Top moments of 2019 in Rethink Mental Illness services
Our services help keep people living with mental illness safe and well in the community and prevent their needs from escalating. We also help them to live independently, access the information, support and care they are entitled to, and understand and exercise their rights.
We asked our colleagues in services, who work day-in-day-out to improve the lives of people affected by mental illness, for their highlights of the year.
Motivated by lived experience
Leigh, a Mental Health Recovery Worker at our Salisbury Supported Housing service, told us:
“Working in mental health has been so important to me following my own experiences of mental illness. Being able to use my skills to support those who need it has been incredibly rewarding. Building strong relationships with the residents at our supported accommodation service and watching their independence grow is my professional highlight of 2019.”
The benefit of using creative activities has also been a highlight for Leigh:
“Including craft events this year has been an exciting way of bringing people into the supported accommodation service and fostering a supportive and recovery-focused environment.”
The theme of supporting independence was echoed by Karen who works in a nursing home and David, Service Manager at Willow Lodge accommodation service. Karen supports a resident, severely affected by mental illness, who “now bathes two to three times a week, changes their clothes, does their laundry and changes their bedding regularly. This has come from not bathing or changing at all.”
David said, “We successfully enabled three people to move to, and sustain, independent living. A fourth person was identified as needing additional support beyond our resources, but we were able to obtain them a social care package and a place at a 24-hour service for appropriate support.”
David also flagged that his service, “encourages involvement of people using the service through our suggestions box. We then give them feedback via a ‘You Said, We Did’ print-out that we share with them”.
Speaking up and making a difference
Denise, a Supervising Advocate at Rethink All Age Advocacy Service, told us:
“Earlier this year we supported a young person currently living in secure accommodation 530 miles from home to go to her Nan’s funeral. She was being told by social services she couldn’t go. Her Nan was an extremely important person to her and at times the only blood relative she had contact with when her life was most turbulent. We intervened and the decision was reversed. Arrangements were very quickly put into place (within less than a week) to enable her to attend.”
Denise concluded, “Going to the funeral may not have had much of an impact on her either positively or negatively but being prevented from going is something she may have struggled to deal with for the rest of her life.”
Kellie’s highlight, whilst training as a Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner in our Criminal Justice and Secure Care services, was “gaining the post of trainee psychological practitioner… I love the work Rethink Mental Illness does and I’m proud to be a part of the team.”
Joining the team
The importance of providing support for carers was highlighted by Danielle from our Oxfordshire Carers Support Service “I now attend two veteran support groups a month, one in Oxford and the other in Upper Heyford, where I provide support and guidance to carers of veterans who live with mental illness.
“These groups have been set up to provide a safe and supported group for veterans and their loved ones. My main role is to speak with family members and let them know the support that‘s available from Rethink Mental Illness. If this is something they feel they would like, I take an initial referral and make an appointment to see them at a location of their choice.
“During the last two years I have seen that there is a lot of support for the veteran but very little for the loved one who is also facing many challenges in their caring role. So, we are now in the process of setting up a very much needed support group for family members caring for a veteran living with a mental health illness.”
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