Leeds mental health charity provides support during coronavirus lockdown

A Leeds-based mental health charity is using novel ways to continue to support people across the city amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

By Joanna Wardill
Sunday, 19th April 2020, 5:00 pm
Updated Monday, 20th April 2020, 1:39 pm

Bosses at Touchstone, based in Hunslet, have said the need for mental health and wellbeing support is "likely to increase" during the current crisis and have sought to reassure those in need that they will continue to provide vital services in any way they can.

But the charity has been having to think outside the box when it comes to how to offer support with the country in lockdown

One project has involved teaming up with the LS14 Trust, through the Live Well Leeds partnership, in the launch of art classes via video chat site Zoom for people at risk of deteriorating mental health, with art materials being dropped off at people's houses before teaching starts online.

Mental health charity Touchstone is continuing to support those in need in Leeds.

The charity is also working with Hyde Park Source to delivery a weekly gardening, seed growing and horticulture session to help people stay mentally well and charity Getaway Girls is hosting online writing and poetry sessions.

Touchestone's Your Space team has also developed 560 copies of a wellbeing handbook for older people, full of mental health tips, quizzes, crosswords and chair-based exercises. The team has also started a 'Letter-writers Against Loneliness' campaign to match people up with a local penpal.

An online meeting place called the Well-bean Crisis Cafe has also been set up to offer one-to-one support over the phone or via Zoom. The cafe is open seven nights a week from 6pm to midnight.

Touchstone CEO Alison Lowe said: “The reality of the impact of Covid-19 is scary for all of us and this is likely to lead to less mental wellbeing and greater levels of anxiety and distress for everyone.

"At times of mental crises, it is essential for mental health providers to step-up and offer their services, no matter what the barriers or challenges.

"I am so proud of Touchstone and our partners for rising to that challenge; finding new and innovative ways to serve the people who need us most and ensuring we build a strong foundation for a mentally health Leeds once lockdown is over.”

For more information on the charity or its partners' work, visit www.touchstonesupport.org.uk or phone 0113 271 8277.

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