The Telegraph: How dry stone wall building can release your inner zen

To most of us, a dry stone wall is just there. Stretching off into the distance, dividing up the fields, it is something you drive past without noticing, something for sheep to scratch up against. For John Matthews, however, a dry stone wall is a thing of unmatched loveliness. More than that, in its earthiness, its natural heft, its timeless resilience, he finds inspiration. When John walks across the Peak District and sees a wall he doesn’t take it in his stride, its glories stop him in his… Read the full story

Rethinking the way we work

The notion that we can be productive, innovative, reflective and empathetic within a 60 hour working week is ludicrous. BBC has looked at teachers and their working week:

Teachers often feel weighed down by marking.

What will it take to create systemic, lasting change? How many unhappy and stressed colleagues out there do we need to witness before employers, leaders and governors wake up? We don’t claim to have the solution at Crossfields Institute but so far we can conclude that our efforts to create a more sensible working pattern for staff produces as many, if not more, positive outcomes for our beneficiaries. We get the job done because we are more effective, focused and present.

Has a more condensed and flexible working week removed all our stresses? No. Has it completely removed the sense of overwhelm we sometimes get? No. Has it made us more resilient and healthier? Yes. Less days off due to illness than before. Has it had a positive impact on motivation? Absolutely. All in all, there is no good reason for employers to promote 50-60 hour working weeks. No one wins. With happy and healthy colleagues that are motivated, everyone wins.

The Mindfulness in Schools Project


At the beginning of this year Nicky Morgan, then Secretary of State for Education, challenged teachers to ask what they were doing to promote wellbeing and mental health among their students. The Mindfulness in Schools Project is one response to that challenge. As many countries face rising numbers of young people with mental health issues, Crossfields Institute is working with teachers and educationalists to develop and support education that builds confidence and resilience in young people as part of their learning journey.

Failing Beautifully

Interested to read Lucy Clark’s Beautiful Failures, a reflection on the failure of one-size-fits-all schooling and the impact on young people’s mental health. Read Lucy’s account here:

‘When my daughter failed school, it was unexpected.’ Picture posed by model. Photograph: Phovoir/Alamy

Living Well Dying Well – A friend in death: how the NHS is working along death doulas to improve hospice and palliative care

There are at least 100 end-of-life doulas in Britain, according to Living Well Dying Well (LWDW), an East Sussex-based organisation that trains doulas and has organised the London death cafe’s fifth such event. They are not medical experts, but often work alongside NHS professionals in hospices or in the community to help the dying and their families live their last days as meaningfully and with as much control as possible. Read below to find out more

What a bumper New Scientist – food less nutritious now

From Isis Brook, Head of Faculty for Environment and Transdisciplinary Studies:

‘In a recent edition of New Scientist (17.10.15) is a fascinating article by Chloe Lambert on the decline in the nutrients in food.  The cover picture is a food package with a best before sticker saying “best before 1950s”.  It goes on to look at some of the research on the impact of modern intensive farming methods has had on the vitamins and minerals in the food we eat.  It cites evidence like a drop of 43% in the iron available  and 12% drop in calcium.  The vegetables and fruit tested in that long study comparing nutrients between 1950 and 2009 were from the USA but declines are apparent in UK studies as well. Some of the evidence from these studies could be due to less accurate testing methods in the past, but more recent comparisons do seem to bear out a growing depletion of minerals like zinc, copper magnesium and vitamins c and B2.  Some of this can be attributed to changes in varieties grown and changes in harvesting but the article has little to say about the depletion of these from the soil. Compare with material on the Soils Association website

The article makes the point that the increased variety and availability of vegetables in wealthy nations means that we at least are still having better diets than before, but shouldn’t we aim for both availability and quality?’

Upcoming Conference: Young People Need You


Time:    10:00 – 16:00
Venue:  Bishops Hull House, Taunton
Cost:     to be confirmed

In response to the South West Youth Parliament’s manifesto that ‘mental health services for young people and education about mental health, needs to be drastically improved’ a regional cross sector gathering is planned with the intention of demonstrating how politicians, agencies, local authorities, education institutions , youth and community groups, charities, children’s services, mental health workers, social and care services in the South West are responding.
We Need You!
* Conference Submissions Wanted *

Should you have experience of or be involved with mental health and feel that you can meaningfully contribute to the discussion in the South West then
we would love to hear from you.

Call for Presentations Document
Call for Presentations Submission Form

The deadline for submissions is Wednesday
30 September 2015.

If you would like to reserve a place on the event or request more details please contact

The Taboo of Mental Health in Education

Photograph: Beau Lark/Corbis, via


According to a survey, staff and students in universities are reluctant to seek help for mental health problems. The Guardian’s Clare Shaw finds that they are worried about being treated differently if they reveal that they have been suffering from mental illness.

You can read the full article on The Guardian’s website: