Mental Health Support

Here are a few resources that are free at point of access.

If you are concerned about your mental health or someone you care for you can contact the Access Team directly on 0300 123 0907 (Option 1)

Or for longer term mental health support you can contact Healthy Minds on 0300 123 0907 (Option  2)

If you have a hearing impairment and are unable to utilise the telephone, you can text the Access Team on 07739 775202 

If you are a carer and need to get some advice there is the north staffs carers hub 0330 123 1937 

If you have a relative in hospital under a section of the Mental Health Act you have a number of rights if you are the nearest relative. This includes things like appeals and requests for information. 

If you want bereavement or life changing illness support support for Stoke-on-Trent call The Dove Service on 01782 683155

If you want children’s mental health support contact Younger Minds   01782 618803

or Adult mental health call Mind on  01782 262100

I hope this is useful. If you are out of Stoke then Access Teams as follows. 

South Staffordshire: 0300 555 5001
Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin: 0300 124 0365
Crewe 01270 655 200


‘A picture is worth a thousand words’ is a very common quote. It can, however, be very true. For those of us that are struggling with our minds due to anxiety, stress, trauma, depression, loss or any other issue, having a special image we can look at or call to mind can help us through those difficult moments.

My image varies depending on the feeling I am affected by, sometimes it is a beach, sometimes a forest, or castle, or snowy hillside or field of flowers. The trick is to create such a strong mental image that when you need to call it to mind it can overpower any other thoughts. It often works best if you practise the image when you are feeling happy and calm. Focus not only on the image but the associated senses, the smell, the feeling, the taste, the texture.

For example the wonderful smell of crisp winter mornings, the smell of holly and fir trees, the cold feeling on your skin and the taste of the cold air in your mouth or of mince pies or cinnamon hot chocolate, the feel of the soft snow or the warm log fire.

Try it for yourself, see if you relaxing/happy image can help calm you from those unwanted feelings.

Creating these images can be helped by a physical picture that you carry with you or have on your phone/tablet.

If you are around Staffordshire and would like counselling to discuss this further please do contact Wright Minds


Not just dancing but any type of exercise can be a great reward. Be it walking, running, gardening, or dancing (any type of dancing – from ballroom to nightclubs) exercise releases some wonderful chemicals into our bodies that make us feel happier and less stressed and anxious. So if it’s been a bad day for any reason, put on those party shoes and dance the night away (even if it is just in your living room).

For those of you more interested in how exercise can help the body this link is to a very talented personal trainer who knows exactly how the body and brain work together, her work is inspiring.

If you are around Staffordshire and would like counselling to discuss this further please do contact Wright Minds

Music Therapy

It really is as simple as it sounds, if you like to be creative musically then pick up your instrument and make a noise. If you can write a song or just make a sound that fits your emotion then do it. Think how you feel, let out those feelings, let yourself explore them with the music you are creating. You are not trying to create a masterpiece, just to explore what is inside yourself.

If you are not skilled enough to play an instrument and drumming on the cooking pots is not your thing then maybe explore with pre-recorded music. Is there a song that makes you feel a certain emotion? Is there a song that replays to help you feel happy or calm? Music can have a strong impact on people. Having a key song or tune that you can call up in your mind when you are stressed or anxious or depressed can be a very useful skill to help calm you down.  Have your song on your phone or tablet ready to play, have it in your mind ready to hear.

If you are around Staffordshire and would like counselling to discuss this further please do contact Wright Minds

Painting for grown ups

Yes that’s right, I want you to get messy! Get out the paints. Get out the paper.  Don’t think just paint. Enjoy yourself make a mess if you want to, finger paint, blob paint, draw like a child, there is no need to create a DaVinci if your heart tells you to create a Picasso. Be you, see what flows from you. Enjoy, have fun, be free. See what you create at the end of the day and see if you feel more relaxed and liberated by it. Paint your feelings.

Painting or drawing, or adult colouring books can also be a great way to relax and de-stress if your minds feels it can’t switch off or if you are anxious.

If you are around Staffordshire and have tried this and would like counselling to discuss it further please do contact Wright Minds.

Stones and shells or hopes and dreams?

Things that represent how we feel about something. Have you come across a smell that makes you think about someone, or a colour that you associate with them? Sometimes we can use items to help us express how we are feeling. With a child I may offer them a box of assorted toys and see what they want to play with, I may ask them what each toy represents, I may ask them why they treat each toy the way they do. Adults can do the same, often counsellors have pebbles or shells or little items in their rooms. These can be used to represent your emotions or events or even people and can help you explore and understand your feelings.  By using the items you can explore a certain person or emotion in details, and see how it fits into the world you live in.

If you are in the Newcastle-under-Lyme or Stoke-on-Trent area and would like to explore yourself more in therapy please do contact Wright Minds.

Creativity and Playing.

