Eddy's Good News: Ten great mental health organisations making a difference in the U.K

Virgin Radio

17 May 2024, 16:17

Every day during his show on Virgin Radio Anthems, Eddy Temple-Morris brings you Good News stories from around the world, to help inject a bit of positivity into your day!

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Friday 17th May 2024

Credit: The Burnt Chef Project

It’s mental health awareness week so here’s ten great mental health organisations making a difference in the U.K. with thanks to Positive News 

1 Bravehound - a charity that pairs struggling veterans with support dogs and the feedback is that these heroic hounds are life changing for the heroes they are paired with. 

2 The Burnt Chef Project. 8 out of ten people who work in hospitality face mental health problems and when you’ve experienced the brutally long hours and stress of a professional kitchen you’ll know why. The BCP gives those in the industry free 24/7 access to counsellors and clinically trained psychotherapists, as well as in-person training sessions.

3 Farmerados

Farming is another area where those involved have a higher risk of mental health problems, but a project based in Somerset called Farmerados hosts pop-up kitchens at agricultural shows and markets across the county, all stocked with fresh brews and plenty of biscuits, and good ears, so farmers can get their worries off their chests. 

4 Hip Hop HEALS

Kiz Manley is the UK’s first hip-hop therapist. After using writing as a creative outlet to deal with her own grief, and was inspired to start Hip Hop Heals, a Birmingham-based organisation that delivers workshops to underrepresented young people, focus on self-care and processing trauma.

5) Black Minds Matter

Another area of concern for mental health charities is how to reach the Afro Caribbean Community. 

This charity works with a collective of black therapists to provide courses of one-to-one culturally relevant therapy. “That’s what we offer,” they say. “That’s what you deserve.”

6) Sporting Wellness

Transitioning from being a professional athlete into retirement at a really young age is an area frought with mental health issues. But where can you turn for non-judgmental, confidential advice?

Enter Sporting Wellness, a charity that aims to provide all representative sportspeople with mental health support, whether it tackles retirement, competing with friends or the pressure to perform.

7) Safe In Our World

If you’re a gamer and you spend most of your life online, where do you go when you’re struggling? 

Emily Mitchell was just 17 when she released Fractured Minds, an escape-room-style video game focused on mental health. “Each room represents a different aspect of mental illness and how it affects people’s daily lives,” they have skilled up 350 mental health first-aiders and given 150 people from underrepresented communities mental health awareness training.

8) Songs And Smiles

The programme, run by The Together Project, brings together children under four, their grown-ups, and care home residents for an intergenerational music group. In 2023 alone, more than 2,000 people attended at least one session.

Arthur was 91 when he attended his first Songs and Smiles session. His granddaughter Anita said it brought a “sparkle” back to his life. He told her: “It’s the only day of the week I look forward to”

9) My Black Dog

The original peer to peer support service and proud to be one of The Carfest charities, My Black Dog lets anyone struggling talk to somebody who has struggled in the past and talk to them with real empathy and zero judgement. It’s a text chat service not a phone call because it’s easier for people to be honest and direct. 

10) MindFood

Tucked away in a small allotment in Ealing is MindFood. It might look like your average fresh veg-packed patch, but it’s also home to Building Wellbeing, a programme to help men manage their mental health.

Created after the charity realised few men were joining their mental health gardening sessions, the drop-ins focus on DIY jobs, self-care tips and a cuppa. They explain: “Our sessions are not a talking therapy, so no one has to discuss their feelings unless they want to. MindFood is a ‘doing therapy’: an escape from everyday pressures, and a chance to reset.” 

Credit: Farmerados

To help cap off Mental Health Awareness Week on Live Drive some personal mental health stories of how to cope in rough times. 

Pax, who’s from York told the Positive News website;

At my absolute worst last year, when I couldn’t get out of bed, my dad dragged me out of the house and made me plant sunflowers. At the time it seemed completely pointless to me, but putting my hands in the soil was hugely cleansing and watching them grow and flourish soothed me deeply. Since then, I have regularly planted new wildflowers in that patch of ground and tended both them and my mental health together.” 

Marianne who lives in the Basque Country 


I try to go through difficult times – actually, the loss of my husband after a long illness – by staying close to nature at all times. I never feel alone when I’m surrounded by greenery and animals, and I live close to the elements.”

Rick who’s from Canada says 

I started reading various authors from Buddhist and secular backgrounds during an extraordinarily difficult time last year, which led me to meditation. It has transformed my life. It helped me emerge from feeling submerged with anxiety and stress. I know that I will continue to practice so my mindfulness continues to deepen and expand. There is a better way to live, and meditation is the key.”

I can testify to that. Meditation changed my life too. In 2013 when I was sleeping 8 hours per week it was mediation that saved my life and I’ve done it every day since and it changed the way I deal with stress.