The Maccas Project & the MVP programme
The story of the Maccas Project
Tom or Maccas as he was widely known was a typical young man. He came from a loving and supportive family and was popular amongst his friends who would describe him as a brilliant, quiet genius. In 2011 Tom was diagnosed with the early onset of psychosis and had been struggling to come to terms with this, finding escape in music and creative arts, but everyday was a battle.
In August 2012, aged 19, Tom completed suicide.
In light of this sudden heartbreak Tom’s family and friends began fundraising for North Staffs Younger Mind in the hope that tragedies like this could be prevented in the future. And so, in memory of Tom the Maccas Project was born.
The project is specifically aimed at supporting young men’s emotional well being and
mental health in the North Staffs area. It is an innovative opportunity and will be the only project in existence currently at a local level at this time, focusing solely on young males aged between 14-26 years of age. Here is the breakdown of the Maccas acronym, given to us by Tom’s family:
Who is affected
Here is some additional background information around the Maccas Project for your fundraising drive. Tom was diagnosed with early psychosis and what most people do not know is that it is more common than most people realise. Research carried out in 2010 found that in England in any given year, there would be one new diagnosed case of psychosis for every 2,000 people.
Another study estimated that around one in 100 people have at least one episode of psychosis at some point during their life. Most cases of psychosis first develop during the older teenage years (15 or above) or during adulthood. Cases affecting children under the age of 15 are rare, accounting for only one in every 500 cases.
Psychosis is a medical word used to describe mental health problems that stop the person from thinking clearly, telling the difference between reality and their imagination, and acting in a normal way.
The two main symptoms of psychosis are:
hallucinations – where a person hears, sees (and in some cases smells) things that are not really there; a common hallucination is when people hear voices in their head
delusions – where a person believes things that, when examined rationally, are obviously untrue; such as believing that your next door neighbour is secretly planning to kill you
The combination of hallucinations and delusional thinking can cause an often severe disruption to perception, thinking, emotion and behaviour. Experiencing symptoms of psychosis is often referred to as having a psychotic episode. We have a range of leaflets and information, which we update regularly as demand increases or their are certain trends that we can support. If you would like any further information then please get in touch with us and we can signpost or better still, supply you with some helpful and supportive information for you or someone you know is in need of support.
The Early Intervention in Psychosis Service supports young people developing a first episode of psychosis. Psychosis can seem confusing and hard to understand but this website has lots of information to help you make sense of psychosis and where/how to get help in North Staffordshire the link is www.ei-team.org.uk
A word about fundraising…
One important point is that the Maccas Project is not a charity in its own right – North Staffs Mind is the charity; the Maccas Project is a project of our charity. As the only local project aimed at supporting young men’s emotional wellbeing and mental health in the in North Staffs we rely solely on fundraising and donations to keep the project running and the service it provides to the local community.
We work in alliance with other specialist suicide prevention agencies, like Papyrus and Sane, and like them, it is our firm belief that with successful engagement, collaboration, support and advice we can make the difference to reduce the staggering increase in the rise of young people dying by suicide.
Where does all the money go…
This is an overview of how the funds raised are used:
Awareness campaign in local schools, colleges, youth centres, pubs, clubs, sporting facilities and any other place we can think of.
Befriending/ peer mentoring service with training to become an MVP.
Creating a HUB for information and signposting.
Develop links with other organisations.
Engage creatively through Facebook, twitter and other social networking sites.
Facilitate consultation groups for young men to influence the way we work.
Generate reliable information and support for parents & friends.
Help challenge the local stigma around getting support.
Inform young males about mental health support options.
As you can see from the list we distribute the funds in a variety of ways ranging from training people in mental health awareness to producing a range of information leaflets. With your help we can achieve our vision of a suicide safer community across North Staffordshire.
Becoming an MVP
An ‘MVP’ or ‘Most Valuable Person’ is similar to our Younger Mind Ambassador scheme, which, we launched with great success in September 2013. As an MVP you will receive our specialist in house training on mental health awareness and some goodies to promote your new status. You will then be tasked with helping us by being an advocate promoting better mental health and emotional wellbeing in your target areas – be that a local club or youth venue wherever you come into contact with our target audience.
As an MVP our goal is to engage, motivate and inspire young people to access more healthy options and value themselves more – the ‘V’ in MVP recognises the need for us the value ourselves, our needs and our worth more. We will run local promotions across North Staffs to get people to understand that males have emotional needs too and that suicide is a tragic loss of life. Email us for more details at www.nsmind.org.uk or firstname.lastname@example.org
You can help make the difference to the 13 males that die everyday in the UK from suicide.
Our ‘MVP’s’ are the equivalent of our Younger Mind Ambassadors except they specialise in the promotion of the Maccas Project solely, they are still recognised volunteers of North Staffs Mind and can receive more training as they continue to volunteer with us.
We also have a mobile web app that can be accessed on your PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone. Filled with lots of tips and useful information for young people and parents alike you can all something new to read. Inside it also contains emergency out-of-hours contact numbers for anybody in immediate distress. Simply log onto www.peaceofmind.help
(please note that the link will open in a new page as the app is optimized to be viewed on a smartphone or tablet)