World Bipolar Day

Today is World Bipolar day.

We think it is important to share with you, direct experience of someone who has a diagnosis of Bipolar so that it can end the stigma and misdiagnosis of Bipolar.

How would you explain what Bipolar is in your own words?

A roller coaster of emotions that you cannot control. Being so happy that it is euphoric and then feeling so low – that the only escape is to sleep. And then there are the parts in between I call them the me days. Where I am ok and not too high and not too low.

Can you give any examples from past experiences whereby your diagnosis has been limiting to you and challenging?

There are many challenges that occurs when you have Bipolar – for me was not getting a diagnosis quick enough, which led me to using substances to balance my moods, as I could not understand how I could be so extremely happy one minute, then feel like ending it would be the best thing. Therefore I used substances to stay high.

Other challenges are relationships, as it is very hard for people to understand Bipolar and what comes with a person who has it.

It is hard for someone to be around the highs and lows, as they are so extreme and can come at any point. I am very lucky as my partner understands when I am high and low. On the highs, she lets me go through it by supporting me – taking the bank cards away as spending when on a high for me is usual, as I want everything I see. And on the lows, she brings me food, tea, water, holds me if I cry and leaves me alone if I need to be left.

Lastly, sticking to a schedule is very important for me, as this helps me to keep things straight in my mind. I have been very lucky as futures in Mind support me.

The limitations are when you are on a low you want to isolate yourself from the world. This can be challenging if you need to work -as they do not always understand.

Can you explain how you have managed your mood swings- what helps you to maintain a good sense of wellbeing



-Keeping a diary – this was very useful on the low periods

-Talking to people

Acknowledging that my disorder does not define me and I can get through the highs and lows of Bipolar

How do people respond to you once they know you have been diagnosed with Bipolar? positive and negative stories?

I have been very fortunate that I have had very positive responses from everyone.

What would you say to someone who has recently been diagnosed with Bipolar or who is struggling?

I would say – you’re not alone. Make sure you talk to someone. Explain to the people around you how it feels to have bipolar and encourage them to read about Bipolar so they can understand you better.

Image may contain: water and outdoor, possible text that says 'World Bipolar Day Ending the Social Stigma'

Author: Laura Balerdi
Categories: News

Ongoing support whilst our activities are suspended

We want to reassure you that whilst our services are suspended, we are still able to connect and communicate with all our Service users through weekly phone calls.

In addition to this way of reaching one another, the following resources are available for you to use. You may find them helpful for drug reduction and harm prevention or for maintaining your own mental health and speaking to those who would be able to support you in greater depth during this time.

Managing Wellbeing and Mental Health

Managing stress during the COVID-19 outbreak

Living with Anxiety Amidst Global Uncertainty

Understanding anxiety –

Soothing activities –

For help coping with anxiety – Clear Fear

This free app focuses on reducing the physical responses to threat by learning to breath, relax and be mindful as well as changing thoughts and behaviours. You can personalise the app if you want to track your progress.   Meditation has been shown to help people stress less, focus more and sleep better. Headspace is meditation made simple,teaching you skills in just a few minutes a day. There are many free exercises and videos available.

For help coping with urges to self-harm – Calm Harm This free app suggests a range of activities to help you resist or manage the urge to self-harm. You can make it private by setting a password and personalise the app if you want to track your progress.

NHS app store   Here you can search a range of apps and online tools to help you manage your health and wellbeing.

Online Recovery Resources and Relevant books for maintaining soberiety

Remote Recovery Resources(1)

This is a useful resource for online AA meetings, Smart Recovery and UK specific meetings.

Full Circle- accessing online meetings:

So to access an online meeting using a smart phone the client will need to download and install an app called GoToMeeting (I’ve attached a photo of what the app looks like.)

When the app opens type in meeting ID box ukna OR 437-754-909 (can skip the add email box) then enter name (no need for surname) and save. They can then access the daily sound only meetings. There is a meeting every morning at 11am and every evening at 7.30pm London time. Laptop/desktop users can go to and sign in the same way.

Alternatively, they can download the Zoom app on phone OR tablet device and scroll down the list of various online meetings in specific areas at all different times.

