mental health

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DATE: 7 October 2020

Changes to Amigo – volunteer buddying project provided by Voluntary Support North Surrey

Amigo, launched in June 2017 by Voluntary Support North Surrey and funded by Catalyst, has been providing volunteer buddying support for people with mental ill health in Runnymede, Spelthorne, Surrey Heath, West Elmbridge and Woking as part of Community Connections.

The impact and ongoing nature of COVID-19 has resulted in a need to re-examine the assistance provided by Amigo. The existing model of integrating clients into the community with the assistance of volunteers has been challenging in the face of lockdown and continued social distancing. We now have an opportunity to reconsider how best to help people with poor mental health re-integrate into activities and the wider community during this time.

After consultation, Catalyst Community Connections will work directly with people to support their mental health and wellbeing in the North West Surrey area. Current Amigo clients can access support from Catalyst who currently offer 1-1 telephone support and some groups and activities online:

Central number 01483 590150

Surrey Heath 01483 415950

North West Surrey 01784 440378

For more information regarding Catalyst Community Connections, please contact:

Catalyst Community Connections North West: 01784 440378 / SMS Text 07919 541424

Catalyst Communications enquiries: Jane de la Rosa 07876 782 681

Voluntary Support North Surrey enquiries: Suzie Tobin 01932 571122


Self Help

Mental Health Self Help Interactive Services Guide

Saturday 10/10/20 is World Mental Health Day with the theme of ‘mental health for all’.

Earlier this year we produced a guide highlighting the range of free online services that can be used to relieve stress or anxiety, which you can download here

Why not use this guide to explore and take part in some of the online activities to help you manage your own mental health.



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Mental Heath Awareness Week 2019

Monday 13th May is the start of Mental Health Awareness Week and the theme for 2019 is Body Image – how we think and feel about our bodies.

Last year the Mental Health Foundation found that 30% of all adults have felt so stressed by body image and appearance that they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope. That’s almost 1 in every 3 people.

Body image has profound implications for our mental and physical health. The more comfortable you are with your body, the greater your overall wellbeing, and the less likely you are to engage in destructive behaviours.

This week we’re appreciating the strengths of our bodies and helping one another feel comfortable in our own skins. Here are a few ideas about image positivity that may help improve your mental wellbeing:

  • Write down 10 things you like about yourself that aren’t related to what you look like but what’s good about you on the inside.
  • Help others – it will make you feel good about yourself, reduce stress, improve your emotional wellbeing and benefit your physical health. There are lots of ways to volunteer in North Surrey and we can help you find a role.
  • Appreciate what your body does for you by giving yourself some ‘me time’ – try yoga, have a bubble bath, go for a walk in a peaceful place or just put your feet up!
  • Surround yourself with positive people – you’ll hear positive views and stories and their positive words will help you see yourself and the world around you in a more upbeat way.
  • Celebrate all of the amazing things you CAN do (breathing, laughing, walking, dreaming) and take care of your body by eating well.

The Mental Health Foundation are running a body image challenge called Be Body Kind. They are asking people to post on social media a picture of a time or a place when you felt comfortable in your own skin – this could be now, five years ago or at the age of five. It can be a photo of yourself or something else that reminds you of the moment. Using the hashtags #BeBodyKind and #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek.

There’s lots of support from organisations in North Surrey if you need to talk to someone. Have a look at the websites of Cornerhouse, Oakleaf, The Mary Frances Trust, Catalyst and Healthy Surrey.

Our Amigo project offers support to anyone recovering from mental ill health who needs help to reconnect with their community and take part in local activities to continue in their recovery. If you are interested in being a volunteer or feel you would benefit as a client please contact us.

Amigo Logo

Amigo Success!

We are delighted with the success of our Amigo project and wanted to share with you the story of one client who has had a positive experience.

‘We received a referral for an individual who was suffering from anxiety and seeking support to go out and attend community activities. She felt isolated during the day as she does not work. Overall, this lady has a good support network but needed extra help to boost her confidence and increase her motivation to leave the house.  We matched this client with a volunteer who agreed to accompany her to attend a weekly support group.  As this individual was not comfortable travelling independently, the volunteer buddy arranged to meet her at the end of the road and accompany her to the group.  We matched the individual with a volunteer who had had a similar experience and had attended the same support group.  The client’s increased confidence encouraged her to try a different social group and enabled her to travel there by bus.  “The best thing about Amigo was being able to find a group where I felt I fitted in.  This has helped me to feel less isolated”.

It’s been really encouraging for our team and volunteers to have such positive outcomes and we really believe Amigo is making a difference to people’s lives in North Surrey so if you know of anyone who might benefit from an Amigo buddy or alternatively if you would like to volunteer to become a buddy, then please get in touch with Laura or Lynnette on 01276 707565 or email


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