Hi, I'm Lauren Jones, Lived Experience Practitioner, Mental Health Peer Support Specialist and Director of CHIME to Thrive. You can find out more about me by clicking or by using the menu bar at the top of the page.
I want you to know that however tough things are right now, life can and will get better. I'm here to support you with this, if this is something you would like.
CHIME to Thrive is a service based on best-available evidence around personal recovery, peer support and mental health. It has been developed for people who are struggling with their mental health and feel they need more support for things to improve; this includes support to access health services where appropriate.
Sessions are delivered 1:1 by me, somebody with lived experience of mental ill-health and recovery, through video calls, telephone calls and/or email - whatever works best for you. If you are someone with communication difficulties, in some situations, sessions can be arranged in person if you are living in the UK.
Together, we will look at your current situation; your strengths and what you are finding difficult, we will problem-solve together using a solution-focussed approach to enable you to move forward. Sessions will use the CHIME model of recovery, which highlights the importance of Connectedness, Hope, Identity, Meaning and Empowerment in personal recovery. Although the CHIME model is based on recovery, CHIME to Thrive is equally passionate about prevention and early-intervention and the need to step in sooner so that people don't have to reach breaking point in order to receive support (although you may have experienced this) - it's premise is supporting people to thrive in spite of illness or difficult circumstances, the approach is non-judgemental, compassionate and supportive whilst also remaining honest.
All sessions are absolutely tailored to you and your current circumstances. I am regularly supervised by an experienced Clinical Psychologist.
I first contacted Lauren because I was writing my dissertation and found myself overwhelmed and out of my depth. I had never been academic and struggled in school. However my chosen degree was my dream, I felt like it was the missing piece that would complete me. The pressure of wanting it so badly made my dissertation extremely difficult. I experienced stress and anxiety like never before. I felt like I wasn’t good enough and that I had been sailing through my degree by pure luck. I have a family, a home, a job and the dissertation and then my feelings of insecurity on top. I wanted to quit, to give up on my dream, on 4 years of hard work and missing out on my children’s activities and time.
But then...I found Lauren. She listened to me and talked to me. She didn’t judge or make false promises or put me on a pedestal and tell me how amazing I was. She supported me and built me up through her own unique methods showed me what was within inside me all along. She taught me how to believe in myself again and empowered me to fight for my dream. Lauren was able to show me that asking for help wasn’t a weakness but a strength. She believed in me and that motivated me to do well, but most importantly to believe in myself.
Together, we worked out strategies that were best suited to my academic style and which would aid me in writing my dissertation, as well as strategies to cope with the stress. Lauren helped me see that things can be broken apart into pieces (like a puzzle) and to work on a piece at a time then connect the pieces to complete my puzzle (dissertation). Lauren was also able to offer me invaluable practical support in the sense of IT shortcuts for typing and editing etc., which saved me so much time that I was initially wasting and hints and tips which proved invaluable.
She advised me to seek help from my tutors, again I thought this was a weakness but she showed me it was ok to ask for help, she told me to prepare, write down questions I wanted to ask, or issues that I wanted to discuss. She advised me to set small goals with realistic time scales in order to complete these small pieces of my puzzle and get sections of my dissertation proofread by others before I moved onto the next piece of the puzzle.
Through all Lauren’s help, support, motivation and kindness I achieved my dream.
Lauren will never understand how much she helped me through such a stressful and life changing time. For both me and my family.
You believed in me, you listened, you taught me, you gave me my dream, I will be forever grateful to you. What you do for others is nothing less than extraordinary. Your kind, patient nature makes me envy you and makes me want to help others like you helped me. Thank you for everything and I wish you all the luck and happiness in the world. You truly are a beautiful person inside and out x
Sophie, a now qualified Healthcare Professional!
Hi Lauren. I'd like to thank you for how you've been there to support me during my tough times.
As sad as I find it to say, being a man I have found it hard to find opportunities to talk to my mates when I feel down or anxious. You're someone who I can talk to in a more relaxed setting than my therapy appointments.
