Leeds Jewish Community Pride Award-winner Miranda Arieh tells us about her inspiring plight to transform mental health services in Leeds and beyond.
Having recently won the Inspirational Award at the Leeds Jewish Community Pride Awards after being nominated by a caring friend, Miranda Arieh has been a rock to Leeds’ mental health community for over three years developing the holistic mental health recovery programme, HEROES.
Standing for Healing, Education and Recovery Of Emotional Strength, Miranda has supplied the NHS with an alternative route for mental health recovery which provides an empowering group approach to reconnecting with the strength of your inner self. Beginning with spreading HEROES across the Burmantofts, Harehills, and Richmond Hill primary care network, Miranda has big ambitions for the NHS, private sector, and a published book version which can give HEROES worldwide reach.
Miranda started HEROES after having been through the mental health system herself, she says: “I was sectioned at the age of 14 because I was really suffering with my own mental health when I was younger. Then I spent another 10 to 15 years in the system as service user and not only were the services very hard to get into, but also many of the services were not holistic and trauma informed enough for my liking.”
In response to the lack of a holistic approach in the NHS, HEROES is the first programme to bring trauma informed techniques such as inner child healing (a technique where vulnerable thoughts are soothed by using positive language akin to a parent responding to a child’s needs). Miranda says: “Our whole programme is built on a foundation of self compassionate practice. Essentially what we’re doing with people is supporting them to have a better relationship with themselves.
“So, we really love the idea of the group model because within a group you can also support the healing of others and I believe that healing cannot be completed until we support the healing of others.” The HEROES groupwork programme includes 20 hours of therapeutic treatment and can be completed over eight weeks. To get involved in the programme ask your GP if they offer HEROES and if not they can bring in Miranda’s team to train them.
As well as working on the programme with her team, Sarah Wadsworth, Rob Baskind, and Richard Abrahams (who Miranda only recently connected with at the awards ceremony) to transform mental health services in the NHS, Miranda is also a motivational speaker, helping people achieve their goals. She has appeared regularly on TV on programmes such as Steph’s Packed Lunch on Channel 4, The One Show, BBC Look North, and BBC News to speak about mental health. She is currently working for BBC Radio as a freelance presenter after presenting an hour long special on BBC Radio Leeds for their mental health awareness week.
If anyone is struggling with their mental health and wants to start achieving their goals today Miranda gives the advice: “Recovery is always possible. So, it doesn’t matter where you are right now, really embrace that. The first step would be coming to the present moment and being in full acceptance of where you are now. From that place we can really start to affect change. And the first step, I would guide them towards is self-compassionate practice.
“Self compassion starts by becoming aware of the way you speak to yourself. What do you tell yourself when you make a mistake? What does that sound like? Is it critical? When we are aware, it is then we are able to do something about it, and work with ourselves with compassion.”