Contacts

92 Bowery St., NY 10013

thepascal@mail.com

+1 800 123 456 789

BlogNews

New rural campaign launches

New Within Reach mental health campaign is launched to support people in rural Dorset

Almost a quarter of Dorset’s population live in rural areas and, for those who are struggling or facing mental health difficulties, that can sometimes feel isolating. Research indicates that suicide rates nationally are higher in rural communities, so Dorset’s Suicide Prevention Group has launched a new campaign to remind people that wherever you are, and whatever you’re facing, support is always within reach.

Simply talking to someone about what you’re going through can make a huge difference. And however difficult it might seem, there is always someone to turn to.

Trevor Cligg is a farmer in West Dorset who has faced mental health difficulties: “A lot of people out there are struggling. Some withdraw and others, like myself, hide in plain sight. But talking about it is the biggest thing you can do to help – to whoever, be it your family, your friends, counsellors, doctors. Just talk about it.”

If you don’t feel comfortable talking to friends or family, you can speak to your GP or contact any of these free support services, which are on-hand to help 24/7:

  • Dorset’s NHS mental health helpline Connection – call 0800 652 0190

  • Samaritans – call 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org and someone will get back to you within 24 hours

  • Text ‘SHOUT’ to 85258 for confidential support via text message

Sophia Callaghan, Public Health Consultant at Public Health Dorset, is the co-chair of Dorset’s Suicide Prevention Group: “Dorset has some wonderful rural communities but if you’re having a tough time, it might feel like help is far away,” she explains. “Our Suicide Prevention Group works in partnership to help those in crisis and signpost to the support that is available across our county – because wherever you are, you’re never alone.”

“Help is always available, whether it’s through a friend or family member, your doctor, or simply a listening ear on a helpline. You can also contact Dorset’s brilliant social prescribers through your GP surgery to access activities and support in your area. You might be surprised at what’s happening nearby – there are wellbeing activities, friendly groups and drop-in services across Dorset.

Suzanne Green, Programme Lead for Mental Health at NHS Dorset, urged people to look out for others too: “It can be tough for people to admit they’re struggling. If you’re worried about someone, don’t be afraid to ask how they are. And remember, we often say we’re fine when we’re not, so ask again if you’re worried. Even if they don’t want to open up then and there, they’ll still know you’re there for them.

“The Samaritans have some great advice on how to spot when someone is struggling, how to support others and how to listen at www.samaritans.org”.

Find out more about the Within Reach campaign, as well as support and wellbeing activities in some of Dorset’s rural communities, at www.lightonmh.uk/withinreach

As part of the campaign, Dorset’s Suicide Prevention Group is offering free mental health awareness training in Broadwindsor and Gillingham. If you are interested in the training, please email phdcomms@dorsetcouncil.gov.uk

Find out more about the Light On Within Reach campaign and support available in rural Dorset.

BlogNews

How to start talking about mental health

We all appreciate the value of talking openly and honestly about mental health. It can reduce mental health stigma for everyone and make it easier for our loved ones to open up when they are struggling.

But the important question is: How do we start the conversation? How do we discuss mental health in the most effective and sensitive way?

While different approaches may suit different people, here are some general tips for starting a mental health conversation:

