Mental Health First Aid

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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, socialbrain health 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.

keeping-mentally-fitHow happy are YOU?

Please follow the link below for a quick  mental health well being check on the NHS website:

Click HERE

Post by Danielle Heath

Community Support Facilitator

Wheels for Wellbeing

 

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

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An Event and a Half!

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The Community Connections launch aimed to increase awareness of this innovative voluntary consortia led project which aims to support Lewisham residents to increase their health and well-being using community based solutions.

The project launch was an opportunity to highlight the successes achieved so far. For example, MT had was socially isolated due to health issues that forced her to leave her job. Our facilitators who work with clients supported MT to access activities and increase her social interaction with the community.

“Your professional support is so valuable, it is allowing me to be more confident and to look forward to doing activities.”
M T – Client

With feedback like this – we had to share!

Attendees came from all over Lewisham and the surrounding areas to find out more about the project, its clients and how Community Connections could support them.
Our keynote speaker, Professor Marjorie Mayo from Goldsmiths, University of London shared her experiences of “Integration and Citizenship” projects in Lewisham and how inspired she was by the potential of Community Connections to reduce unmet needs and increase individual participation.

Jacky Bourke-White, the CEO of Age UK Lewisham and Southwark and Tom Nixon, Project Worker from Voluntary Centre Lewisham were other important speakers. We also heard from one of the organisations that has benefited from working with one of our Community Development Workers (to read more about this piece of work click here)

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A special thank you goes to our client speakers; Glory and Chris. They shared with the audience how Community Connections has allowed them to meet new people, share their interests and skills and grow in confidence. Their input was one of the highlights of the day.

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There were a number of organisations who ran stalls at the launch:
Communites that Care Lewisham which includes:
Access Lewisham
Heart n Soul
Meet me at the Albany
Rushey Green Time
Sydenham Garden
Their website is: http://lewishamctc.co.uk/index.php

There were also stalls from the Lewisham Direct Payment Team and Healthwatch Lewisham. Their website links are below:

Direct Payment Team:  http://www.lewishammylifemychoice.org.uk/
Healthwatch Lewisham:  www.healthwatchlewisham.co.uk

There were also workshops around key issues that affect the project and voluntary organisations in Lewisham. The areas covered were:

  •  How can we reach vulnerable adults in the community?
  •  How to increase volunteering and volunteering opportunities
  •  Developing sustainable community transport links for Lewisham

You can still join these discussions online by clicking here:

If you would like to find out how you or your organisation could get involved with Community Connections get in touch using the ‘Contact’ tab above.

Post by Noreen

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much” ― Helen Keller

On the morning of Saturday 8 March 2014 the Practice Patient Group (PPG) held the inaugural South Lewisham Health Centre Health and Well Being community event. This was held at the South Lewisham Health Centre.

At a very early stage in the planning process the PPG decided that ‘collaboration’ would be the key theme of the event. And in a spirit of collaboration the Community Connections Community Development worker for the South Eastern cluster (Trevor Pybus) had the opportunity to work closely with the South Lewisham Health Centre Patient group to help deliver the event. 

A series of outcomes for the event were developed; these included increasing the current health information held at the South Lewisham Health Centre for patients and the wider community and, importantly, to share the learning from the event.

A draft plan setting out the potential best use of the waiting room space was drawn up. Over twenty different community services applied to have information stalls at the Health and Well being event. The variety and breadth of organisations that were willing to participate was outstanding; new and old, small and large; all applied and were welcomed.  The PPG supplied a unique opportunity for these very different organisations to network with staff from the Health centre. Local people along with the South Lewisham team of Doctors engaged in a very informal dialog. People quickly found out more about the very different community based services.  

An unplanned outcome of the day was the potential for community partners to have information stalls available during the centres opening hours.  

The day was an excellent example of how the Community Connections project is trying to embed the key concept of co-production in the development of public services. The day helped especially toward increasing community capacity. The informal approach untaken will hopefully lead into improved user and carer experience of services. And the use of PPG will help toward the acknowledgement that the citizen has a vital role in achieving positive outcomes from public services.

I look forward to letting you have a copy of the final report!

Trevor Pybus

Community Development Worker