Come Home

This is a song written by Antix, a London based hip-hop artist & Mind supporter, when him & his brother were battling through the ‘darkness together’.

I came across it because of a blog post he wrote on the Mind UK website. He describes some of the difficulties he has experienced having a younger brother who suffers with mental health issues & how music has helped him through the difficult times.

Happily he writes that his brother is in a better place at the moment.

I strongly suggest that anyone, whether they have similar issues or not, listens to ‘Come Home’ & has a quick read of Antix’s post, I’ve put the link below.


Well-being Top Tips

wellbeing 2We all know that our emotional well-being changes, everyone can have both good & bad days whether you have a mental health problem or not.

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Because of this we at Looking Forward have put together a list of Top Tips to help you have good emotional well-being.

We’ve also put together a list for parents because we know that when it comes to emotional well-being you want to help as much as you can even if you’ve never been told how.

If you or anyone you know has any Top Tips that aren’t on our list get in touch or leave a comment & we’ll add them to ours.

Download our Top Tip Pages:

Emotional Well-being Tips For Young People

Top Tips For Parents

Ment4U Volunteering Programme


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Who are Murray Hall & what is Shield?

At Murray Hall We believe that people are the agents of change in their own lives & our work is about developing self-esteem & a feeling of self-worth within communities & individuals.

We take a community development approach working to promote positive social change, empowering communities while reflecting & being sensitive to their needs & diversity.

Shield is a Project within Murray Hall that was commissioned with the aim of providing help to young people (aged 5-19) in Sandwell to feel happier, healthier & safer. We offer a range of evidence based interventions to support emotional wellbeing.

Ment4U is a new initiative designed to complement interventions already offered by Shield.

What does Ment4U offer young people?

Ment4U is a new Mentoring initiative developed with the aim of supporting young people (aged 5-19) in the following areas:

  • Improve socialisation/social skills
  • Confidence & self-esteem building
  • Emotional Awareness
  • Resilience building

Ment4U will offer young people a trained Volunteer who will meet with them on a 1:1 basis at either their school or a community venue for 6-8 sessions. Volunteers will work on specific target areas that a young person identifies at their first meeting; this could be ‘to meet new people in my area and make friends’ ‘Find a new hobby’ or simply ‘to be more confident’.

Volunteers will be trained in basic CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) & Protective Behaviours techniques and will use these to provide a programme tailored to the needs of each individual young person.

What we’re looking for

Volunteers Must:

  • Be aged 19 or over.
  • Have an ability to relate to & work with Young People.
  • Be a good listener.
  • Have an awareness of issues specific to young people (bullying, school issues, parents separating etc.)
  • Computer literate.
  • Be able to work creatively.
  • Encourage young people to engage with others socially e.g. encouraging them to attend interest & hobby groups.
  • Teach clients skills & coping mechanisms to increase self-esteem/confidence.
  • Contribute to a blog that can be used to educate others & provide self-help support.
  • Plan & attend presentations in schools & community organisations advertising the support Shield & Ment4U offer.

We would like Volunteers to:

  • Be able to drive & have access to a car/ or be comfortable travelling on public transport
  • Feel comfortable with social media
  • Have the ability to assist Young People with school related tasks (literacy and numeracy)

If you would like to be involved in the Ment4U volunteering programme, or just want a bit more information about what we offer please:

Call the Shield Office on 01902 826 305

Or email

You can also download our leaflet for free so you can give it to anyone you think might be interested in volunteering with Ment4U.

Ment4U Flyer


One aspect of the Looking Forward programme which we are all very proud of & excited by is our partnership with is a free, anonymous, online counselling service which is available to children & young people living in Sandwell. It has been running for nearly a year now & over 150 young people have signed up; we think that this is fantastic but want even more young people to log on an get the support they need.kooth screen shot

Once you visit the website all you need to do is click the red “Join Kooth Now” button, you then add in a few details like what area you live in, your age & your star sign, give yourself a username & your ready to go!!

Once you’re in there are lots of forums, magazines & journals which you can take a look at 24 hours a day. You can also book sessions with a counsellor or even drop in whenever you feel like it. You can see what other people struggling with the same issues are doing & share your own personal experiences to help others.

kooth-home-photo3All of the forums, articles & self-help material is monitored so if your a parent or teacher you don’t need to worry that a young person who is at risk will miss out on the support they need. The close working relationship between Kooth & ourselves means that if a young person needs or wants to see a counsellor or therapist face-to-face they can.

If you feel like Kooth support is something you want just click the big red button at the top of the page.

