Mind Space MK – A Timeline
April 2019 Mind Space MK launched as a community support group and online database.
November 2019 Mind Space MK links with Mind Allies for funding, mindfulness app subscriptions and promotion/advertising.
December 2019 – January 2020 Mind Space MK expands and our founder plans the launch of Mind Space Stockport
Charlotte Appleby was 22 when she initially came up with the idea for a community peer support group. Alongside her friend, and co-founder, Ray Haiden, she planned the launch of what started as a small project run by sufferers for sufferers. The aim was to provide a safe space for the local community to come and open up about emotional health without judgement. A beacon that signposts the services and help available for people who are needing assistance with their mental health.
Our founder was diagnosed with anxiety and depression at 15 when she first struggled with bouts of self-harm, extreme emotion and isolation, starting on a mild antidepressant. She went through numerous rounds of cognitive behavioural therapy, counselling, mentoring and support services throughout secondary school, college and university. In January of 2019, there was a family bereavement. She checked into her local A&E department as being suicidal after self-referring for more therapy through IAPT – Talk for Change and receiving the news it was a 10-12 month waiting period.
After researching support groups online for mental health, she found out the numbers available were dwindling and often the hours for such groups were during the day (therefore inaccessible to working people). She attended a support group for anxiety and depression called ‘Beat The Blues‘ run in a Mind highstreet address in Northampton by Julia Fisher. This now runs every other month. It was, however, a 40-minute car drive away from her home.
Later in the year, one month into setting up Mind Space MK and a few days after losing her full-time job, she was diagnosed with a chronic pain condition. The influence of environmental, physical and interpersonal factors was too much to handle. She focused solely on the mental health support group and helping others as a therapeutic way of healing herself. With three to five regular members loyally turning up each session, the group gave Charlotte a reason to participate in life again.
In September 2019, IAPT – Talk for Change got in contact to arrange the 12 CBT sessions. Her therapist concluded due to multiple failed attempts at therapy and the inability to use structures put in place to cope indicated an underlying problem. She was referred to the urgent care team at ASTI – MK hospital for a psychiatric assessment.
On the 23rd of December, Charlotte was diagnosed with Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder (also known as Borderline Personality Disorder) and prescribed sertraline, in conjunction with amitriptyline, a stronger antidepressant and mood stabilizer as well as referred for longer-term specialist therapy.
This is what she has to say about her mental health journey and Mind Space:
“I’ve come a long way in the last ten years.
It’s always been there, the mind, just like the body but we ignore it to the point of neglect.
My mind has struggled with basic emotions since I can remember. There are times it is better and there are times it is worse.
What has helped me most is people.
My therapists, my friends, my family, my support group, even strangers on the odd occasion.
I spent years wondering when things would get better, thinking maybe if I got a diagnosis that it would solve all my problems and somebody could fix me.
Now, with the label of Borderline Personality Disorder, I don’t feel any different. However, my feelings are validated. I know it’s not just in my head so to speak.
Mental health is multifaceted. To treat it you need therapy, medication, lifestyle changes, support groups, mentorship, and only by combining these essential factors can you have the tools required to face… well, life.
I hope that Mind Space can help those who stumble upon it. My dreams for this little project are big but, if even only one person has benefitted, that makes the whole thing worth it.”