Creativity and Playing

When we are young we play, we don’t realise it but during this play we are learning and processing the world around us. We are figuring out physics when we see if we can ride or bikes without stabilisers, or lean as we go around a corner. We are finding our pain levels and finding determination when we fall off and get back on. We are finding patients when we play games together, we learn to play with others as we will learn to work with others, we learn to communicate, when we make up games we are building our creativity. But also when something adult we have seen interests us or scares us or confuses us we will as children often play it out. We can play through grief, love, fear, excitement, confusion all kinds of emotions can come out in our play.

When we grow we forget this method of exploring and understanding our lives.

We forget as parents this can help us with our children and what they are feeling.

Let us think then that playing with our children may be a good way for us to connect with them, understand them and to understand our selves.

Over the next few weeks I will give some examples of being creative to help us understand ourselves more.

If you would like to explore play further and are in the Staffordshire area please do contact Wright Minds

Time for bed?

Recently I was talking to friends and they were explaining how they struggled to sleep and often spent up to 48 hours awake. I often have conversations about sleep, people feel they sleep too much or too little or worry that they always feel tired even though they do sleep. This got me thinking about my own sleep patterns. I feel relatively lucky that I get about 8 hours of sleep a night, but still some days I am tired, others I have more energy, others I struggle to sleep.

I found a lovely website on sleep that was recommended to me and I found some interesting facts and articles on there.

The conclusion I reached is we all will have different relationships with our sleep patterns through our lives and different solutions will work at different times from something as simple as changing a mattress or opening a window to calming behaviours before bedtime, reducing stress levels, herbal teas, medication, or meditation or therapy. We maybe just need to forgive ourselves for poor sleep and be proactive about finding the right answer for ourselves at the time.

If you feel you’d like some counselling to talk about sleep or any other issues please do call Wright Minds

Supervision in Counselling

What is supervision?

Is it being watched? Is it a punishment? Is it a caring term? Is it helpful? Is it for trainees?

There are many uses of the word supervisor. It can mean you are at school and are being supervised in quite study. It can mean you have done something wrong and your work is being supervised, it can mean a manager who is above you and has more power than you at the supermarket? It can be someone supporting you in your training. I want to describe counselling supervision because we all have different understandings and I feel I should be very clear with the terms I use where possible.

For counselling it is an experienced counsellor, often with an additional qualification in supervising in a counselling environment. As counsellors we work alone with our clients, we rely on ourselves and our prior learning and experiences. Sometimes we need to review what we have said to our clients, or what they have said to us to allow us to offer the client the best care. This is where supervision takes place. They are there for a counsellor to talk to about their client work, to review what has happened, to check the work is going well, to make sure the counsellor hasn’t missed anything. They are there to make sure the client gets the best therapy they can and that both client and counsellor are in a safe therapeutic relationship.  Sometimes supervision can be in groups of counsellors, sometimes it’s just the counsellor and the supervisor. The client isn’t talked about, names are not shared, the client’s details are shared, it is just parts of the work and the feelings and academic terms are discussed.

I offer supervision to student counsellors and qualified counsellors as well as attending my own supervision.

It doesn’t have to be counsellors who can access my supervision, anyone around Staffordshire who feels they would like to talk confidentially about their work or staff or choices is welcome to attend supervision at Wright Minds.

Words for Love

We use the word love! What do we mean by it? This is one of the areas where the great language of English isn’t quite as helpful as it could be in describing our feelings and emotions.

“I love you” said Laura to Stef, “I love you” said Laura to Bob, “I love you” said Laura to Dave. What does it mean in each sentence? Do I love each person the same way? Without much context we’re stuck to understand the meaning. Even them it’s not easy to say I love you.

Here I will let the Greek language help me out. They have many words for love. Below I have described 7 of them.

Eros is sexual, romantic or passionate love,

Philia ,is the word for love of friendship, shared goodwill.

Storge is the word used familial love, between parents and their children, between siblings.

Agape is universal love, the love given to strangers, nature, Gods. Often linked to the religious love described by Christians or Buddhists.

Ludus is fun, uncommitted, playful love (teasing, flirting, dancing, seducing) – maybe linked to the word lustful.

Pragma is practical love based on reason, duty, one’s longer-term interests, personal qualities and compatibilities, shared goals, aged, matured. We use the word pragmatism. Could be a base for a longer term marriage, working relationship, friendship.

Philautia or Narcissism is self-love, which can be healthy or unhealthy.

So now I can re-arrange the above sentences Laura said to Stef “I feel philia towards you”. Laura said to Bob “I care you for you with great agape”. Laura said to Dave “I feel we have a strong pragma bond.”

It can sometimes be easier to have more than one word to express a feeling. In counselling your counsellor will show you agape, they will care for you unconditionally, but you’d probably feel odd if they said they loved you.

If you would like to talk to a counsellor and explore your different types of emotions and ways to understand and express them please do contact Wright Minds.