  • Choose your moment
    The first time you want to start talking, it can feel daunting – and scary to tackle. But, it’s important to take the leap and get people to talk open and honestly about how they feel. After talking about mental health a few times it will become second nature and help reduce the stigma around it. Over time, it will be easier for someone to open up to you, especially if they know you’ll listen without judgement and be supportive.
  • Location and Time
    Before talking to someone about your own mental health or theirs, make sure it is at a good time and place. This means a time where you’re not in a rush, and somewhere you have privacy. It may be best to talk during one of your usual activities. Do you and your mate meet every Sunday to play football? Do you meet your sister for coffee regularly? Begin there. Talking in a familiar territory can help the conversation feel more natural, even if it is not something you usually discuss.
  • Ask twice
    If you’re concerned about someone’s mental health, or are just checking-in generally, it is important to ask how they’re doing twice. When someone asks us how we are, it is a natural habit for most of us to reply on autopilot, with a cheery, “I’m ok, you?” As this is our default reaction, it is important to ask again, so the person being asked knows you really want to know how they are doing, and you’re not enquiring out of polite interest.
  • Really listen
    Be aware of your body language. Keep your arms and legs uncrossed and face them. Maintain a healthy amount of eye contact and really listen to the words they say. Don’t interrupt or interject as soon as there is a pause in speech. Once they have shared, paraphrase what they have said back to them to make sure you have understood. If they correct you, readjust your summary until they agree.
  • There is no “right” thing to say
    Many people worry about saying the wrong thing when someone tells them they are struggling. Remember, the main thing is that you are there to listen. Validate their feelings; don’t try to minimise their struggles, tell them you know how they feel, or give unsolicited advice. Instead, tell them you can’t imagine how difficult their situation must be, and you’re proud of them for facing it so bravely. Tell them you are there for them if they want to vent. Tell them you care about them.
  • Know when to seek additional support
    Whilst talking is invaluable, there is only so much we can do as a friend or loved one. Importantly, you’re not there to feel responsible for someone else’s problems. If they are experiencing mental health concerns that interfere with their daily functioning, encourage them to see their GP or reach out to a mental health service or charity, such as us. If you’re not sure if they need professional support, it’s always better to be safe. Follow this link to find out more about our 1-2-1 and group support available for adults and young people in Dorset.
  • Remember to safeguard
    If you’re not sure your loved one can keep themselves safe, you must treat it as an emergency and take appropriate action immediately, such as take them to A&E or phone for an ambulance. You could also call your local crisis team if you have their number.
  • Keep yourself safe
    It can be difficult to listen to people’s trauma without taking some of it on ourselves. Look after yourself, practise self-care and talk to someone if you also need support for what you’ve seen or heard.

Crisis information

Emergency:

If someone’s life is at risk or you do not feel like you can keep someone else safe, please call 999 or take them to your nearest A&E. Don’t leave them, keep them safe.

A mental health emergency should be taken as seriously as a physical one. You are not wasting anyone’s time.

Urgent Support:

If someone you know is struggling to cope and they are approaching a crisis point, they can access 24/7 local help and advice over the phone. There is also face-to-face support available in the evenings:

  • Connection 
    Dorset’s 24/7 mental health helpline (0800 652 0190 or NHS 111) can provide direct help or signpost them to a range of other services. If someone requires urgent clinical help, staff can arrange an assessment within four hours.
  • The Retreat 
    A drop-in support service in Bournemouth and Dorchester, open 30pm-midnight every day. It provides a safe space where people can talk through their problems with mental health workers or peer specialists. See here for more information.The Retreat also offers virtual drop-ins for people from anywhere in Dorset. The service is available from 4:30pm – 11:30pm 7 days a week. Click here to access support during opening hours.
  • Community Front Rooms 
    A support service for face-to-face drop-ins, open Thursday-Sunday from 3.15pm to 10.45pm. Community Front Rooms are available in Wareham, Weymouth, Bridport and Shaftesbury.

Listening services:

Make sure your loved ones or friends note the FREE numbers below. They can use them to talk to a trained volunteer about anything that is troubling them, no matter how difficult:

Our Support

Visit our help and support pages for resources, signposting, and information about our individual and group mental health services.

Guest blogger:

Huge thanks to our blog writer, Nick Rowe – with valuable input from our Adult Services too. Nick is the Project Manager for the Dorset Community Mental Health Alliance that brings voluntary, statutory and business members together to create a mentally healthy Dorset.

BlogNews

Mental Health First Aid and ALGEE

Enrolling on training courses to gain knowledge and new skills is something I have always enjoyed. After all, ‘learning’ is one of the Five Ways to Wellbeing and taking part in ongoing learning opportunities throughout our lives can really help to improve self-esteem and make us feel good.

When the chance came to take part in a Mental Health First Aid Course (MHFA) through Dorset Mind, I didn’t think twice about putting my name down. I had heard very good things about the training. I wanted to be able to learn essential skills that may help somebody who is in a crisis, and maybe even help to save a life. Sometimes we might go on a course and never be in a situation whereby we need to use the skills acquired. But those skills are always there, banked within us so we can be prepared and ready to take appropriate action.

Just in case

Earlier this year, I experienced one of those ‘just in case’ situations, but this particular situation was a crisis moment for an individual. I was in a circumstance where I needed to remain calm and put what I learnt on the MHFA course into practice. This was real life and is why we offer these courses.

