Are there enough MH services for those who need it? (Five opinions on the subject matter.)

Last month I tweeted out a poll to see if people on twitter think that there are enough facilities for mental health sufferers. Though the poll didn’t apply to a specific area, it did conclude that 93% of those who completed the poll thought that there were not enough facilities.

Rosie, a 21-year-old mental health blogger from Crewe, said that she received help through child services in 2013 after a 18 week wait. She believes that the situation is reaching a crisis point and that there needs to be more done about it. Rosie’s only option was medication after going back as an adult patient but feels that there should be more easily accessible options for everyone, regardless of whether they have already had help before or not. Rosie took on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and with this, she has been able to work on her anxiety.

“Without sounding cheesy, it has changed my life. I was so sceptical at first but it really worked. I didn’t like leaving the house before but now I’m at university.” she said. She also said that she believes that mental health facilities are needed more now than ever, even if people are able to access mental health nurses at school if they need them.

Through blogging, Rosie has been able to help people who are facing similar problems she was a few years ago. She’s been able to also meet like-minded people and share the same goal of breaking down mental health stigmas.

Similarly, 18-year-old Chloe from Manchester, said that she thought that more needs to be done about the mental health services available to people. Chloe has been on the waiting list for counselling for almost three years and has been told that she is not a ‘high risk patient’ therefore has to wait leat another year. Chloe believes that there needs to be more services available especially towards the counselling sector so people like herself don’t need to rely on medication. With more services, the stigma of mental health can continue to break down.

You can read both their blogs in the links provided at the bottom of the blog post.

Another blogger, who wished to remain anonymous said that she believes the stigma of mental health is still prevalent. Now 17, she still struggles with her anxiety often up at 3am completing breathing exercises and calming herself down. She said: “To improve mental health services, I think it’s definitely to give the same resources and money that is given to physical health and the same consideration”.

Similar to Rosie’s suggestion, this blogger said that there needs to be done within school personal development focusing on mental health of students as there are always external causes and there can be so much more done.

18-year-old Harriet said that there was an ‘obvious’ lack of resources. Harriet found the child services much better than the adult services. With the lack of funding of adult services, she has only been able to receive six sessions before having to go back on the waiting list. Harriet however believes that the services available are really good and staff make the most of what they’ve got. Harriet has found services such as Samaritans and Kooth have been really helpful but believes staffing levels need to be increased.

All four of these emphasised how they believe that there need to be more services and support available for mental health suffers. With more services, more individuals are able to get the help they need. However, there was someone who said that the mental health services available to them had actually made the anxiety worse.

By talking to someone at the sixth form with many different people around, people they knew, it made it feel more uncomfortable rather than how it was supposed to be. There was not enough support available and he believes that the best tool is to help yourself as nobody knows yourself better than you.

Contact the bloggers I interviewed:

Blog link –
Twitter – @rosiebsteele

Blog link –
Twitter – @mysecondattempt


An Interview with Ben Power, Director of ‘Spring Reign’ play.

Spring Reign – A story from the Syrian Conflict:

Spring Reign” follows Aisha and Salah, two Syrians who have given refuge to two unexpected Westerners during the war. The play connects photographers, journalists and ordinary people to the Syrian crisis and aims to provide a platform to promote discussion and understanding. It has successfully used real life personal stories to educate those who don’t entirely know what is currently happening in Syria or wish to learn more about it.

When talking to Ben Power, I asked him a few questions starting with how the tour was. The play has been performed on ten different stages beginning at The Lowry in Salford and finishing at a festival theatre in Hyde. Though it only went on for a month, according to the director, the team were highly successful in achieving their aims and goals to begin with. Ben Power said:

“We’ve been able to hear people really appreciate and hear other sides of the Syrian stories. We’ve also been to bigger cities, with more diverse audiences, people with all sorts of different backgrounds coming to watch this play. Again, we’ve had a really fantastic response with these audiences”.

The play has taken a few years to become exactly what the team have wanted it to become. In 2012, the production of the play came into place and a little bit of work was done at Imperial War Museum in Salford in 2013. By 2015, Spring Reign had been taken into the Lowry and a theatre mill in Bradford. It then took a further two years, now 2017, for the play to have travelled around the U.K and for the tour to have taken place.

When asked why the play was called ‘Spring Reign’ Power said:

“While the ‘Arab Spring’ presented hope and positivity through the Middle East, the conflict in Syria has become a humanitarian crisis like no other. In Syria, it was quashed by the oppressive government and his Assad’s reign of terror”.

