Passion of founders and public helps Burnley based mental health charity make amazing comeback

A Burnley charity, that faced closure in the middle of the pandemic, has made an amazing comeback, thanks to the passion of its founders and supporters.

Forced to cancel its main fundraising events, a gala dinner and 'Lip Sync' battle, followed by a funding application that would secure the next three years going on hold, the charity PH7, that specialises in helping people with mental health, closed its doors for the first time ever.

By May the future of the charity looked bleak with the cancellation of events and also funding unless you were delivering front line services.

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Rebecca Jane, who is Head of PH7 Life, said: "We had a serious conversation about closing the charity down.

The 'Pendle Hell' challengers John Deehan (left) and Scott Pickles (second left) present a cheque for the money they raised to Rebecca Jane and PH7 Group CEO Paul Howarth.

"The future was incredibly bleak, there was no funding on the horizon and no events.

"But As Paul, our CEO, Lilly our finance director and I stood in the office, we realised that our charity is the heart of the PH7 Group and the passion in us ignited once again.

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"We refused to close, too many people needed our help and we had to make it work."

Rebecca managed to secure two grants to help stabilise the future of the charity followed by the launch of the covid friendly 'Massive Mental Walk.'

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Following on from the success of the 2019 111 mile walk in August last year almost 200 people divided into bubbles and walked 18.6 miles from the charity's Burnley HQ to the Gisburne Park Estate.

Walkers covered 18.6 miles as 186 people die by suicide in Lancashire each year. And the walk raised the fantastic sum of £12,500.

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Rebecca said: "In September we began delivering emergency counselling to those who had been affected

by Covid-19.. We saw over 20 people who had either lost people to covid, had it themselves, worked on the front line or they had been significantly impacted in some way.

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"These were people who couldn’t get NHS therapy for several months and we saw them within a week of

assessment. We have retained our depression and anxiety recovery rate of 86%."

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Another boost for the charity came in November when pals Scott Pickles and John Deehan launched their Pendle Hell challenge. In an incredible feat of endurance builder Scott and Burnley Express news editor John walked up and down Pendle Hill non stop for 24 hours to raise £6,500.

And money raised by Scott and John will help over 150 people.

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Rebecca said: "Quite simply put this was an incredible boost to our charity.

"We find it vitally important at PH7 to show people how we use the money we are given.

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"Launching the PD Summit Foundation – Helping people reach one summit at a time in December, our sister company PH7 HEALTH launched the PH7 HEALTH CLUB, where we offer a full and unlimited private mental health care policy for £36 per year.

"This gives a person access to face to face counselling all year round, with 90% of people seen within seven days.

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"Our charity bought 111 places with John and Scott’s money to create their own mental health foundation.

"We have allocated 111 places, because 111 people take their lives each week. Everyone who is given a free place will have unlimited access to private mental health counselling for one year."

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The rest of John and Scott’s money will be used to put people through the charity's four-week programme,

‘rebalance, revive and thrive' an intensive mental health treatment that treats the most severely mentally unwell people with depression and anxiety. These people cannot often leave the house, work, or function in a normal daily capacity.

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Around 84% of people are put into recovery after the course and go on to live normal lives once again.

In the last two months alone the charity has helped over 2,000 people which has given a startling picture of mental health in East Lancashire.

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Of patients seen 73% of people reaching out for therapy are female, in comparison to only 25% of men.

Around 65% of people have little interest or pleasure in doing anything for more than half of the days in a week and 72% of people say they feel ‘down, depressed or hopeless’ for more than 4 days per week.

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Eighty per cent of people say their mental health has significantly impacted their sleep, 72% of people say they feel they have let themselves or their family down while 51% of people feel at least once a week that they are better off dead.

The figures also show that anxiety rates have doubled in the charity's patients over the last year and 98% of people say they are not able to stop or control their worrying. And 79% of people feel afraid and that something awful may happen.

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The top five reasons for people seeking therapy are: general mental health (91%) relationships (46%) sleep problems (36%), anxiety about their health (31%) and bereavement (26%).

Fifty three per cent of patients take ant-idepressants. The main addictive behaviour is connected to drugs, alcohol, gambling, shopping, sex or exercising.

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Almost 20% of patients who are depressed and / or anxious also have IBS and / or migraine problems – meaning that mental health is not all ‘in the mind.'

Rebecca added: "We ended 2020 in a far stronger, happier, and healthier position than our charity entered it.

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"We understand how difficult the year was for many of our clients and patients, and we are delighted to be able to continue our work in 2021.

"Our local community helped bring our charity back to life. We were at a point of closing the doors, but through the hard work of the general public, kind donations and community passion – we are once again thriving and helping hundreds of lives."

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If you or someone you know would benefit from one of the free private mental health policies, please email [email protected], or call our Burnley head office on 01282 479929.