It was on an early morning in mid summer that I decided to get up and out on my bike before starting the working day. This is something I do on a regular basis, but not something I had planned to do that day… although I am so glad I did.

I hadn’t been out long before I noticed an individual sitting on the floor and seeming a little upset. I could have cycled past and not thought much of it, but I didn’t. Something wasn’t right, I had a sense that this person may not be ok and I had to stop. That was the right thing to do. This person was in distress and appeared to be a moment of crisis. I sat down at a distance and began a conversation, making sure to respect their space and to show I was there to listen and help. All the time I was there, my priority was to ensure the individual was safe. I was thinking back to my training, going over what I learnt and trying to be as calm as possible.

As the time went on, the individual talked more and more and the best thing I could do was to listen. Just listen to them, acknowledge how they were feeling and when appropriate, I gave signposting information that might be helpful. I waited there until they made the first move to show they were ready to come away from the situation and we parted ways in a much more positive and forward thinking manner. I was confident I’d helped diverted a crisis.

The ALGEE method

Upon reflection and thinking back to this situation, the ALGEE action plan we were taught in the MHFA course had been put into practice:

  • Assess – the situation was assessed for any signs of suicide or harm
  • Listen – listening played a huge part in this situation
  • Give – information and reassurance to the individual
  • Encourage – where to find appropriate professional help
  • Encourage – support strategies and other methods of self-help

I am so thankful that I was in the right place at the right time on this particular day.

And I will be eternally grateful for the skills and knowledge I learnt on the Mental Health First Aid Course. Going through the training and applying what was learnt helped me to stay calm and know what to do in this situation.

I would recommend anyone to do this course if you have the opportunity; it can enhance your life and make a real difference to somebody else; you never know when you might need to put the skills and learning into practice.

Help and Support

If you are in crisis, ring 999 or the Samaritans free on 116 123. Visit our help and support pages for resources, signposting, and information about our individual and group mental health services.

Our guest blogger:

Huge thanks to our blogger, who prefers to remain anonymous. They received MHFA Training from our Training Team – details of which you can find here.

Find out more about Dorset Mind’s work click here

BlogNews

Fathers’ mental health matters too

Fathers are often not considered when it comes to post-natal support. Paternal mental health has not been researched as extensively as maternal mental health, and fathers are rarely provided enough support to manage the effects of parenthood on mental health.  

However, it’s proven that fathers’ mental health difficulties can cause negative effects on the father, the mother, and the children they raise. When men are provided with ample support, they are better equipped to support mothers with their mental health and be the best parent they can be for their child.  

For these reasons and more, International Fathers’ Mental Health Day (IFMHD takes place the day after Fathers’ Day. It was established to raise awareness about these issues and provide resources and information to support father’s mental health. This year, it falls on 21st June. 

Dr Andy Mayers, Principal Academic at Bournemouth University and our Patron, is one of the leading advocates for IFMHD and conducts research into perinatal mental health. As Dr Mayers highlights, supporting father’s mental health is “not about support for fathers instead of mothers; it’s as well as. If we help fathers, we help mothers. If we help them both, we also help their children.” (1)  

How many fathers are affected?

Research conducted in 2010, suggests that approximately 10% of fathers experience depression after their child is born or during the pregnancy. This concerning rate may increase if the mother is also experiencing mental health difficulties; fathers with depressed partners have a 24-50% chance of also becoming unwell. Importantly, postnatal depression in men often goes undiagnosed. 

What can contribute to paternal mental health difficulties?

Many factors can make a father more vulnerable to perinatal mental health difficulties. First time fathers and fathers younger than 25 are more likely to experience post-natal depression. Additionally, if the father has a history of mental health, financial, or substance issues, they may be at greater risk.  

Signs of paternal mental health difficulties

While it is normal to experience some emotional changes after becoming a parent, it is important to look out for signs that a father needs mental health support. These may include pervasive, distressing emotional changes, such as feelings of guilt, irritability, anger, sadness, stress, fear, confusion, and difficulties bonding with their baby. 

Additionally, they may experience cognitive effects such as pessimism, indecisiveness and difficulties concentrating. Behavioural changes such as isolating themselves, withdrawing from work and hobbies, arguing more, and increased alcohol, nicotine, or drug consumption may also indicate a mental health issue. Finally, a struggling father may experience physical symptoms, such as headaches, appetite change, weight change, insomnia, and stomach issues.  

