Sunderland Mind was originally formed over 50 years ago as the Sunderland Mental Health Group. This was a self-help group to support individuals confronting mental health problems. The original steering group included people of diverse backgrounds.

In 1974, the organisation became constituted and affiliated to National Mind. It was then renamed Sunderland Mind in 1978.

Stuart Leon Kohn and Mike Ridley were the driving force behind the organisation. Stuart retired in December 2005 after being Chairman in excess of 30 years but continued to be involved with the organisation. Throughout his life, Stuart made a huge contribution to the community around him. He was one of the founders of Sunderland Samaritans and the major driver behind the development of MHIST (Mental Health in South Tyneside) in South Shields. And, of course, for 34 years he was a dedicated member of his beloved Sunderland Lions. Stuart sadly died in 2006.

In the early days, Sunderland Mind benefited from the government-sponsored ‘Urban Aid’ programme, which gave them £19,999 to buy their premises. Soon after, a further £20,000 was awarded which allowed them to transform the derelict building.