4.30pm at a reduced rate of £60.

May 17 – the charity will have a stall at Essex University in Southend advising students on stress-management techniques.

May 20 – Mind is running in-house mental health training on Professional Boundaries and Risk Assessment at the Jubilee Centre. It runs from 10am to 4.30pm at a reduced rate of £60.

May 21 – Niki Cornish’s exhibition, Silent Stories, launches to raise awareness of the issues people keep deeply buried. It opens at the Beecroft Art gallery on Friday at 4pm until 7pm, and runs until July 2.

May 28 – Free bootcamp session on Southend seafront, provided by MSquared to show how stress and anxiety can be relieved by healthy exercise outdoors. Starts at 9.30am on the beach opposite the Travelodge.

May 28 – Street collections will be taking place in Southend high Street and Leigh Broadway to raise funds for the local mental health services in Southend.

May 29 – The Railway Hotel in Clifftown Road is hosting a TEDtalks inspired afternoon, aptly named HEDtalks, where a variety of speakers will give ten minute presentations on their own experiences and advice on mental health. Admission is free with no need to book, just drop in. It starts from 12noon to 4pm.


Inspired by the internet platform TEDtalks - a nonprofit site devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of filmed, short, powerful talks - HEDtalks will be held at the Railway Hotel on the afternoon of Friday May 29.

Speakers will each give a ten minute talk about their experiences within mental health and then answer five minutes of questions from the public.

This unique afternoon will be the platform for counsellors, fundraisers, service users and lecturers, who all play a part in local mental health services.

This exhibitionstarts at 12 noon and finishes at 4pm.

Admission is free with refreshments will be provided.


IN photographer, Niki Cornish's new exhibition, she explores the "inner self and the truth of what is happening within".

Entitled Silent Stories, it hopes to raise awareness of the issues people keep deeply buried, via a variety of photographic work in which subjects reveal their own personal and often poignant stories.

It has been endorsed by South East and Central Essex Mind, as part of its Mental health Awareness fortnight campaign.

As part of the exhibition, Niki is also showing a short film - Revealing Silent Stories - shot by Ian Treherne, which gives the subjects of the exhibition an opportunity to hint at their Silent Stories.

This ten minute short is also being screened as part of The Southend Film Festival at The Park Inn Palace Hotel on Sunday, May 29 at 8.30pm.

Silent Stories is being held at The Beecroft Art Gallery, Victoria Avenue, Southend, from May 21 to July 2.

Niki said: "It feels good that the local Mind are endorsing it my exhibition and I am proud to be helping support the cause through my work. Something I think people need to be aware of also, is that many people get local charity confused with national Mind. The local charity does not actually get any income from National Mind, if someone donates to that. People have to donate to the local organisation directly if they wish the money to go to local services."

Kristina Stazaker, fundraising and communications manager of the South East and Central Essex Mind said: “It is wonderful to have such a renowned photographer in Southend highlighting the inner struggles we keep hidden in our closets. We want to thank Niki for her support and for bringing mental health into the spotlight”.


A COUPLE of weeks ago, Róisín McArdle Holmes from Southend walked into the South East and Central Essex Mind offices with a donation of £260.42. She had been raising it since January by offering free bootcamp fitness sessions on Southend seafront each week in aid of South East and Central Essex Mind.

Every Saturday Roisin puts attendees through their paces and asks for a small donation, as part of the MSquared project that she runs, which works towards building healthy minds and bodies holistically and without pills and potions.

On Saturday May 28, her session is highlighted in The South East and Central Essex Mind's Mental Health Awareness campaign.

Róisín said: “I wanted to raise awareness of mental health and the links between healthy eating, exercise and a healthy mind. I love doing this and I hope to make a difference to my local mental health services.”

Kristina Stazaker, fundraising and communications manager for the charity said: “We want to say a big thank you to Róisín and the amazing ongoing support she has shown for people suffering with mental health difficulties in Southend. We couldn’t do any of our work without supporters like her”.