If you are teacher, parent or friend of someone you think would find Kooth useful, we have put some posters & leaflets below. These are completely free & might be useful to stick up in corridors, common rooms or to give to people to read.


kooth poster

kooth card

A Day in the Life

Creative Blogs#adayinthelifemh

Whilst looking around the internet for any exciting news or interesting blogs in the world about mental health I stumbled across an initiative called “A Day in the Life”.

A Day in the Life is a mass blogging website where people with mental health difficulties write about a day in their life on four different days across the project. The first two days have already gone; being the 7th of November 2014 & the 10th of February 2015, & the next day is the 10th of May 2015.

The project will last for a year & is designed to offer people a snapshot of the bloggers lives; their experiences, wellbeing & thoughts. Each blog is up to 700 words long & is an honest account of what happen to the blogger on that day & how those events impacted on their wellbeing. Bloggers can also select from a number of areas such as stigma, work & home life rating them as positive, negative or neutral; this allows readers to filter the hundreds of blog posts into more manageable subjects before they get stuck in reading them.

My experiences of mental health issues have been relatively limited & took place when I was in my early teens so I found it really interesting to read about the lives of other people who are currently living with difficulties which without these posts I would have no understanding ofpos & negative faces

Perhaps the most moving part of it all is that each writer is so personal (even though they’re all anonymous), they describe everyday events as if they are exactly that, everyday; they don’t write as if the reader is stupid or as if they’re a doctor or therapist, perhaps that is just what an anonymous blog on the internet can offer people, a space to write completely openly & honestly & not be judged.

I would encourage anyone who is reading this to take a look at the A Day in the Life website where you can read the blog entries or even sign up to write your own posts. You can click either the picture below or the link & it will take you to the website.

A Day in the Life banner

My name is Mike, I'm a 20 year old administrator for Looking Forward.
My name is Mike, I’m a 20 year old administrator for Looking Forward. I am also involved in delivering therapeutic Aikido sessions to children & young people.

The Stand Up Kid

Watch The Stand Up Kid video designed & created by Time to Change to help stamp out the stigma faced by young people affected by mental health problems.

The Stand Up Kid was created alongside research which showed that nearly one in ten young people in the West Midlands thought that classmates with a mental health problem should not be at their school. The same number of young people also felt that they would stop being friends with someone if they had a mental health problem.

Time to Change also found that 9 out of 10 young people affected by mental health issues had also been affected by mental health stigma & experienced negative treatment as a result of this stigma.

If you or someone you know is suffering from mental health issues or the stigma surrounding them please find support through Murray Hall, Time to Change or your GP.

Video created by: time for change

We Need You!

  Young Persons Steering Group

Click to Download the Application Form

Looking Forward is now ready to Launch its Young Persons Steering Group

We want any Young Person aged between 11 and 21 who feels strongly about mental health & emotional well-being issues to apply. The group should represent all Children & Young People in Sandwell so we want as diverse a set of applicants as possible. You don’t need to have experience of emotional well-being services but you do need to be hard working, committed & passionate.

As a member of the steering group you will represent children & young people giving them a voice when it comes to health & emotional well-being, have the opportunity to influence & shape services & effect policy & commissioning. We also want to help you address the emotional well-being & mental health issues you feel are important to children & young people, whether they are local or national.

We are currently looking for Young People who are interested in working with Looking Forward to design & promote the Steering Group. As one of the steering groups initial members you will have a direct influence over how it is governed & run, & how the steering group operates in the future.

For more information on the Steering Group or to find out how to apply please:

email or follow the links above.

‘Change the Game’ Training Dates

We are proud to announce two upcoming training dates for our redesigned creative and expressive ‘Change the Game’ Training.

The 2nd  and the 3rd of December 2014, to be held at The Bridge, St Marks Road, Tipton, DY4 0LU.

The course costs £99, runs from 9:30 am to 4:00 pm and lunch will be provided. The day will be packed full of activities and games to give you a hands on learning experience so expect lots of physical activity and to be a out of your comfort zone.

Email to book your spot.

Remember that we only have 8 spaces available for each day so book now to ensure you get your place!

Click here to download our Change the Game Flyer and Booking Form


Looking Forward Sandwell

 Looking Forward is an emotional well-being service for children and young people (5-18)  living in Sandwell.

We offer FREE on-line counselling and face to face support.

Our face to face support includes, dramatherapy, play therapy, and counselling.

Our on-line counselling is delivered in partnership by  To access this service simply go to

For more information about all our services  call 01902 826306

This is a Big Lottery Funded Project

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murray hall celebrating 20 years