Mental ill health costs UK employers an estimated £26 billion, which equates to an average of over £1,000 per employee.
Attending MHFA – Mental Health First Aid 2 days course has really helped me to to identify, understand and help a person who may be developing a mental health problem. In the same way as we learn physical first aid, mental health first aid taught me how to recognise symptoms that are crucial warning signs of mental ill health.
Mental ill health can affect every single one of us at any time of our lives. There is widespread ignorance of mental ill health in the general population and there is the associated stigma too. For some the stigma can lead to delays in people seeking help and support. There is also a lack of confidence in what to do if someone is distressed or in a crisis situation. Being able to recognise signs and symptoms more readily can save someone’s life and equipped with this training I am more aware of the services available to those who are suffering and I can signpost them to get support rather than just assuming that there is how the person is.
Poor mental health does not only affect you when you are old,family relationships, social pressures from peers and media as well as fears over the future – all these combine to make the world in which our young are growing up a confusing and, at times, an alienating place and we should not underestimate how it can affect them as much or worse than when you are older.
A staggering three quarters of all adult mental health problems start before the age of 18 and practitioners are putting pressure on the Government to get teachers to be trained to spot the early signs and symptoms in children in order to get an early diagnosis and allow these children to learn what is wrong with them and how to manage it throughout their lives.
How happy are YOU?
Please follow the link below for a quick mental health well being check on the NHS website:
Post by Danielle Heath
Community Support Facilitator
So here we are with our second blog post on the five ways to wellbeing. This time we’re looking at staying active as a way to maintain or even improve your mental and physical wellbeing. Staying active is really about exercising your body’s muscles. And this doesn’t mean you have to be going to the gym and lifting weights everyday. It’s about doing what you can, what’s right for you, and what makes you feel good (for me it is cycling!).
Getting exercise is well known to be associated with levels of endorphins which are natural chemicals made in your body which make you feel good. Most people will know from their own experience that being active does really have a positive effect on how well they feel. And keeping muscles that little bit stronger can make all the difference as we become older and more frail.
This is why in our work in Lewisham we are always trying to help people to stay active. There are so many things to do in your local area! Some people like to go on healthy walks, others choose to do a bit of chair-based exercise every week, there is walking football, inclusive cycling, and now there are gym instructors who are specially trained to work with people with a range of disabilities!
There are so many more things to do as well, this is really just a small snapshot. So if you’d like a bit of support in staying active, in keeping your muscles working and the endorphins flowing, you can always get in touch on 0208 314 3244 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Post by Henry
I happened across this video by the Local Government Association’s Ageing Well campaign today, and thought it was worth sharing. Through three case studies it brings out some of the most important principles for a forward-looking and supportive care service confronted with an ageing population. These principles include valuing people and their contributions, allowing work and workers to be person-centred, and the recognition of the problem of loneliness among older people. A general awareness of dementia and available services among professionals who work in the community is also highlighted as being an important element in the mix.
Here at Community Connections these principles are fundamental aspects of the kind of service we are striving to provide for people. We would like Lewisham to be a better place for people to grow old. If you think you can help or if you’d like to know more we are only a phone call away: 020 8314 3244.
Finally, some of the team are going on training to become Dementia Friends Champions in September, maybe you’d like to join us?
Post by Henry
Thanks to the Patients in Participation Group and as part of a very successful Community Connections outreach programme, Trevor Pybus and Elaine Egan attended the South Lewisham Health Center in 50 Conisborough Crescent, Catford SE6 2SP on the morning of Friday 16 May.
The South Lewisham Group Practice provides primary care services for over 14,300 patients across Catford, Bellingham and Downham and the Practice’s Patients in Participation Group actively helps to promote quality services to be proud of.
Using the Health centre space allowed the team a unique opportunity to engage directly with the practice patients in the South Eastern Cluster. The morning quickly passed and we were able to get some direct referrals and one patient took three Community Connections information leaflets from us to pass onto her neighbours!
For the next few months the Community Connections team will be at the South Lewisham Health Centre on the second Friday of the month, next visit 13 June. If you are in the area please come along and say hello.
For more information on the South Lewisham Health Centre Patients in Participation Group please go to www.southlewishamgrouppractice.co.uk. To attend the Friday morning information sessions please contact Alexandra Camies PPG Chair, on 07885 459175 email: email@example.com or Dawn Lait, Practice Manager on 020 3049 2580, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Community Connections CD worker for the South Eastern cluster
Email: Trevor.email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Come along to Honor Oak Community Centre, This Thursday from 2 – 4 pm to try out some inclusive cycling. There will be a range of bikes for all different abilities including two-seater side-by-side and handcycles. The event is free to attend and there will be information on hand about other similar sessions that take place in Lewisham. So why not come and have a go?
Post by Henry
There is a vacancy for a Community Development Worker on the Community Connections project.
