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Help in a crisis
Stay hopeful, stay connected

 Focus energy on the here and now

People Participation Lead Su Pashley talks about finding inspiration in a special little book

In a time of ongoing uncertainty, staying hopeful and connected is easier said than done.

Not knowing when, and indeed if, we will ever resume the ‘normality’ we experienced pre-COVID, is a concern for us all, one that is proving notably difficult for a growing number of people.

These unprecedented times continue to take a toll on our mental health. Many find themselves suffering in silence, too frightened to appear weak or to show cracks in their resolve. Many feel trapped in a deep sense of responsibility to be the tower of strength for others who are dependent on them. Needless to say, there has never been a more important time than right now for us all to focus our attention on nurturing our own mental wellbeing.

In a week when young people await the outcome of the A levels they never actually sat and daily news bulletins leave us all wondering if we are facing a possible local lockdown being imposed in our communities, we are wise to focus our energy on the here and now, on what we can control and what really matters.

I was recently given a book by a family member called ‘The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse’ by Charlie Mackesy. I was at first a little baffled, as the title and the book's illustrations had led me to believe that this was a children’s book and I was somewhat bemused as to why this was deemed a ‘must read’ for me?

Although notably sceptical, it was a gift, I was grateful and the least I could do was to give it a read. Very quickly I began to understand the relevance and value of this book, especially in the current climate of uncertainty.

I am not a big reader, but I was pleased that I took the time to be transported somewhere else within this special journey of enlightenment and friendship. It provided me with remedy, therapy, comfort, advice and strength all at once.

No book can resolve loneliness or take away the pain or turbulence of a troubled mind, but reading can, if we let it, provide us with space and time to breathe, opportunity to reflect and escape.

This special and beautifully-illustrated little book encourages the reader to self-reflect, to value friendship, love, and cake! The powerful messages on every page remind us to live courageously and with more kindness for ourselves and others, that calling for ‘help’ is in fact one of the bravest things we can ever do.

It draws attention to the fact that our differences are something for us to value greatly and cherish, not to judge or criticise, that our mistakes are things to learn from, not to feel ashamed of. It encourages us to focus on the strength we hold within ourselves and offers powerful messages that we all need constantly reminding of, but often struggle to take the time to listen to or hear!

I was mesmerised throughout, I couldn’t put it down and while the experience was short-lived, on reaching the end I recall just saying WOW and thinking to myself who can I share this discovery with? So here you go!

Even if you never get to read it in full, I hope you find some comfort in the powerful messages it contains.

Extracted from The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy

24/7 helpline

First Response is staffed by mental health professionals from the Trust and will provide reassurance, self-help advice and support, plus direct people to other services when necessary, avoiding the need for them to attend hospital, except in the case of a medical emergency.

The number is 0808 196 3494. Callers will hear a recorded message instructing them to press either 1 or 2, depending on whether they are a professional or member of the public.

For more information, visit

Keeping in touch and sharing ideas

We will be regularly updating this page with new information, resources and material. We're also active on social media (#NSFTjoinin), where we'll share ways to support your wellbeing and ask you to share the things that are helping you get through.