How have you been?
It’s Mental Health Awareness Week (MHAW) this week, and the theme this year is loneliness. Coming out of a pandemic I think it’s been so easy to cancel plans or not go out, that’s what we’ve done for nearly 2 years. Hence why now it is important to stay connected however you can, a text message to a friend or loved one checking in with each other, a walk to the shop for a newspaper, or attending a peer support group. You never know how much someone needs a little pick me up message or plans to be made together, including yourself. Loneliness can affect anyone, and you never know what someone is going through unless you ask. So, in honour of MHAW, consider what you could do for yourself or someone else, to show you/they aren’t alone? I’m meeting a friend on Friday and having a good catch up but I’m also going to check in with myself and do some self-care on Sunday.
We have finished the Personalised Care and Support Plans (yay!). These were sent to print and are now out for trial in Peterborough. We created a video explaining what the plans were and how they are going to be used and had help by two individuals with lived experience to narrate the video. We think this video is a great way to let people know how to use the plan, in a short and easy way. I’ve heard feedback from service staff that have viewed this video saying it is great! You can check it out here. This project is a pilot which means it may not become a local resource, we’re just seeing if it is helpful for individuals with severe mental illnesses to help them look after their physical health. Keep your eyes peeled for the feedback that we’ll be gathering in the coming months.
We have been invited to attend an event about the new local eating disorder services, which we helped co-create posters, leaflets, and online information for. We’re going to be speaking at the event about our co-produced work, and hearing from individuals that worked with us. It’s always nice to be invited to such important events and continuing to do more work for this new service. I think it highlights how vital co-produced information and working is, and how much of a great job we are doing (if I do say so myself).
I have been joining Rachel on the visits to supported accommodation for individuals with mental ill health. We’re gathering feedback to help tell the commissioners that pay for an organisation to provide this support, so that they know what they are paying for and how it could be improved. It is always great being out in the community again and hearing the feedback from individuals. Its empowering helping people have their voices heard and I take great pride in the work we do. Here’s a picture of Rachel and I after a visit in Cambridge.
I also attended a Good Mood Café this week in Yaxley. It was great to see so many people all coming together over a cuppa, and connecting with one another. My visit was especially for Mental Health Awareness Week, as I wanted to see first hand what was happening in the community to help individuals feel less isolated. It was great to visit and to chat with the individuals here, who had all made friends with each other and use this café as a space to connect, have a laugh, and be in the community again.
I’m almost at the end of my second year at university and I must say, this year has been hard. I didn’t expect the workload to increase so drastically. And on top of scheduled lessons and assignments I also had to manage a placement and looking after myself. This wasn’t easy and there’s no doubt about it, I could have done things differently to better look after myself and manage everything. But remember that on the other side of the clouds is a bright blue sky. I now recognise a power in accepting what I am and am not capable of because it helps me better take care of myself. It felt like an uphill battle but through that, I know now what works for me and what doesn’t in terms of managing so much at one time. Heading into my third, and final year on this course, I know how important it is to manage my time more effectively, and to take a break from everything so it isn’t all study work all the time. These breaks are so important as they can help to refocus and re-motivate me, something I missed at university this past year.
I found this app, Stress Relief Colouring for Adults, in those moments of quiet I would take a few minutes to do some colouring. This app helped take me away from the noise of lessons or stress of assignment writing. Its free to download and you get so many options of different pictures and colours. You can be creative in your designs and get to save them when you are done. Here is one of my favourites that I’ve done. Why not give it a try?
This is what the app tile looks like.
I just want to end by saying its ok to have these times of difficulty. Life isn’t always ‘peachy’ or smooth sailing. But we do have the power to learn through this and change the outcome should there be another difficult period. You’ve got this!
‘Be strong now because things will get better. It may be stormy now, but it can’t rain forever’ – Unknown.
Thanks for reading.
Stay safe and stay connected.
Mental Health Engagement Facilitator