For more information and details about how to apply, please follow this link:
Post by Henry
I heard about ‘Wheels for Wellbeing’ from my colleague Henry, he was really enthusiastic about this project so I thought I’d give it shot. ‘Wheels for Wellbeing’ aim to make cycling accessible for everyone; they do this by providing an array of adapted cycles and intriguing contraptions! I asked a client of mine, James, whether he’d like to try it out. We were both a little unsure of what this activity would be like as James uses an electric wheelchair most of the time. When we arrived we saw that there was a wide choice of bicycles. We used a ‘Velo Plus Wheelchair bike’ the cyclist sits behind the wheelchair user, who sits securely in the front.
Click here to see a video!
This was an interesting experience for both of us and it was surprisingly easy to ride. We saw that there were people of various abilities using the bikes. One of the most interesting bikes was the ‘Handcycle’. This bike can be utilised by those who cannot use their legs. I tried it out, it’s good fun and is definitely a great arm workout! James was interested in trying out the ‘Handcycle’ in the future to build up his strength. James felt that he’d prefer to do this activity outdoors, ‘Wheels for Wellbeing’ have told us that they plan to do just that in Ladywell, Lewisham, once the weather picks up. I would strongly recommend this activity for anyone who’d like to get back into cycling or just try something a little different. It’s also a good chance to socialise and meet new people in your local area. This activity takes place each Tuesdays 12-1pm at Ladywell Day Centre.
Post by Rosa Parker
This is just a quick post to let you know about the Community Connections Launch Event on Thursday the 27th March 2014 from 12:00 to 15:00 in the Civic Suite in Catford, SE6 4RU. There will be a good mix of speakers including Marjorie Mayo, Emeritus Professor of Community Development at Goldsmiths and Jacky Bourke-White, CEO of Age UK Lewisham and Southwark. There will also be some workshops on reaching out to vulnerable people, volunteering and sustainable transport solutions, and a chance to meet some people we’ve been working with and supporting in the Borough.
A light lunch will be provided and there will be opportunity to network with other providers. Check out the flyer for the event for more info:
Please come along if you can make it and would like to know more about the project and the people involved. You can sign up via Eventbrite here. We hope to see lots of you there!
Post by Henry
Those two lines from the famous song certainly summed up how Angela felt when she first met me and I’m not that scary I promise…..
Y’see Angela moved to London last year from her native Devon and aside from her sister who lives on the other side of Lewisham, did not know a soul. She practically never left her flat, certainly not alone.
When I first met Angela, in the company of her sister, she barely spoke two words to me. I persevered and after my next visit, Angela seemed more comfortable with me. What I discovered was that Angela was incredibly lonely. She later told me that back then she had felt “lost, unhappy and very depressed”
I suggested that Angela may like to attend a local lunch group that meet every Friday called “Friendship Fridays”. I had been to the club previously and the lady that runs it (Jackie) is extremely friendly and makes everyone feel welcome. Angela agreed to give it a try and so I agreed to escort her there on the bus the following week.
Angela was extremely “scared and nervous” on her first visit to Friendship Fridays. She wasn’t sure what to expect and didn’t expect anybody to talk to her let alone make new friends. However, she couldn’t have got a warmer welcome from Jackie and the team. I stayed with Angela throughout the stay and by the end she was laughing and joking. I asked her if she’d like to return the following week. Her reply was:
“I wouldn’t miss it for the world”
Since then, there has been no stopping Angela. Not only does she attend the club every Friday – by taking the bus alone (something she had never done previously) she now goes shopping alone and even visited her sister on the train. Her sister is delighted in the change in Angela and they have both thanked Community Connections for all their help and support.
And that’s not all. Angela has asked me to pass on her details to the Volunteer Centre Lewisham as she would now like to help other people out, after all… What goes around, comes around.
By Fay Russell-Clark
I went to visit a local voluntary group called Just Older Youth (JOY) this morning and I have to say I was blown away by their energy and enthusiasm! On Mondays they run three separate events in three separate venues; Tai-Chi (£2.00), Seated Exercise (£1.50) and a “Chop and Chat” group. There was a fantastic community spirit underpinning all of these events and everyone was having such a good time. JOY is operated entirely by volunteers and I think they are a shining example of how the voluntary sector works at its best to produce cost-effective solutions in response to localised concerns.
The approach of JOY is really neatly summed up by their name; they want to consider older people who live locally as people, just young people, who happen to be a bit older. They still crave social interaction, and get a buzz from physical activity, and want to be able to contribute to their community.
JOY are always looking for new people to attend their groups and classes, so if you fancy taking part or know someone who does, check out their list of activities.
I also wonder if there are other groups or organisations in the Borough that are similar to JOY and operate in other areas. Do you work for one? Do you know of one? If so, we’d love to hear about them, so please get in touch!
Post by Henry