Our Skype sessions are so quick to arrange and although my CBT therapy has helped a lot with my anxiety, I've found your support to be so useful as an extra helping hand, especially as you're someone who's had many years experience around some of the same issues as me.
As well as your lived experience of mental illness, you are also able to use your experience as a healthcare professional to help me set and achieve practical and realistic goals so that I can move forward. I am in a much better place now than when we first began talking, and understanding recovery from the CHIME perspective rather than just a medical perspective has helped reframe my understanding on what it means to 'recover'. I think the recovery course you are developing and researching in the crisis house is really going to help the people you volunteer with; especially as you were once a patient there yourself!
That sense of not being alone and being understood outside of my structured therapy has given me faith that I'm on the right track.
You're so easy to talk to and I feel like you really do understand me when others often don't.
Thank you Lauren :)
Chris, Music Technician
Looking back, I can't actually believe l felt as low as I did. Due to a very bad relationship break up I felt completely broken even though it was the right thing to do. Through this time I felt extremely alone and isolated, unable to think rationally about anything. There were times I would just feel so angry and sick to the pit of my stomach. All through this period Lauren was always there for me, I knew I wasn't totally alone because she was always there on the phone, video calling, talking me through my emotions and after every call I felt a million times better and stronger.
I felt as though my emotions were bottled up and it was so important to have someone I could talk to and trust with my feelings who wouldn't judge me for saying or feeling the things I did. She empathised with me and noticed just how low my self-worth and self-esteem were at this time and we looked at ways to increase these.
She taught me, slowly, that I was worth more than the behaviour I had been subject to and was continuing to be subject to. We talked about the importance of boundaries when it came to my ex, which helped me begin to heal. I didn't always do what we had discussed in our conversations, but that was ok because I knew I could talk about what I had done and that Lauren would listen and not judge me for it.
I learnt there was no shame in feeling the way I did and that it was understandable given what I had been through.
Lauren encouraged me to speak to my employer so that they
knew just how difficult I was finding things like concentration at work and they gave me time to work from home which reduced my stress levels. She encouraged me to talk to a doctor about how anxious I was feeling, how often I was crying and because I wasn't sleeping. We set goals around doing things which weren't to do with my ex, and I was able to begin doing some of my hobbies again and connect with others.
I couldn't see a light at the end of the tunnel at that time, but now I'm out the other end and am in a healthy, happy and loving relationship with somebody who respects me and am enjoying life again.
I can't thank you enough for this time, for always being there for me day and night x
Danielle, Business Analyst
My anxiety and motivation to do things had hit rock bottom. I felt like I was in a deep hole that I couldn't get out of.
I had been to the doctors and prescribed some medication but that alone wasn't enough.
I had been told about counselling but it could take at least 8 weeks before I could talk to anyone. I needed support now, so I went on the internet and tried searching for support groups and chat rooms for people who were feeling like me and I came across CHIME to Thrive.
What's better than talking to someone who has been there themselves?
Lauren responded quickly to my email and has been a fantastic support network for me. Very knowledgeable, empathetic, caring and also practical. I have learnt about the importance of self-care, self-worth and anxiety management.
I didn't feel alone anymore.
I would highly recommend CHIME to Thrive.
Sam, Healthcare Professional
Because when you are facing this, you really are not thriving, you are barely surviving:
Lauren helped me at a time when I felt everything that could go wrong had gone wrong.
I am very strong, I had brought up my family single-handed after a terrible divorce, I was a professional, I could juggle everything with my eyes closed; or could I?
It started with not sleeping, long hours wakeful, worrying, going over everything in minute detail checking I had turned the cooker off; the lights off; the straightener.
I was being bullied at work. It was subtle and first but chipping away, being ignored, decisions being overruled, staffrooms going quiet when I walked in, being kept out of e-mails, text messages. Then it became overt bullying, I won’t go into the detail but I felt like I was drowning. I couldn’t breathe, eat, sleep or make sense of anything.