Effects of paternal post-natal depression

Research suggests that post-natal depression in fathers can be detrimental to the wellbeing of both mother and baby. They may over-discipline and spend less quality time with their child if they are struggling with their mental health. This has been associated with developmental delay in the child, as well as behavioural and mental health issues. 

Where to find help:

It is important to get the right help as soon as possible if you are struggling with your mental health. Speak to your GP about your symptoms and they may be able to offer you treatments such as medication or talking therapies. Additionally, there is a wealth of online support and resources available. Visit Mind’s website to browse a range of online support or visit Dr Mayers’ website

If you experience a mental health crisis, don’t delay reaching out for support. Call 999 or The Samaritans FREE on 116 123. 

Our guest blogger:

Huge thanks to our Ambassador and Assistant psychologist Lucy for her timely blog. Lucy has also contributed a lovely film about how nature makes her feel which you can find on our Instagram feed.

BlogNewsStories

Bipolar and me

TRIGGER WARNING: This blog mentions bipolar disorder and may be upsetting in nature. If you need to talk to someone after reading this article, please call the Samaritans FREE on 116 123, 24/7.

What is Bipolar?

Bipolar is a serious mental Health illness that affects your mood. It causes a person to experience manic or depressive episodes as well as some psychotic symptoms during these episodes. 

Bipolar is one of the UK’s most common long term conditions, with almost as many people living with Bipolar as cancer. It is estimated that 1.3 million people in the UK live with Bipolar, that’s 1 in 50 people. It’s also worth noting that 56% of people with Bipolar in the UK are undiagnosed, indicating it’s prevalence.  

World Bipolar Day takes place on 30th March every year. To mark it this year, we’ve a special blog from one of our own staff, Dan.

Dan’s experience…

I have Bipolar Affective Disorder and have struggled with it for 20 years.

I used to work full-time in a busy office and figured that I was happy enough with my life.

Since 2017, I had a number of stressful events in my life which triggered various manic and depressive episodes.

I’ve had problems with my mood since my early twenties, but I was not diagnosed until much later in life. 

Following one major depressive episode at the age of 26, I was prescribed antidepressants by a psychiatrist and entered a major manic episode. Unfortunately, despite my symptoms, this wasn’t picked up. Being untreated for bipolar, the episodes continued, cycling between mania and depression for many years. 

I think the main reason that I was not diagnosed was that I held down a successful, sometimes stressful job throughout and managed a relatively stable life from anyone looking in.  

Mania

As I got older, my manic and depressive episodes began to last longer and became more severe. I was still prescribed antidepressants but not diagnosed. 

My friends, colleagues and I began to suspect that my mood swings may be an indication of bipolar, but unfortunately a number of mental health professionals were dismissive of my views. 

During another major depressive episode, one particular psychiatrist listened to my history. He tentatively diagnosed me with bipolar affective disorder, type II. It was difficult as he had not seen me during a manic episode. This time, I was prescribed a mood stabiliser along with an antidepressant, which helped for a time. 

Various major life events precipitated a manic episode, always followed by many months of depression, and I just about managed. Still, the manic episodes in particular began to worsen over time. 

During my most severe manic episode, at the age of 39, I experienced many symptoms. My spending was out of control. I would talk to anybody and made many new friends. People couldn’t keep up with my speech – I would flit from one subject to another constantly. I conceived a number of business ideas which at the time were unrealistic. I would be so busy running around doing different things, I would have up to thirty calendar entries in my phone that I wanted to achieve that day. Clearly, I never did. I barely slept – one or two hours a night and long periods without any sleep – but I somehow remained functional.

Sectioned

I was finally sectioned under the Mental Health Act. 

Being detained in an acute psychiatric unit was the best experience in my life when it came to my mental health. I received medical intervention in the form of an antipsychotic and two mood stabilisers. All of the staff were brilliant and easy to talk to. The structured day helped an awful lot and I found it much easier to sleep. After some weeks the mania subsided and the racing thoughts in my head began to ease. 

Following my release, I still entered a depression but it became easier to manage with the right medication and regular visits to my psychiatrist. 

In the early part of 2021 I decided I wanted to try something new. Having an interest in mental health, I joined Dorset Mind as a volunteer for The GAP Project in Dorchester. Just being outside, connecting with nature and helping others has had an enormously beneficial impact on my mental wellbeing.

