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Running for their mind

06 August 2018

Maidstone-based disaster recovery specialists Ideal Response are donning their running shoes for a sponsored 10k run on behalf of mental health charity Mind.

Returning in October for another year, the fun run aims to not only help raise awareness of Maidstone and Mid-Kent Mind but also of mental health in general. Limited to just 100 participants, Ideal Response are pleased to have secured ten places – with abilities ranging from seasoned marathon runners right through to complete beginners.

With just three months until the big day, Ideal Response staff have started training to complete two laps around Maidstone’s renowned Mote Park. And with training well underway, attention has started to shift towards fundraising.

Established in 2001, Ideal Response have rapidly grown from a small family run operation to one of the South East’s leading disaster recovery specialists. With day-to-day projects involving fire and flood restoration, they’re no strangers to life-changing incidents.

And that’s exactly why they want to get involved.

“We know that we can return homes affected by fires and floods back to normal, to make it look as though nothing ever happened. But we also know the repair and healing doesn’t stop there,” MD of Ideal Response Javid Ibrahim said. “If we can in some way help towards the psychological recovery of our customers - who are local people - by supporting local charities to provide the help required, we’re all for it. I’m signed up for the run and can’t wait to be a part of it.”

While Ideal Response are leading the way with returning homes back to normal following a devastation such as a fire or flood, they fully recognise that true healing from the event can go on much longer than it takes to repair bricks and mortar.

More than Bricks and Mortar

Everyone reacts differently to life-changing events such as fires and floods. And while there are companies around like Ideal Response who can repair your home, the psychological and emotional impact can last much longer, especially if the reinstatement work is quite extensive.

Below are some of the common reactions that victims, their families or neighbours may experience during an event such as a fire or flood, or within the weeks that follow. 

Common reactions can include:  

  • Shock
  • A feeling of helplessness
  • Anger and frustration
  • Disbelief and denial
  • Loneliness or a feeling of isolation
  • Immense stress which can increase during the recovery work
  • Fear
  • Anxiety
  • Difficulty sleeping / nightmares
  • Flashbacks
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Recurring flashbacks
  • A low mood / depression
  • Chronic worry

While Ideal Response technicians are fully trained to return homes back to normal, they also provide a degree of emotional support to those involved while they’re on site. However, their ability to support victims is limited. That’s why fundraising for local mental health charity MMK Mind is so important to the company.

Little research has been done into the ongoing psychological impact of fires and flooding to mental health, beyond a focus on post traumatic stress disorder. However, the research that has been completed shows a small number of people do require additional help for conditions such as PTSD, depression, and chronic worry.

And this is where charities such as Mind play an important role, by working in the community to promote social inclusion for people who experience mental health problems, whatever the cause. By working with the wider community, they strive to tackle the stigma and discrimination associated with mental health, while also promoting a better understanding through a variety of projects. But they cannot do it alone.

Thomas Fishenden, marketing apprentice at MMK Mind, said: “As a local organisation, the support we receive from Kent-based businesses like Ideal Response is vital in building a stronger community network. Not only do we connect with new companies who may wish to fundraise for us – boosting the funds we are able to inject back into the community – but we also strengthen our communications network as a whole which enables us to share mental health support with more people. The more companies who get involved, the further we are able to spread our message – showing anyone with a mental health problem that there is support and guidance out there.

“Having companies like Ideal Response join the events we run, such as our Fun Run, is also important in bringing the community together with smaller companies – creating positive community cohesion. Mental Health is everybody’s business – so it is important that businesses, members of the public, members of the government and more all pull together to encourage a positive change. We are thankful for Ideal Response, and the other local organisations who work with us tirelessly, day in, day out, to make a positive difference to the community.”

But the talk about community actually goes much deeper than that and plays a far greater role than many people perhaps realise. While most people who experience a fire or flood recover with the support of their friends, families, and colleagues, some require a little more help from the wider community.

Fires and floods can have an ongoing impact on people’s wellbeing, relationships and mental health. Both financial and social issues can be ongoing not only because of the initial incident (the primary stressor), but because of the added secondary stressors such as the stress of restoration – some homes have to be moved out of entirely for months at a time while drying and reinstatement work is completed.

Fires and floods can affect anyone and will test the resilience of even the most hardy of people. Research suggests that those with full community support recover much quicker than those who do not. However, there is still very little known about the psychological impact these events have on children, young people and the elderly.

It’s because of these reasons that Ideal Response do all they can to make the restoration process as simple and stress-free as possible, and why they want to support local mental health charity, MMK Mind. They believe that by taking a community-wide approach, those who unfortunately experience these traumatic events can recover far more quickly, and with as few lasting side-effects as possible.

If you would like to support Ideal Response in the 10k fun run, being held at Mote Park on 21st October, you can donate via their fundraising page here: https://www.totalgiving.co.uk/mypage/idealresponse-mmkmind10k