The x-church is a ‘safe and friendly ‘ place for people suffering with mental health

Catriona Paton, who runs The Pathway to Wellness Programme in Gainsborough
Catriona Paton, who runs The Pathway to Wellness Programme in Gainsborough

Every year, more than 800,000 people die by suicide and up to 25 times as many make a suicide attempt, around the world.

To coincide with World Suicide Prevention Day which took place on September 10, organisations have been raising awareness that taking a minute to offer support and listen in a non-judgmental way, can make all the difference to family, friends and colleagues.

Dr Kakoli Choudhury, Chair of Lincolnshire’s Suicide Prevention Steering Group, said: “People who have moved past feelings of suicide often describe realising that they did not want to die but instead wanted someone to intervene and stop them.

“Many say that they actively sought someone who would sense their despair and ask them whether they were okay.”

Feeling suicidal can affect anyone from any background and of any age. Last year the Lincolnshire Suicide Prevention Steering Group launched its Lincolnshire Suicide SAFE campaign, asking people to take the time to ask RUOK?

A charter that organisations and groups can sign up to was also launched, pledging to be Suicide SAFE champions.

Catriona Paton, Mental Health Lead at x-church in Gainsborough, said: “At x-church we want everyone to know that by visiting our community cafe, they are in a safe and friendly place.

“Everyone is free to talk about how they feel and we take time to listen without judging.

“By signing up to the charter, we are making a commitment to promote positive mental wellness to support our local community.

“No matter how big or small your organisation is, you can pledge to make a difference and perhaps save a life too.”

Established in 2006, Slumgothic was set up to bring the redundant Church of St John the Divine, now x-church in Ashcroft Road, Gainsborough, back into the local community.

The company provides activities, many of which are arts-based and focussed on young people in the Gainsborough area.

In 2015, Slumgothic launched the community café and it has since become Lincolnshire’s first hub for the Shine Mental Health Network and runs workshops and drop in mental health support for the community.

The x-church kitchen, which is supported with food donations by local supermarkets Tesco, M&S and Aldi.

The x-churhch has around 50 volunteers who help make everything happen as well as financial support from West Lindsey District Council, Lincolnshire Community Foundation, The Tudor Trust, The People’s Health Trust, IGas, Lincolnshire Partnership Foundation Trust, Evan Cornish Trust, Comic Relief, Dulverton Trust, Community First, Lincolnshire High Sheriffs, Thonock Trust, Lincolnshire County Council, Gainsborough Rotary Club, Gainsborough Ladies Swimming Club and Redhill Farm.

The x-church holds a mental health support groups meeting on Mondays and Wednesdays from 1.30pm to 3.30pm.

If you are experiencing mental health difficulties and live locally to Gainsborough, then you are welcome to join.

The groups are very informal and provide an opportunity to meet and share with like-minded people.

There is a team of hosts who are on hand to help anyone who is struggling and they all have experience of mental health difficulties themselves

The groups are also supported by Gainsborough Peer Link Workers, JobCentre Plus, P3 and the Wellbeing Service, plus a host of other agencies.

The support group can point you in the direction of any support service that you need including benefits and housing issues.

You do not need to go it alone when there are friendly, knowledgeable and understanding people who can support you.