Then the physical symptoms of stress got worse, I became withdrawn I was always cold, I would break down crying, I didn’t want to talk to anyone, didn’t want to get up didn’t want to do anything, I was very close to having a breakdown. I went off sick and Lauren spoke to me every day, checking I had done the things in my plan which she knew would help, the fog slowly got clearer.
The support was positive, but gentle, practical and lifesaving . She told me how to navigate through and keep the focus on what I needed not what other people needed. Lauren showed me little steps, taught me how to manage my stress, showed me that one thing a day for me could help me focus, taught me how to reframe my life and walk away from the things and
the people that were having such a negative impact. She encouraged me to go to my GP and to my union and after some discussion to start a business, which I did (and it is thriving)! I had an alternative road, and one that I could manage well.
Lauren provides practical help, real life support, a lifeline, signposting, suggestions, she sees it because it had her too.
I can tell now when things are building up and I have coping strategies, like an emergency planning meeting in my head! This enables me to deploy my best inner resources to support me. I haven’t gone into the detail that is probably needed to say that this service deserves recognition, it should be available to everyone, Lauren should know how good she is; I want everyone to know it, hear it, see it and believe it.
CHIME to Thrive will stop your heart bleeding and your head hurting: it gives you a part of your life back that you thought had gone forever, and its on your terms.
Jade, IT Manager (and entrepreneur!)
When my mental health suffered a debilitating relapse, Lauren helped me to pull through it. She encouraged me to put my mental health first, helped me develop clear strategies to cope with the overwhelming pressures I was under and helped me to remember that I was more than just my mental health label. This gave me the courage to seek support, to find my own voice and stand up for myself.
With her, I've realised that recovery isn't a linear process and that relapses don't mean I've failed, just that I need to keep learning and fighting.
Thank you Lauren x
Emma, Student Social Worker
I really can’t put it in to words how much Lauren has helped me over the last few months, her support and determination has been overwhelming and I will be forever truly grateful.
I contacted Chime after things came to a head with my Dad’s mental health, he urgently required specialist help and I was at breaking point; supporting my Dad and dealing with his daily complex needs on my own after so many years was finally taking its toll on my well-being. I couldn’t pretend any more that I could continue supporting my Dad on my own, as well as trying to look after myself in this very busy world we live in. I felt like I was failing my Dad by getting him the help and support he truly needed but also not knowing which direction to turn. Looking back now I’ve realised I’ve been far too hard on myself, I’m not my Dad’s mental health professional, I’m his daughter.
My Dad is currently in hospital and getting the help and support he so desperately needs (and deserves), Lauren has helped with practical problem solving and encouraged me to make sure we have support when my Dad comes out of hospital by suggesting a CPN (Community Psychiatric Nurse), she also reminds me (weekly) to have more time for ‘me’.
I’m finally starting to feel like ‘me’ again, Lauren has helped me find my identity which has been lost for so long. I’ve realised I deserve the help and support available just as much as my Dad does.
Lauren is an inspiration and I would recommend Chime a hundred times over, thank you.
Lauren has shown so much empathy and compassion towards me and the main thing that stands out, is that Lauren understands. I instantly felt connected with Lauren, she is so easy to talk to which helped me open up as I'm not one to express how I'm feeling, I realise now this was my coping mechanism. Lauren is clearly passionate about what she does, her knowledge of the services available for my Dad was a huge relief and has given me hope, the mental health system has many hurdles but Lauren empowered me to overcome these using her own knowledge and experiences.
Rebecca, Insurance Analyst
Lauren has an unfailing dedication to breaking down the stigma and barriers associated with mental health. The courage she has to help others living with what can often feel like a hidden illness is outstanding.
The care and compassion Lauren gives helps to improve the quality of life and give hope, positivity and the feeling of worth to those who are dealing with a psychiatric problem.
Lauren's genuine approach to listen and provide you with a safe and comfortable environment to talk openly about mental health is exceptional.
Lauren can provide an outside perspective and help to challenge some of the thoughts or feelings you may be having.
Overall Lauren is heartfelt and honest whilst maintaining a professional but friendly feeling throughout.
