Earlier this week, Stuart and Georgie had a rewarding meeting with Joanna Christophi, the Director of Fundraising and Marketing at the wonderful national mental health charity, SANE. Read below for an account of their morning:
We set off for an early morning meeting at SANE's Head Office in Islington, a short 10-minute walk from Highbury and Islington station and a 5-minute walk from Holloway Road station. We arrived at the office, eager to learn more about the charity and to find out more about the life-changing work they do.
The meeting was arranged with little notice, so we both attended the meeting with an understanding of the charity and how they support people with mental health, but little knowledge of the significant difference they make.
We were met by Joanna, who gave us a tour of their office, surrounded by all the people that make great things happen for people affected by mental illness. What really stood out was the warm reception we received from each team and how everyone we spoke to wanted to give us more information on the charity. Also, everyone was smiling and clearly so happy to be there. Everyone we met at the charity was so lovely and caring, and everyone at the organisation is so passionate about the work they do. It was so great to see so many people so invested in the charity’s aims:
Raise awareness and understanding to combat the stigma surrounding mental illness, and fight persistently to improve mental health services.
Provide emotional and specialist mental health support through our services.
Promote and facilitate research into the causes – and more effective treatment – of mental illness.
SANE was founded in 1986 by Marjorie Wallace, who still is someone who is at the core of the charity and still heavily invested presently. Marjorie is a huge voice in the mental health world and actively campaigns on huge media platforms, including LBC. SANE is an independent charity and the wonderful work they do is enabled by caring volunteers and generous donations from Trusts and individual giving, and the fabulous work all the team members at SANE do.
Throughout our meeting, we learnt a huge amount about SANE, in particular the huge array of support provided and campaigns for improving the quality of life for anyone affected by mental illness. This includes emotional support from helplines including SANEline and Textcare, raising awareness of mental illness through the Black Dog Campaign and other media outlets, research into the causes of mental illness and a Creative Awards Scheme (SCAS) that began in 2019 which helps individuals fulfil their creative potential by providing creative materials and funds for projects and training courses. SCAS had such success that the scheme has had a second round of funding for 2020.
SANEline is their national out-of-hours mental health helpline, offering specialist emotional support and guidance every evening from 4.30pm-10.30pm. This helpline is run by a bank of 70 amazing volunteers who have been through a lengthy and detailed training programme to ensure they can provide great help and support. SANE receives over a quarter of a million calls each year and answer over 200 calls a day, so it is clear how vital the volunteers are for this amazing helpline. SANE also provide a texting helpline service called Textcare, as well as a callback service which provides monthly sessions with a qualified psychotherapist or counsellor to help people affected by mental health conditions. If you would like to find out more about SANEline, Textcare or are thinking about volunteering yourself, please click here.
At Charity People, we have colleagues who are huge advocates for Mental Health charities and SANE is a charity we really enjoyed meeting. They have a plan to double the amount of calls they can take each year through SANEline. This means twice as many people will be able to speak to someone qualified at potentially the darkest moment of their lives.
The charity wants to grow each of their programmes further to help more people who desperately need the help. This charity left us wanting to do more to spread their message, we left feeling inspired and eager to tell their story further.
This organisation is truly incredible, and the work they do is invaluable, so much so that it is hard to mention everything in this blog. To find out more about the wonderful work they do, please click here.