In September 2021, an opportunity arose to work for Dorset Mind as a Coordinator for the new GAP Project in Weymouth and I am very proud of the work we have done so far.

I can honestly say that since joining Dorset Mind I am enjoying the most stable, peaceful and happy period for most of my adult life.

This is a far cry from the office environment I once worked in and I would highly recommend the GAP Project for anyone who is struggling with their mental health for whatever reason and who wishes to improve their mental wellbeing. 

Our Guest Blogger

Huge thanks to Dan Bradshaw for sharing his incredible personal journey. and how working with The GAP Project and connecting with nature has helped him on his recovery journey. 

Help and Support

The GAP Project is Dorset Mind’s ecotherapy project, of which Dan is working on. Find out more about the benefits of Ecotherapy and how you can get involved here.

Bipolar UK is a national charity that specialises in supporting people with bipolar.

BlogNews

Reasons to be hopeful

The overwhelming emotion I felt as I reflected on the National Suicide Prevention Alliance’s (NSPA) conference in January was one of hope. 

Nobody working within suicide prevention believes enough is being done to save lives, but it was clear from speakers and delegates attending that the commitment to make a difference is as strong as ever. 

And, as we all grapple with the ongoing mental fatigue brought about by the pandemic, we should take heart from both the data and the incredible work going on across the nation. 

Looking at the latest data from the Office of National Statistics and Real-Time Surveillance (RTS), which tracks the number of suspected and attempted suicides, the numbers are flat. Thankfully, the pandemic has not led to a rise in deaths by suicide, according to official data. 

However, we must put a big health warning on the numbers. It is too early to measure the real impact of this terrible virus. We may yet face the perfect storm as government support is withdrawn, the cost-of-living soars and people’s mental health is severely tested. 

One of the reasons I feel hope is there is not even a hint of complacency from anyone involved in suicide prevention, either in the voluntary or statutory sectors. 

As project lead for the Dorset Community Mental Health Alliance, I witness every day the desire to help people live happier lives. For some, it is a lifelong struggle but never has there been more awareness of people’s needs or more tools to help them find a way through. 

We know many people face prejudice and services that do not always meet their needs – whether they’re from LBGT+ or ethnic minority communities, feel isolated, are neurodiverse, live with socioeconomic deprivation on the margins of society or face a combination of factors. 

And while it is vital, we’re never complacent about gaps in services, there has never been a time when both mental health professionals, and their 3rd sector colleagues have been more aware of the need to do better. 

So, what can we do in practical terms to make a difference? 

With the support of our Public Health colleagues, we have been able to offer 15 voluntary organisations, which felt they needed better skills, free suicide prevention training. In March we will roll out more courses. 

We also want to help members develop suicide prevention strategies for their organisations.  

In 2022, we will be working with Ann Luce, Associate Professor in Journalism and Communication at Bournemouth University, who lost her partner Richard to suicide 16 years ago. She has dedicated the intervening years to a tireless pursuit of answers and solutions. 

Ann helped Dorset’s three universities produce a life-saving SP strategy, which not only recognises the unique set of challenges that young people face leaving home for the first time, but also gives staff and students clear guidance and support if a young person takes their own life on campus. 

We will support Dorset’s Multi-Agency Suicide Prevention Network colleagues as they look to identify emerging trends from the RTS data, while recognising it is the tip of the iceberg because it only records incidents reported to Dorset Police and British Transport Police. 

We will play our part in the NHS reforms with representation on both the Mental Health Integrated Strategic Programme Board and the Delivery Board, which will determine the county’s provision of mental health services. 

Many of our members are part of the Mental Health Integrated Community Care (MHICC) Project, which recognises that primary and community mental health services need large scale transformation to meet everyone’s needs. 

One death from suicide is one too many and so encouraged by the amazing work of the NSPA we must all reaffirm our commitment to create a society where nobody feels taking their own life is their only option. 

