01268 284130

Testimonials - Service Users


“I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Basildon Mind”

I contacted Basildon Mind’s counselling service due to the long waiting time for NHS counselling. I needed help and had heard good reviews about Basildon Mind. I called Basildon Mind’s ‘Helpline’. They were ‘mind-blowingly’ nice! I’m convinced that the Helpline is saving people’s lives. I didn’t find it hard to call the Helpline because I wanted to get help.

I spent 3 months on the waiting list. During this time a Helpliner actually called me to ask if I was ok and let me know that I’ve not bene forgotten about. They really do care – I got the feeling that it was much more than just doing their job.

I started 1:1 counselling in November 2023 and completed my 12 weeks in April 2024.

My goal was to achieve a sense of normality again. I wanted someone to listen to me and make me feel like I’m as normal as I can be. The Whitmore Way venue is a lovely, warm and friendly place. I was welcomed into the waiting room every week, the staff always said hello, had a chat and offered a cup of tea, which all relaxed me ready for my counselling. It was all so nice and full of kindness.

My counsellor was excellent. I felt he totally listened to me and didn’t judge me. It felt like someone was on my side. He made me realise that my strange (paranoid) thoughts are not due to me or my condition. He said it’s normal to feel how I feel sometimes.

I achieved my counselling goal: I came out feeling understood and now have ways of coping with my life. It’s not a miracle cure, rather learning how to cope and live with my feelings. I came out feeling better, feeling listened to and understood. The effect of my counselling is that my life has improved. I have relapses but I can cope with them better. This has had a positive effect on me and on those around me: close ones tell me I’m more relaxed and not so jumpy.

After finishing, my counsellor said “we’re always here to help you – just call”. I’ve done this and they really helped me. Then they called back 2 days later to check I was ok! Basildon Mind is saving people’s lives. I’m sure that  wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Basildon Mind!

My advice to others is don’t think of counselling as a cure – it’s a coping mechanism – knowing how to cope and knowing that you’re not alone. It’s all about recognising the triggers and having a coping mechanism available. I would you recommend others suffering with mental health issues get help: it can only help you feel better.

I’ve maintained contacted with Basildon Mind since my counselling. I’ve been coming to Basildon Mind’s Allotment project for 3 years and will continue to do so.


I wanted to set myself the challenge of running a marathon to push myself, to start doing things that I wasn’t comfortable with, in order to grow. And raising money for Basildon Mind (after a quick chat with my dad who is a Trustee) seemed like a no-brainer as well. 

My motivation was around growing my mindset I also hoped to maybe inspire others too.  

Now it’s safe to say I definitely underestimated running a full marathon! Training hadn’t gone exactly to plan - with some issues with knees and trips away meaning I was unable to clock in the number of miles I would have been happy with. But all in all I felt more than prepped going into the run and was excited to push my limits, aiming for a time around 4 hours. 

Wow was it a hot day! With heat clocking in at 30 degrees on the day and the course being a mix of trail running and up/down steep country lanes, it’s safe to say my legs had never experienced anything like it! But getting around in 5 hours 54, I was more than happy despite the time being off what I’d set myself. 

I overcame adversity and achieved my ultimate goal of extending my limits. I challenged my body and did what I wasn’t sure I could do. I also raised over £1,800 for Basildon Mind to local help people in the Basildon Borough improve their mental health and overcome their own challenges and adversity. This amazing amount is higher than my initial goal – I’m blown away by the generosity of all those who sponsored me. Thank you everyone. 

I hope that reading about my own mission inspires others to find and pursue their own missions, whatever they may be. 


Basildon Mind’s Helpline can be contacted on 01268-284130 or infoline@Basmind.org 

If you’d like to fundraise with us please email fundraising@basmind.org 

If you’d like to volunteer with us, please email volunteering@Basmind.org 

David's Story

I heard about Basildon Mind through the Basildon Borough magazine: I saw an advert in early 2022. I’ve always been a walker and I’ve always been interested in Mental health. This started when I did some youth work which I found this interesting. It led to me qualifying as a Youth and Community Worker and later as a Counsellor.