Narcotics Anonymous:

Alcoholics Anonymous:

Go to

Controlling drug use:

Harm Reduction and the Corona Virus – 20

General Support:

Claiming Benefits:

Information about claiming benefits during the pandemic. Whilst Jobcentres remain open they may have significantly reduced staffing and their priority will be to support people who are not able to use telephone and online services. Additionally, people already receiving benefits do not have to attend any Jobcentre appointments for at least 3 months, starting from Thursday 19 March 2020. People will continue to receive their benefits as normal but all requirements to attend the Jobcentre in person are suspended.


Coronavirus and claiming benefits

Government advice about Coronavirus:

Employment Services:

Essex Welfare Service

This is working as a single point of contact during the COVID-19 situation for anyone needing support during this time.  What the service is doing, is collating information from local community hubs (CSP’s etc) and they can then advise on what services are being offered in each area.

Location specific resources:

Essex Wide:

Brentwood Area:

Brentwood Community availability meals etc

Therapy For You is offering the following online services:



Southend Area:

People specific support:

Young People

For those of you who are living with young people, and who are also feeling particularly anxious at this time, this is a great resource. Young Minds is a mental health charity specifically for young people, this is a great place to look for those who are upset about the recent exam cancellations and school closures.




Purple Watermelon is a great resource offering support for families at home:



Author: Laura Balerdi
Categories: News

Further and Final Closures

Please be aware that we are now ceasing ALL group activities. By this we mean all our ‘Peer Led Activities’ such as badminton/ welcome cafes etc.

Should you need to reach out and speak to a member of staff, please of course contact your Service Coordinator on their allocated mobile number or call the central office on 01376 316126, or the Samaritans on 116 123.

Please be assured that we have made clear arrangements for all our Service Users to be contacted reguarly during this shut down.

Lastly, we are keen to hear about any wellbeing tips you may have about keeping healthy and safe during this difficult and unusual time. So please contact us via our main email:

Please also make sure that you read this about how Phoenix Futures, our key charity in this project, is responding to the Coronavirus. FiM Website 16.03.2020

Author: Laura Balerdi
Categories: News

Latest Closures at Futures in Mind

Please be aware that the following activities are now closed until further notice, in light of the current Coronavirus.

We will be updating this list as and when new closures occur, however please also keep an eye on our social media pages (Facebook and Twitter), where we will be sharing uplifting and supportive posts about how to maintain our wellbeing and stay positive.

Please be assured that we will be keeping in touch with our Service users during these closures. Should you need to contact your Service Coordinator, please call their allocated mobile number or call the office on 01376 316126.

Your health and the health of our staff are extremely important to us.


Please be aware that the following activities are now closed until further notice, in light of the current Coronavirus.

We will be updating this list as and when new closures occur, however please also keep an eye on our website.

Please be assured that we will be keeping in touch with our Service users during these closures. Should you need to contact your Service Coordinator, please call their allocated mobile number or call the office on 01376 316126.

Your health and the health of our staff are extremely important to us.


Outdoor activities:
-Essex Wildlife Trust, Langdon Hills
-Active Essex Halstead
-Colchester Allotment
-Harlow allotment
-All football groups in Colchester and Clacton

Welcome Cafes:
-Saffron Walden brunch
-Waltham Abbey

-Suzie’s Tearoom, Maldon

Exercise groups:
-Clacton boxing has been postponed until further notice. The Instructor at Primal combat will keep us updated on when this group may open again.

Reading groups:
-Waltham Abbey reading group
-Discuss the papers- Harlow
-Peer led reading-Harlow

-Women’s group Saffron Walden
-Butterflies children and parent group

Art Groups:
-Harlow art group
-Craft and social Group- Harlow

-Wickford Guitar Group


Author: Laura Balerdi
Categories: News

Latest News- How does the current Pandemic affect our Services?

Currently we are reviewing all news and Government updates due to the current pandemic and will be updating our social media pages as and when changes to our services occur, as well as offering daily advice on how to manage your mental health and addiction during this difficult time.

With this in mind, we have decided to close our West Essex activity groups. We will not be taking any changes to our services lightly, and hope you appreciate that we consider the health of our staff and services users incredibly seriously. If in doubt about any of our groups, please contact your service coordinators, Futures in Mind office on  ( 01376 316126) or alternatively email :-

The list of groups currently closed are as follows:


Our CEO of Mind in West Essex has taken the difficult decision to close all our West Essex groups, which affects some groups for Futures in Mind until further notice. These being:

  • Welcome Space, Harlow, Mind Wellbeing Centre, Bush Fair, CM18 6NZ. Wednesdays 1-4pm, Friday 12-2pm, Saturday 11-1pm.
  • Badminton, Leisurezone, Harlow, Thursdays 10.30am-12.30pm
  • Service User Forum Meeting- Harlow, The Wellbeing Centre, Bushfair
  • The Harlow Allotment, The Wellbeing Centre, Bushfair, Mondays 12-2pm
  • Coffee and Chat, Apollo Café, 11 Sun Street, Waltham Abbey EN9 1ER This group meets on the first Monday of every month
  • Waltham Abbey Library Reading Group, 37 Sun St, Waltham Abbey. This reading group is on the first Monday of the month and will run from 10.30-11.30am for one hour.
  • United Reform Church,New St, Great Dunmow CM6 1BH Wednesdays 10am-12pm
  • Brunch with friends, Saffron Walden Baptist Church, Saffron Walden, CB10, Tuesdays 10am-12pm
  • Coffee and Chat, Loughton Methodist Church, 260 High Road, Loughton, Tuesdays 10am-12pm

All other Futures in Mind activities, groups and Welcome Cafes will continue to run as normal until further notice.

Author: Laura Balerdi
Categories: News

Our Latest News

We wanted to inform you about our latest news:


Every day Life Addiction (E.L.A) is a Clacton on Sea, self-help group, for people struggling with addiction. The group is facilitated by Coastal Academy, with Futures in Mind staff and volunteers in attendance, to help people look at new ideas and opportunities so that they can make positive changes in their life. The group meet every Thursday between 12 and 2pm.

Their address is Coastal community centre, Pathfields Road, Clacton on sea, C015 3JL. Please call 01255 420707 if you are interested in attending.

We are really happy to offer our support and expertise to this new group.



We are currently on the hunt for a new Service Coordinator position for the South East area, including Basildon and Pitsea.

We would be most grateful if you could please share this to all friends and family. Getting the right candidate is imperative to getting people the most support. mind-414661.html?fbclid=IwAR3zjx1NmOGtNZMISbB0nqUfV8OlZyBMbRujhR6fpUl6m8Rjl0poUWyLoDI


We have a new member of staff called James Young starting as a Service Coordinator.

He will be helping us get back on our feet across the mid and North Essex areas whilst we manage some staff shortages.

Author: Laura Balerdi
Categories: News

Pets as Therapy are visiting our Harlow Service User Forum

We have a service user forum at our MIND Wellbeing Centre in Harlow on Friday 31st of January. At the end of the meeting we will be having some PAT (pets as therapy dogs) visiting.
The meeting starts at 12:30 and the dogs will be with us at 1pm. Animals are great for stress, support and companionship.
Why not join us on Friday at 12.30pm.
Address is MIND Wellbeing Centre, Bushfair, Harlow, CM18 6NZ.

Author: Laura Balerdi
Categories: News

New changes to our Welcome Cafes

Please be aware of our new times at our Welcome Cafes, which are starting Monday 3rd of February. We have been asked by Service Users to support more activities and ideas, therefore this has had an impact on the staffing of our Welcome Cafes.

We know that many Cafes are valued and important, therefore we will endeavour to review these times in three months time and will certainly respond to feedback about them.


Author: Laura Balerdi
Categories: News

Futures in Mind Service Coordinator Maternity Vacancy

We now have a maternity vacancy for 9 months, as  a Service Coordinator for Futures in Mind, within the North and Mid Essex area. The role will be to recruit, train and support volunteers, service users, carers and families, and lead on implementing recovery focused activities within an allocated locality of Essex.

If you have any questions about the role, please contact us on 01376 316126 or see the link below for more details about the post.

Group of 4 volunteers at Brentwood Theatre



Author: Laura Balerdi
Categories: News