In terms of mental health, recovery does not always refer to the process of complete recovering from a mental health problem in the way that we may recover from a physical health problem.

Recovery Support

Our recovery support services and activities focus on supporting recovery and building the resilience of people with mental health problems, not just on treating or managing their symptoms. While there is no single definition of the concept of recovery for people with mental health problems, the guiding principle is hope – the belief that it is possible for someone to regain a meaningful life, despite serious mental illness.

Listening Ear

Washington Mind currently have a Listening Ear service, available to people in the Sunderland and Washington area. The service is available to individuals wishing to access confidential emotional support, without judgement. The service is now expanding to offer a wider variety of support to our service users:

Emotional Support
Emotional support available Monday to Friday when you need it, via telephone, email or online chat

Brief Intervention
Structured conversations around specific topics, experiences or issues, to motivate positive change and support recovery

Regular wellbeing calls
Biweekly or monthly unstructured calls to check how you are doing

Graded exposure into social support 
Anxious about returning to, or accessing, social support groups? The listening ear can support you to build confidence to engage with groups through a graded exposure approach.

This is available Monday to Thursday 9am – 4pm (with some later nights) and Friday 9am – 12:30pm, and can be accessed by calling 0191 417 8043, emailing or via the Washington Mind website ( for the online chat.

Please note this is not a counselling, or crisis service, but an opportunity to be heard.

If you need immediate support and feel that you cannot keep yourself safe, please contact the Initial Response Service 24/7 on freephone: 0800 652 2867 or click here to find out where you can access crisis support.


Community Engagement

Our Community Engagement worker focuses on improving both mental and physical wellbeing. With support people are encouraged to widen their social networks and their involvement within the wider community engaging within The Life House activities programme and other activities across the city.

Our aim is to deliver an ever-changing and diverse range of services alongside developing our community pathways where people are supported to move on and develop their own support systems. As a way of recording individual achievements in improving wellbeing the “My 5 A Day Diary” is each individuals record of their own journey of recovery.

Click here to find out more about Community Engagement Worker Wendy Colling.

Useful Links

Visit our Group Work page to see our range of groups and activities.

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