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People struggling in mental health ‘crisis’ are victims of second lockdown after Newark wellbeing sessions cancelled

People struggling in mental health ‘crisis’ are victims of second lockdown after Newark wellbeing sessions cancelled

Anxious people who suffered under the first lockdown have now found wellbeing sessions organised at a Newark café cancelled under lockdown 2.

Stressed-out people of all ages were to learn important coping strategies in the historic and airy environment of Carriages Tea Rooms in Newark.

Now the second national lockdown means the sessions have been postponed.  

Carriages owner Wendy Baird said the very people they were trying to help could suffer even more. She had secured sponsorship from town firm Barcode Warehouse and run one session.

Wendy said: “It is such a shame that we have had to postpone these sessions which were proving popular. The mental health crisis facing many people in this country now will only get worse.”

The three and a half hour sessions called Beating Lockdown Stress were to be held in the café on Platform 1 of Newark Castle railway station. They are led by experts who guide visitors and offer tips on dealing with mental health issues. They were planned for consecutive Tuesdays in November. 

The charity Mind has reported a ‘crisis’ of mental health in Britain due to the lockdown and has warned it will only get worse with each lockdown restriction.

Wendy said: “I got the idea from talking to my café customers and friends. I recognised that so many people were suffering with lockdown fatigue and needed help. When we moved into Tier 3, the need increased.

“The sessions are for everyone. These could be businessmen and women worried about going back to their office space or and older people who are concerned about getting back out into the community.

“They would benefit people who have lost their jobs and need help with rediscovering their confidence. We have found people can relax in a friendly environment and are willing to share their experiences and ideas on how to cope.

“We have experts around the area who were delighted to help and have kindly devised tailor-made sessions for us.”

Wendy is on the look-out for people to attend later in the new year, and more sponsors. And the 58-year-old says her Grade II listed Italianate premises, with many vintage features, as the ideal location.  

She said: “It would be great to set up a rolling programme of these vital sessions and sponsorship is key so do get in touch if you can help. Our café has high ceilings and lots of space so everyone can keep to social distancing. We have got the experts in the field of psychotherapy, Tai Chi and even a performance poet and actor.”  

Newark psychotherapist Kevin Guthrie has talked to the groups about using a set of resources to regulate behaviour and to focus more on what people can do during lockdown rather than what they can’t.

Tai Chi practitioner Wes Mollison from Newark offers simple movements to follow and to help overcome stress. Newark actor and poet Steve Cawte reads his and other’s people’s poems to make people smile. 

Joining in on the first session was Manon de Moor from Burton Joyce, a retired teacher and counsellor, who said she found the sessions “very useful”. She said: “I was shocked to discover how lockdown got to me. Today, I got away from home and have really felt the benefit. The three presentations were great.”

Sponsors of the first set of sessions at Carriages is Newark-based firm Barcode Warehouse Limited. The company’s customer services director Jo Lee said: “We are always keen to support businesses in Newark and I am in awe of Wendy who always puts other people first. She is involved with the community lunches and now these sessions on dealing with mental health issues. She is making such a difference to our community and we are delighted to be involved.”

The firm employs more than 230 staff across two sites and provides end to end managed services on printers and handheld devices as well as manufacturing labels, supplying many industry sectors including healthcare and logistics.

Wendy Baird at Carriages also runs Mis-Guided tours of Newark town centre and has created and delivers a two-course meal every Wednesday for £2.50 and offers it free to those most in need who may not be able to afford a meal or might not eat otherwise.

She has a team of volunteers which help us to prepare around 120 meals every week and this reached 260 at the height of the spring pandemic. She and her team use surplus supermarket produce to make the meals.

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