The alliance isn’t a crisis service 

If you or someone else is at serious risk of death or injury, call 999 and ask for the police and/or an ambulance 

For 24/7 emotional support, speak to The Samaritans FREE on 116 123 or visit, samaritans.org  

Connection is a 24/7 FREE helpline for Dorset residents or visitors of all ages. Call 0800 652 0190 or NHS 111 and select mental health, or visit, dorsethealthcare.nhs.uk/access-mental-health  

 

For more about NSPA, visit nspa.org.uk/  

For more about Dorset Mind, visit dorsetmind.uk/  

For more about the MHICC, visit dorsetccg.nhs.uk/cmh/   

To join the DCMHA, visit dcmha.uk/join/ 

News

PASSIONATE ABOUT IMPROVING LIVES

Suicide Prevention  

One of the founding principles of the Dorset Community Mental Health Alliance (DCMHA) is to tackle the tragic rate of suicide in Dorset. Every suicide in our community is a tragedy – for the life that is lost, for the family, friends and loved ones and for the ripple effect that each has on our society. 

All 38 organisations that belong to the DCMHA are dedicated to doing everything in their power to make a difference and to bring that number down. 

What are we doing to help? 

Firstly, we have made sure that everyone knows where to signpost someone in crisis, or who says they are having suicidal thoughts. If someone comes to any of us with a life-or-death crisis the right course of action is to call 999 or signpost them to The Samaritans or NHS Connection – a 24/7 FREE helpline. 

But we don’t want our responsibility to end there. 

  • The DCMHA has made suicide prevention training a key target this autumn. We’re taking part in a pilot project being run by our partners at Public Health Dorset (PHD) and we hope to roll out that training to as many members as possible between now and Christmas. Every member has already received a link for online training from Public Health England and Zero Suicide Alliance. 
  • We are learning lessons from the life-saving Real-Time Surveillance work that is being done by Public Health Dorset. This is helping our conversations about how we can come together to prevent more suicides with data that is current and relevant (the data we were working on last year was more than two years old). 
  • We are talking to the inspirational Alice Hendy, who set up R;pple Suicide Prevention in the wake of her brother Josh’s suicide late last year. R;pple is an online monitoring tool designed to flash a message of hope and support to anyone who searches harmful keywords or phrases on the PC. It takes a few minutes to get any PC protected. For more details, visit R;pple Suicide Prevention 
  • We are developing a blueprint for a Suicide Prevention Strategy, with the help of Bournemouth University and Dorset Healthcare NHS Trust, which will help members to ensure they have a framework in place, both for staff and volunteers, to prevent suicide from within their own organisations and for their service users, clients and participants. 
  • We are looking at ways for our members to help colleagues within the CCG and Public Health find solutions for people who repeatedly present to emergency services because they have attempted to take their own lives. This is a complex and ongoing project potentially involving a lot of different organisations from the NHS, Local Authorities, Police, GPs and the Voluntary Sector.  

It’s worth saying that every tragic life lost costs the country around £1.5M, so although the human cost is more important, there is a financial cost too.

Our other work 

Health Inequality Mental health inequalities are deeply rooted in our Society. We are supporting Community Action Network (CAN), Dorset Community Action (DCA) and Dorset Race Equality Council (DREC) with a Health Equality Partnership Project. The project has been commissioned by PHD and the NHS’s Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), to gather community insights and identify any areas of hidden health inequality that people with enduring mental health, learning disabilities and ethnic minority groups face. 

We’re sure our members can provide insight and help the project to engage with people with lived experience and find out the barriers they are facing when using preventative health services, including mental health. 

NHS Reforms We’ve also been discussing how best we can work with the new Integrated Care System’s Mental Health Programme Board (MHPB), which comes into force in April next year as part of a raft of NHS Reforms. We will work with the MHPB to ensure the provision of mental health services in the county meets everyone’s needs. 

Community Mental Health Transformation Members are also keen to support the work of the Mental Health Integrated Community Care Project (MHICC). This project recognises that primary and community mental health services can’t always meet everyone’s needs and so large scale ‘transformation’ of these services is necessary. So we have been discussing how the Voluntary Sector, and in particular our members, can contribute to the success of this ambitious programme of work. For more details go to dorsetccg.nhs.uk/cmh/  

If you want to join us, please contact Nick Rowe at  nick.rowe@dorsetmind.uk or fill out the form dcmha.uk/join/  on this site. 

Dorset Community Mental Health Alliance – Working together for Dorset’s wellbeing. 

 

News

HOW DOES COUNSELLING WORK?

At Relate Dorset and South Wiltshire, we are here to help. 

Whether you are having problems with a relationship or you’d just like to understand your partner/family/friends better, talking things through with one of our counsellors can make a real difference. 