Director Ben described the play as doing exactly what it aimed to do. With the main stream media showing us the horror and consequences of the Syrian conflict, the play has allowed viewers to see how life has changed for ordinary people such as Salah and Aisha. It has brought communities to come together to understand the extent of the conflict and to find out about organisations who are helping these civilians in Syria.

When I asked him how he’s found the tour, Spring Reign director said: “Very rewarding. My team and I were accepted by the Syrian community and they’ve really supported us with the play. They have had a positive attitude toward it and in some way allowed us to advocate for their cause and it makes me proud that we’ve been able to do this.”

Following on from this, he said that the feedback for the play has also been really good with press releases and audiences showing really good feedback. People have said they were moved and humbled by the performance; that many did not realise the impact the war had on the volume of ordinary people and this play has really shown that. The play has covered topic such as hope and resilience and audiences have really been able to engage with that.

Spring Reign has and is working two charities, Syria Relief and Rethink and Rebuild. Syria Relief are a Manchester based charity which take aid to Syria and work with medics. They also train people on the grounds in Syria and aid them with the basics, such as food and water. Syria Relief have been able to remain the livelihood of the people of Syria and have been able to keep people busy and active.

I then asked him what he thought the solution of the current conflict was. He said that there isn’t a single thing which would be the solution to the crisis. “Nothing can change until civilians are protected. Once people are given safe places and they are allowed to live their lives again without fear. The people who aren’t a part of the opposition groups or the different fraction who oppose to fighting against the government, they need protecting. Once this has happened, there will be space for dialogue”.

The director said that the idea of Spring Reign came by chance, with little background as a political theatre maker, he did not know whether he would enjoy it. He hopes that the work he creates has an impact on the people who watch it, that it encourages them to ask questions but also educate themselves on important topics which affect mass amounts of people.

To find out more about the director Benedict Power and more of his work go to:



I’m watching Spring Reign tonight!

Hi all,

I know I’ve not updated my blog recently, with Ramadan I’ve been very busy and unable to post as much as I’ve wanted to. However, I booked tickets to watch a play tonight and actually I’m really excited. The play, Spring Reign, directed by Benedict Power and scripted by award winning writer Rob Johnston follows the conflict in Syria and tells us a story that reflects the pain and suffering that the people face. It has been showcased in ten different locations beginning at Salford’s Lowry Theatre and finishing tonight at Hyde’s Festival Theatre.

Hopefully I’ll be able to get a good interview with Ben Power, the director himself and hear what he has to say about the play and the success of it. I shall update and upload a new post once it’s finished!

Wish me luck,


World Baking Day: I bake without measuring my ingredients!

Though this blog post will go up after World Baking Day, when I’m typing it up it’ll be World Baking Day so I’ll type in present tense pretending like today is the day. To celebrate, I decided to take on this challenge and see how I get on.

Now I am not a very good baker, I don’t bake often and usually when I do, I tend to either put too much salt in or I end up ruining the mixture by adding too much sugar or flour. This was actually meant to go completely wrong but it didn’t actually go that bad (yes, I have convinced myself).

Anyway, I didn’t use any measuring cups or even a recipe; I just went with my common sense and off I went shopping for my ingredients. Cakes aren’t actually hard to make and if you’ve ever watched the Great British Bake Off then you’ll pretty much know hOW to make them.

For this recipe I used:
– Self raising flour
– Sugar
– Pinch of salt
– Asda’s baking butter
– 2 eggs
– Pinch of baking powder
– Icing/sprinkles

Once I started, it was actually quite easy. Add the sugar and butter, wait till it becomes light and fluffy. Then add the flour, eggs, baking powder and salt. Stir it all together and add vanilla essence or anything else that takes your fancy. You’ll now have a mixture and now you can put them in some cake cases and pop them in the oven; wait about 15-20 minutes and you’ll have them!

Below are a few photographs some of the steps I took to bake these cupcakes.

Basic ingredients: Eggs, flour, sugar and butter.

Mixture made, placed in cake cases.

In the oven, 200 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

Out of the oven, let it cool down.

Let it cool down, decorate with frosting and sprinkles.

Below is a short video of how I went about making the cupcakes –

Overall, I think the challenge was a success, I didn’t ruin the cupcakes and the amount of sugar and salt was actually okay. For someone who didn’t measure the ingredients or even follow a recipe, I did myself proud. I also enjoyed baking so I think I will definitely bake more. It is fun as well as a way to relax whilst ending up with some delicious teats with a cup of tea.


This news programme is BBC’s late show where it incorporates national news and international news. The programme is mainly presented by Huw Edwards along with Fiona Bruce. In October 2000, the show was put in place to replace the 9 o’clock programme. The news bulletin is estimated to have 4.2 million views and is broadcasted on BBC One for half an hour (10:00pm – 10:30pm) from Monday – Saturday.