Having retired and experienced the Covid-19 pandemic, I felt quite cut off from my local community and felt the need to re-engage, start walking at a pace and using my skills.

I joined the Basildon Mind Friday walking group, who meet outside the Vange Community Hall every Friday at 10am. I was made feel very welcome by the Walk Leader, the Talking Therapist and the group, which is quite diverse and very friendly (Basildon Mind’s ‘Walk and Talk’ is led by a qualified Walk Leader, accompanied by a qualified Counsellor who walkers can talk to during and after each walk). That part of Vange is pleasant to walk around.

Over time, the activity has developed into a social group. This was helped when we started having a post-walk coffee and chat each week, which usually lasts 30 minutes.

My next step was to support the Talking Therapist during some training she wanted to run. I felt I could support her having done lots of training in the past. So far we have run 2 Suicide Prevention workshops together: the demand is so high that we will run more.

One of my concerns working with organisations is that it’s important to look after the welfare of your staff and volunteers, so they feel supported in their job or role. A way to put this into practice was to run a Stress Management workshop, which I did in June 2023. I was also asked to set up a confidential service to give anyone an opportunity to talk over something that’s troubling them on an individual basis and Basildon Mind’s ‘Let Us Talk’ internal service has been running since July.

Joining Basildon Mind’s walk and volunteering with them has been great for my physical health and allowed me to use my work experience to help others.

It seems to me that the value of talking therapies is becoming more prominent. I would encourage anyone suffering with their mental health to take the first step – think about talking to a professional or even a good friend or relative. There are lots of different organisations out there who can help you.

Basildon Mind’s Helpline can be contacted on 01268-284130 or infoline@Basmind.org

If you’d like to join one of our walks, or volunteer with us, please email volunteering@Basmind.org

Valerie’s Counselling Journey

Before quitting and becoming a counselling student, Valerie’s work related to counselling in primary and secondary schools. There she saw the ‘amazing’ effect that counselling training had on a colleague’s ability to help children. “I fell in love with the idea of becoming a counsellor and enrolled on a course myself”.

“Changing career and becoming a mature student was not easy!” said Valerie. “As well as counselling, I had to learn IT skills which didn’t come easily. But it’s a career I love. It’s worth it”.

Valerie started with a 1-year Induction, followed by Level 2. She’s currently studying Level 3. Next year during Level 4, students are required to find a Student Counsellor placement and undertake 100 hours of practical counselling. This is where Basildon Mind comes in.

As a Level 3 student, Valerie was looking for a part-time role. She saw an advert for a ‘Helpliner’ at Basildon Mind. The role involves interacting with clients on the phone and face-to-face. The latter involves welcoming clients into the building and making them feel relaxed. On the phone, calls range from simple admin tasks, providing a listening ear to those who just want to chat, signposting to other services, or helping people who are in distress. In between face-to-face and phone comes paperwork and the charity’s database.

What Valerie soon discovered is that being a Helpliner is excellent training for becoming a counsellor. “Although the role is suited to someone with knowledge of counselling skills like listening and being non-judgemental, it teaches you how to communicate with people in distress”. “Being in the caller’s Frame of Reference, using empathy not sympathy and being there for someone in crisis, are all skills I practice regularly. Working with real people with real feelings I’ve learnt to be patient, to understand the caller is in a certain place and needs help and that often I’m their first port of call in a crisis”.

“Additionally, as the Helpline is in the building where counselling takes place, I get to interact with experienced counsellors who’ve been on the journey that I’m on. As well as discussing theories I learn at college, we discuss real situations and how to deal with them. This extends to how to look after myself and concentrate on my own self-care”.

“After 8 months, as well as improving my communication skills,  I also have a much better understanding of important topics like safeguarding and confidentiality. It’s helped me make the leap from theory into practice”.

