About us

Sunderland Mind strives and continues to work and develop ways of working with people experiencing emotional or mental health problems/issues in Sunderland.

We are a registered local independent charity that provides confidential, high quality services for individuals, carers and families experiencing emotional or mental health problems.

We aim to provide advice, information and counselling in a safe, caring, non-judgmental and supportive environment.

We offer a range of mental health and wellbeing services.  Training is also provided and these diverse services are in response to the needs of local people and the wider community.

Our service is self-refer, open access and is accessible to all.

We welcome referrals from community, voluntary, statutory, private sectors and other agencies.

We are located in Sunderland City centre ideally accessible to transport, bus routes, metros and trains.

We are committed to Quality and Equality of Opportunities.

Service User/Member Involvement

Sunderland Mind involves and talks to service users as we value their views as we believe they are the experts and have the experience of mental health issues/problems.  Sharing their knowledge and experience can contribute greatly to improve our services and the future of our organisation.

We encourage service users, with support to participate in meetings, consultations and events, held locally which gives them the opportunity to influence change and decisions that are made about services.  Their involvement can make a difference to them and people in wider community.

By being involved, it can also increase confidence, self-esteem, gain skills and experience.

We encourage service users to become volunteers as we believe they bring exceptional understanding, compassion and life experiences which are invaluable to our oganisation and if appropriate can apply for a paid position when becoming available.  We also encourage service users to be part of our recruitment process and assist in appointing positions available.

Service user meetings are held monthly and are open to Sunderland Mind service users, staff and volunteers.  Minutes of these meetings are displayed on the drop-in notice board.  Examples of Items on the Agenda include feedback from previous meeting, future activities and events, any issues and concerns, sharing thoughts and ideas.  We welcome service users to join sub groups, e.g. fundraising, quality, newsletter involvement.

Sunderland Mind

  • Challenges stigma and discrimination
  • Raises awareness and promotes understanding of mental health
  • Influences policy through campaigning and education
  • Empowers/allows people with a mental health problem to have choice and control about how they live and recover
  • To help people achieve their aspirations and goals with support and encouragement
  • To lead an improved quality of life
  • Encourages and ensures people receive and get the right services and support at the right time
  • Works in partnership with other organisations that share our vision
  • Sunderland Mind is affiliated to Mind, NAMH (National Association for Mental Health) and awarded Level 1 of Quality Management in Mind.  This is a nationally recognised quality award and ensures that we meet high standards throughout the organisation.

Mind is a leading mental health charity in England and Wales www.mind.org.uk and Sunderland Mind maintain the values endorsed by National Mind.

Sunderland Mind continues to work in partnership with Washington Mind www.washingtonmind.co.uk to meet the needs of people across the City of Sunderland.


Sunderland Mind was originally formed over 40 years ago as the Sunderland Mental Health Group; as a self-help group to support individuals confronting mental health problems. The original steering group included people of diverse backgrounds.

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.  Stuart was one of the founders of Sunderland Samaritans, and he was 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 benefitted from the government sponsored ‘Urban Aid’ programme, which gave them £19,999 to buy the premises, soon after a further £20,000 was awarded which allowed the transformation of the derelict building.

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