Aaron, Sports and Fitness Nutritionist
I first contacted Lauren when I was struggling to understand some issues my mother/best friend was going through. My mum was going through the menopause and was experiencing a lot of symptoms such as stress, anxiety and depression. I didn’t realise how severely ill my mother was until it had taken over her life. I felt helpless and clueless as I wasn't familiar with these symptoms.
I talked to Lauren for hours through Skype and emails. The fact that Lauren was an independent person made things so much easier. It made me feel more comfortable and able to be honest about how my mum felt and how it was affecting me. Lauren was able to help me understand what these symptoms were and what they meant. She was able to offer me support, information and advice. She taught me to listen to my mum and how to just be there for her without expectations on an instant fix. Lauren was able to tell me about different treatment options that could be explored with health professionals and show me the steps I could take to get my mum the help she needed.
She taught me coping mechanisms for myself in order to be strong enough to support my mum. Also coping mechanisms for my mum to deal with the changes that were taking over her life.
She helped me show my mum that things would be ok, but mostly importantly taught me that things would be ok.
She advised me to visit the GP with my mum to ensure that all her feelings and symptoms were expressed. We talked about different medications that could be helpful and she advised me to discuss these with my mum's GP with my mum, and to ensure her health concerns and side affects that concerned my mum were discussed with the doctor so that she could make an informed decision about her treatment. Her knowledge in symptoms and different treatment options were unbelievable.
After my mum started on medication and nothing seeemed to improve she advised me on supporting her to get a medication review and to discuss with my mum and her doctor therapy (CBT). Again I did not know what this therapy was. I was so out of my depth. But Lauren explained everything and in a way that I could understand as a non-clinical person.
She supported me and listened to me, she watched my cry and break-down on so many occasions. She listened when I said I would lose my mum to depression and I was scared. She let me cry and didn’t judge me. Instead she gave me the strength to fight back. To fight for my mum because she had no fight left.
Her dedication to mine and my mum's health and wellbeing has changed us both. My mum is on the right medication now, has therapy every week and can now leave the house again, can now be a nanny again to my little boy, can now be intimate with her husband, and can be my mum again.
She had given us both a second chance at being happy in life and the strength to fight mental health issues and overcome them.
I will never forget what you did for us, Lauren. You truly are an amazing person. Thank you
Laura, Allied Health Professional
During one of my worst panic attacks, I'd hidden myself in a bathroom, sobbing and hyperventilating in equal measures. Desperately racking my shattered thoughts for someone who could help me, I phoned Lauren. She is one of my go tos.
She is always validating and calm, with a real sense of connectedness.
No matter how distressed I am, she knows exactly what to say and how to say it.
I always have a plan after I have spoken to her.
Aimee, Art Therapist
Lauren has helped me in many ways. She has helped me with peer to peer support and shown me what services are available to support positive mental health.
Lauren has also given me a book which has assisted me in understanding PTSD including the symptoms and ways in which I can deal with them.
She has also helped me to see and value the support which I do have, including the family around me and my dog, and helped me to start focussing on myself.
I have seen many consultants who have diagnosed me with different mental health issues, Lauren has helped me to understand them better and given me the support needed.
Imani, Psychology Student
I have dealt with many different issues from a young age, mostly due to parental and family problems at home since I was at least 6. For most of my life, I felt different and knew I had to deal with mental health issues that affected aspects of my life severely. The aspect most affected was my relationships with people. Friendships, coworkers, romances. I saw many therapists and talked to many counselors, and always came to the same conclusion, nothing was helping much.
With Lauren, I started talking about my past and she told me some of what she had dealt with. We came to the realization and through her suggestion, that I may be dealing with Complex-PTSD. Everything after that suddenly became much clearer. Having the knowledge, I started to see specialists who dealt in trauma and especially if they were aware of CPTSD.
To this day, Lauren’s advice and guidance is why I am doing much better in all forms of relationships, because I know what I deal with and have learned how to walk forward in life with it.
Zachary, Armed Forces