“I feel much better prepared for any interview for a student counsellor placement. I understand that interviews test the student’s understanding of ‘real life’ counselling situations like safeguarding and confidentiality. My improved understanding of these tricky subjects came via my Helpliner role”.

Valerie’s advice to other counselling students is “the experience has been invaluable, a really good way of seeing counselling in action”. “I’m not a counsellor yet but a Helpliner is a great way to see the variety of clients and situations that I will encounter in the future – and how to deal with them and myself”. “It’s a practical learning arena which you just can’t get anywhere else; making the leap from theory to practice. Your counselling skills are put to the test when you’re on the phone. It’s a holistic approach to learning how to be a counsellor. It’s invaluable. It’s enjoyable. It’s a role I love”.

Ciara's Story

Ciara used Basildon Mind’s Youth counselling service in 2016/17. She was referred by her doctor to help her cope with her ‘Non-Epileptic Attack Disorder’. Ciara said “I suffered from sudden absences which I found humiliating and degrading. My GP recommended counselling to try and help me understand, accept and live with what was happening.”

Ciara started counselling in October 2016. As a teenager at a difficult age she was not keen to attend. However, her mum persuaded her to try one counselling session in Basildon Mind’s Whitmore Way counselling suite. With “a lot going on” she reluctantly attended her first session, after which she changed her mind.

It didn’t take long for Ciara to realise that counselling could help her. “Even at the end of the first counselling session, I couldn’t hide the fact that I already felt better”. “ I had the biggest smile on my face”. During the next 4 months, Ciara and her counsellor worked together so she could come to terms with her medical condition.

Ciara’s counselling goal was to understand her condition and accept it. “I needed to accept my medical condition, learn how to live with it and not let it control my life”. “My counsellor spent time really getting to know me and we developed a good relationship”.

Ciara’s experience of Basildon Mind was really positive. She felt “100% listened to by her counsellor” and “immediately felt at home” at the counselling venue. “It felt like home”. “All the staff were friendly”.

After around 12 counselling sessions, Ciara did achieve her counselling goal. “I learned to accept that everyone is different; to accept that the bad bits are just as much a part of me as the good bits”. “My counselling made me no longer scared and able to get on with my life and continue my education”. For Ciara, that meant university and she is looking forward to graduating in mid-2023. “My counselling has given me the honest confidence to be the real Ciara”.

Reflecting on her counselling journey, Ciara is so glad she listened to her mum. Her advice to others suffering with their mental health is “talking is the way forward”. If you need help, consider counselling.

Jon's Story

Jon became a Basildon Mind Allotment volunteer in summer 2021. “I was really struggling with my mental health so the Basildon Hospital Mental Health Unit Crisis Team referred me to Basildon Mind.

Jon contacted our Volunteer Coordinator Jill who brought him to the Allotment, located in Vange, Basildon. “I have always liked gardening and find it is good for my mental health. I’ve grown crops in my back garden and wanted to take it to the next level without having my own plot. The Basildon Mind Allotment seemed a really good next step at a time when I really needed help”.

From the start Jon liked the Allotment and “felt part of the friendly team”. “We all have the same interest and I really like the team. The project is run as a democracy and I have as much say as anyone else. This boosted my confidence because I felt listed to and it felt like I had something worth saying”.

Jon’s goals were “to meet people with the same interest, to watch things grow and achieve peace”. He said “when I’m at the Allotment, my problems don’t seem so big. The Allotment is a fantastic place which has something for everyone: gardening, DIY, cutting the grass or just socialising. I feel like I’ve made friends – which is something I was not expecting – because everyone is equal and can do as much or as little as they like”.

After more than a year, Jon has long since exceeded his goals: “the Allotment has given me something to carry on for. It’s helped my self-confidence and I’m now able to join other groups away from Basildon Mind”. However, Jon plans to remain part of the small Allotment team. “Every year is a different year when it comes to gardening. It’s amazing how much I’ve learnt about gardening”.

