Trust promotes better mental health

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The Southern Health and Social Care Trust in partnership with MindWise is introducing a new range of day opportunities for people with mental health issues that will promote wellbeing and greater social inclusion.

MindWise has worked with the Trust for over 20 years, helping to support around 120 people with a range of mental health difficulties like depression, anxiety and Bi-polar disorders.

Traditionally, clients attended specifically arranged group activities at a particular time and venue. This new model aims to offer each individual the opportunity to choose how and when they wish to spend their day.

Bryce McMurray, (Acting) Director of Mental Health Services for the Southern Trust explained: “We are continually looking for ways to improve the support we offer to our service users to ensure that they can lead meaningful lives, with or without the symptoms of their condition. Listening to service users and shaping services based on what they tell us is an essential element of redesigning our services. In recent years, mental health services have evolved to become much more community focussed. We want to enable recovery and independence by supporting service users to engage more with their local community through training, employment, leisure or recreational activities.”

The Trust and MindWise have worked closely with the Mental Health Service User Forum in developing the new model.

Staff have been meeting with clients over the past few months to identify the activities they would like to participate in and organize the ongoing support they will require.

Jackie McCaughey, Area Manager for MindWise add: “Having reviewed existing services and consulted with clients, we recognize that whilst people want a place where they can feel safe, they would prefer to have more community based programmes of support.

“We have been working closely with a number of community facilities, libraries and colleges to identify suitable activities and ensure that clients continue to have the support they need.

“We really do believe that having a more active role in their local community, will help to boost the confidence of our clients and have a positive impact on their long term mental wellbeing.”

In addition to their individual chosen daily activities, clients will continue to meet with each other weekly and can avail of more intensive support from staff if needed.

Anyone interested in finding out more about this service should speak to their Social Worker or Community Psychiatric Nurse.