Rethink Mental Illness – Dentsu Aegis Leeds’ 2019 Charity Partner

19/12/2019

This year, Dentsu Aegis Leeds chose Rethink Mental Illness as their Charity Partner for 2019.

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After being involved in charity fundraising for many years, providing support to a range of charities both in Yorkshire and UK wide; at the start of the year we held a vote open to all Leeds staff to pick one of 4 nominated charities to be Charity Partner of the Year. After two weeks of rigorous voting, Rethink Mental Illness were the outstanding winners.

Rethink Mental Illness work to transform the lives of people with experience of mental illness, those who care for them, and how our nation approaches mental illness. They provide over 200 services, including:

  • Advice Helpline
  • Nursing and Residential Care
  • Support for those caring for people affected by mental illness
  • Community Support
  • Criminal Justice Support
  • Employment and training and much more

As well as 140 local support groups and run campaigns which bring about real change.

We had been set the goal by Rethink Mental Illness of raising £5,000 in 2019, a challenge that we fully embraced, and we set about developing a calendar of events to help us achieve this goal.

These events included Bake Sales, a Tuck Shop in the office (which went down a treat), a Charity Bingo Night with the support of Quantcast, fundraising events during Wimbledon Week, a charity collection at the train station and individual challenges in the form of Manchester Marathon and the Henley Thames Marathon and, the big one, the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge team challenge.

In total we managed to raise an unbelievable £6,907.74! A truly remarkable effort that will go a long way to support Rethink in their mission.

From the money we raised at Dentsu Aegis Leeds, along with other supporting organisations, next year, Rethink Mental Illness will directly support thousands of people across England to get through crises, live independently and to realise they are not alone. Their website and helplines will give information and advice to 500,000 more and their services, support groups, and members will cover every county in England, giving local insight to helping spread innovations nationally.

We also worked supported alongside Rethink to help promote their message and throughout the year we have supported many awareness days such as:

  • Blue Monday
  • Time to Talk Day
  • International Day of Charity
  • World Suicide Prevention Day
  • World Mental Health Day
  • National Stress Awareness Day
  • Stress Awareness Month
  • Mental Health Awareness Week

Using these awareness days alongside Rethink Mental Illness’s great work destigmatises mental illness and encourages open conversations. There are many examples of the important work that the charity does and how they support individuals, just like Alan. Here is his story….

My eighteen months with Rethink

Alan’s story

I have lived virtually a reclusive existence since losing my dad more than 20 years ago.  Feeling totally alone, only going out when necessary and often going weeks without speaking to anyone.  Having a fear of doctors obviously didn’t help, but eventually I realised I couldn’t go on living like this any longer and managed to find the courage from somewhere to visit them.  This was the start of my recovery. 

Six months later, after being told about Rethink I contacted Rachel, the group development officer.  After a thirty-minute telephone conversation, I was convinced at long last I was going to get the support I truly deserved and needed. 

In March 2016, I attended my very first meeting at my local group, in York. On my journey to the venue, far from being nervous I was actually very excited at the prospect of meeting my new friends.  On arrival, I was met with friendly faces and was made to feel most welcome.  This experience confirmed all of my hopes and expectations and I knew that I was now amongst my new friends and no longer had to fight my problems alone. 

On reflection of the past eighteen months, my progress and achievements have been incredible:

  • My confidence has greatly improved
  • The social anxiety I suffered from hardly ever troubles me now
  • I’ve made new friends
  • I’ve become a volunteer which has meant the world to me – it’s convinced me that I must pursue a career working in the mental health profession.

During this period, I have also travelled outside of my home town’s boundaries for the very first time in eleven years and for the same period of time had the desire to use my artistic skills again. 

Last summer I had to have a brain scan at hospital.  The most uncomfortable moment was laying down on my back having a frame placed around my head and being left along in the room for the scan to begin.  For fifteen minutes I had to endure the horrible noisy sounds of the scanner whilst trying to concentrate on staying positive.  During this time I constantly focussed on my friends at Rethink and how supportive they had been to me.  That was all I needed to get though this ordeal - without them I have no idea how I would have coped. 

As you can imagine this has been my happiest and healthiest period since being on my own.  Rethink have given me hope and belief in a brighter future and most of all, they’ve given me my smile back – something I thought had deserted me forever.

Rethink, I cannot thank you enough - Alan

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