“More importantly, the Allotment has given me purpose. If my mind runs away I can bring my thoughts back to the Allotment. It has allowed me to get closer to people I didn’t feel confident enough to before. In summary it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me!”

Jon plans to volunteer in other parts of Basildon Mind, like the Charity Shop, or fundraise “because it’s such a brilliant cause”.

Jon’s advice to other people suffering with their mental health is to consider the Basildon Mind Allotment, especially if they are interested in gardening. “It has brought me so much. It can open so many doors and help mentally that it’s worth trying. Volunteer Coordinator Jill was so approachable and welcoming that I felt comfortable straight away”.

If you’re interested in joining us, contact Jill at Volunteering@Basmind.org or call her on 01268 289700

Ricky's Story

Ricky, previously used Basildon Mind’s Mindful counselling service in 2019 when he was “going through a bad patch and didn’t know where to turn”. His counselling goal was to “get out of a rut” and his counsellor taught him how to “recognise triggers” and “some tools to cope”. One of these was to use his interest in fitness, especially running and yoga. 

In 2021 Ricky sadly lost his dad to Covid-19. Again Ricky was left feeling “stagnant’ and “needed to do something with purpose”. A chance encounter with Basildon Mind’s Counselling Manager led to ‘Ricky’s 500km run’ in November and December 2021. Ricky ran 10 kilometres (6 miles) a day for 50 days to raise money to counsel youths aged 7-18 at Basildon Mind. 

“I was told there was a backlog of Youths waiting to get the help they need. It took me back to my schooldays and I wanted to do something to help. My counselling at Basildon Mind helped me so I was sure it could also help these kids. This sparked a fire and I set off on my run.” 

Ricky’s run wasn’t easy: “sometimes I’d come home from work and didn’t fancy running around Essex. Remembering why I was doing this forced me to go out and run every day.” Ricky ran around Basildon, Benfleet, Hadleigh, Pitsea, Southend and Westcliff. “At first, sponsorship was low. Later money started coming in and the total went up and up. In the end, I raised over £4000 which is unbelievable.” 

Ricky completed his 500km on Christmas Eve 2021, outside Basildon Mind’s charity shop in East Walk where he was welcomed by a large crowd.  

Ricky’s advice to anyone suffering with their mental health is to “reach out and ask for help. I’m so glad I made the first call to Basildon Mind and took the first step”. The counselling venue “feels like a safe place, I felt listened to by my counsellor and the staff were lovely”. 

The money Ricky raised was used to reduce Basildon Mind’s Youth waiting list, by an amazing two thirds! Ricky is thinking about his next venture in 2023. “My run helped other people and it helped me.” 

Enid's Story

Enid joined our walking group in September 2021. She had lived abroad and was staying with her daughter on the Clarion Housing estate in Vange, Basildon.

Enid saw a printed poster at an open day held outside the Vange Community Centre in August 2021. Being new to the area, she wanted to meet new people and improve her physical fitness, so she chose the walking group.

A unique feature of the weekly walk run by Basildon Mind, in association with the Run Fit Club, supported by Clarion Futures, is that a trained counsellor (a Talking Therapist) joins the walk. Walkers can share their thoughts and questions with this person during the walks.

Enid “feels listened to” and “feels she can talk about anything” with the Talking Therapist.

Enid “feels a sense of inclusion”, “met new people” and “can share experiences” with her fellow walkers. The walk helped her integrate into her local community, eventually moving into her own place. Almost one year later she still regularly attends the walk on Fridays starting at 10am. Moreover, speaking to the Talking Therapist led to her volunteering with Basildon Mind, in its Charity Shop and also as a Counselling Receptionist.

Enid said, “I would encourage local Vange residents to join the weekly walk, which is good for your physical and your mental health”.

Why don’t you join our walk? Click on the link to find out more: Walking Group Page 

Talk to us: 01268 284130