BBC News at 10 is broadcasted on it’s main channel; due to the mass audience it has, bulletins and news agenda’s follow national and international news. As the BBC is a public service broadcaster, it is vital that presenting style, layout and content caters for as many people as it can. Without a news agenda with a broad range of news, the programme is unlikely to appeal to all audiences in which it aims to do.

With the general election coming up, many bulletins over the month, for the programme at 10, have begun with updates from Labour and Conservative parties. These included a range of ULAY/SOTS with party leaders being interviewed as well as clips from their public speeches. Following this in the headlines came some lighter news about an artist who has waited decades for global recognition. Edwards reports the headlines in a serious, clear tone, ensuring that the reader is aware of what is coming up on the show. Though he does this all the time, his presenting style is trustworthy and the reader feels that the news presented is and will be relevant to them.

Comparing this bulletin to ITV’s news at 10 from the same night, it is clear that BBC follow their own set of news style and content. Tom Bradby leads the same news story headline following the Conservative party, however his presenting method is lighter and less serious than Huw Edwards. Bradby almost questions the headline, allowing the audience to do so too. This is followed by the death of an eleven year old child at a theme park. Though BBC news at 10 did include this in its main headline, it came in last compared to ITV’s bulletin. ITV take a less formal approach on news agenda and presenting style with headlines about girl bands from the 90s in the broadcast.

In terms of the format of both programmes, they both keep the news short and simple. It is easy to understand and clips, interviews and content is easy to follow. They both aim to educate and inform audiences and they do this very well engaging with viewers but just in different ways.

BBC News at 10 can be compared to regional broadcasts such as ITV Granada Reports and of course BBC’s own North West Tonight. The audience for the specific locations would differ to News at 10 because these two shows only cater to those who are widely affected in the North. Comparing the shows to News at 10, it is clear to see that a viewer who watches News at 10 would want world wide news as well as national news; the regional news broadcast is irrelevant to them.

With ITV running their own news at 10, the two shows clearly differ from each other. BBC at 10 tends to be more formal, taking a more analytical point of view whilst ITV at 10 takes a more jolly, upbeat perspective. It is clear to see that the manner that presenters and reporters use on ITV differ to those on BBC because of the conversational tone they use. Though ITV presenters and reporters do keep it professional, BBC members tend to stick to the traditional style of news reporting and communication.

Overall BBC News is considered a trusted source to audiences with 32% rating on the Globescan poll followed by ITV news. The show at 10 o’clock easily engages viewers continuously and rarely leaves viewers confused with the content.



The Magic Notepad

Supercalifajilisticshfhdohvohvoho, well hello there! I’ve started with gibberish because it’s a great way to start a long winded post like this so sit on yeh bike and have a read. I’m just going to go straight in with my words of wisdom. 

So many of us go through phases of our lives where we think that we’re not going where we want to be, how much time we have wasted and we end up feeling sort of rubbish about ourselves. We also have the best days ever and we go through strange encounters on a day to day basis.

Sometimes we don’t have words to explain how we feel or we don’t really want to talk about it. It’s hard to explain to someone what you’re feeling when you don’t even know. That’s where my tiny book comes in. I bought this writing pad from the Lowry Outlet about two months ago.

I didn’t really do anything with it, I just knew that I wanted to have it there (I sort of hoard things like this). Now last month, I felt a mix of emotions. Stress, sadness, happiness, you name it. I didn’t know how to talk it, so instead I wrote it in my book.

Since then, I have carried this with me especially when I’m feeling weird in the morning like I’m ready to have a bad day. When I’m on my way to university or anywhere in fact, I’ll put my earphones in and write. My plans, my feelings and whatever comes to my head. I’ll doodle or I might just read what I have already written in it.

(I like this idea because it’s a space almost; if you want to treasure a memory then in it goes. It doesn’t need to be something you do constantly, just whenever you want to.)

Keeping a pad like this can actually help you because you’ll know how you’re feeling and you can keep track of how you’re doing. You also begin to accept that it’s okay to feel sad some days and even if you don’t feel like talking about it, you can write about it.

I’m not saying that it’s better to not talk about the way you feel but I’ve definitely benefited from this idea of writing and doodling whatever comes to my head when I’m on the bus or when I’m taking a break from revision or work.

I would recommend this to anyone because I have really benefitted from this and you never know, a tiny pad in your bag might bring back really good memories or just the tiniest things.

Give me a shout if you give it a try and tell me how it goes!