The counselling we offer is for everyone.  Whether you’re married, single, young, old, living together or apart, straight or gay, we can help you strengthen your relationships and help with other issues such as anxiety or depression.  Counselling offers a caring, confidential and supportive environment in which you can examine problems and think about ways to address them.  

The first step is to arrange an initial appointment to discuss what the issues are that you need help with.  This gives you the chance to see if counselling is for you and us the chance to make sure we are the best people to help you.   

From there, if everyone agrees, ongoing appointments can be arranged with either the same counsellor or a new one who will be briefed on what was discussed at the initial appointment.  Once you start ongoing appointments with a counsellor, you will stay with that counsellor.  There is no set number of appointments you must have – that is up to you and your counsellor to agree as you go along – but six-eight sessions are common. 

Appointments last between 45 – 50 minutes and can take place either face-to-face, via webcam, or over the phone, depending on your circumstances and what works best for you.   

Our counsellors offer appointments on a range of days and times, so hopefully, there will be something that works for you.  

Our friendly team of administrators are the contact point outside of appointments and will take you through the process described above and book all the appointments, talking through availability and costs with you. 

For more information about Relate Dorset and South Wiltshire, visit  https://www.relate.org.uk/dorset-south-wiltshire  

News

A GENUINE DESIRE TO HELP

Wendy Thompson is Senior Practitioner at BCHA’s new Community Front Room (CFR) in Weymouth. In her blog, Wendy shares her passion for supporting people with their mental health issues and the positive strategies she uses.  

Community Front Rooms are a new service, which form part of Dorset HealthCare’s Access Mental Health initiative, which provides drop-in support to anyone over the age of 18 requiring support with their mental health. CFRs are open Thursday to Sunday, from 3.15 pm – 10.45 pm.  

“My role involves engaging with the customers who attend our sessions, as well as working closely with other agencies in the community, working together to help deliver the message that help is available and no referral is required – people can call us or just drop in (from Thursday 17 June 2021). 

“We have a team of peer specialists and mental health recovery workers, who are all kind and compassionate people, willing to go the extra mile to support people.  

“We recognise that while mental health illness can be complex, we are committed to normalising it in the same way that our physical health is regarded. We need to acknowledge and recognise that at times we may all require support and there is no shame in that.  

“Sometimes it can be difficult talking to those closest to us as we feel we are burdening them, so talking to someone neutral really helps. We are able to give people a safe space to visit and talk or just be in the company of others to engage in activities that can offer distraction and connection. 

“My favourite part of this role is having the autonomy to be creative in the delivery of the service and being able to make a difference in the lives of others.  

“Fundamentally, I can be myself and draw upon my own previous work and life experience to make a difference in my own local community.  

“I started my working life over 20 years ago as a very anxious single mum. But by being given the opportunity to volunteer at a local drug and alcohol agency I was able build my confidence and gain employment as a Substance Misuse Recovery worker and to work within the community and the criminal justice system.  

“More recently I moved over to working within mental health. If someone had told me years ago that I would be doing what I’m doing now I honestly would never have believed them. What I love about my job, is that now I can support people in the same way I was supported and share with people strategies that can support their wellbeing, confidence and self-esteem. 

“I have contact every day with customers and other agencies. Throughout the pandemic, we made use of virtual support through the attend anywhere provision.  

“COVID has been hard for us all in different ways, leaving us with feelings of isolation, as well as with financial issues, while juggling home working and childcare. We’ve had to work through relationship breakdowns and bereavement, so having the opportunity to talk is so valuable as otherwise we can just be left with our own thoughts, which can be a very lonely place to be.  

“Through a genuine desire to help, as well as the ability to listen with kindness and friendliness, I can help people see things from a different perspective and find a way forward. This may include referral to connect with activities within the local community and/or referral to more specialised support. 

“What excites me most about my job is connecting with a vast array of people in the community. I give people hope when they or their loved ones are struggling.  

“I am passionate about breaking down the stigma and shame surrounding mental health issues and helping people to understand that we all have mental health worries.  

“I hope to be able to promote a better understanding of what the symptoms are that people are struggling with and to ensure that they have a safe place to visit, whether it’s to request support for their own wellbeing or to seek advice about how to support a colleague, loved one or friend.” 

Further information about the Community Front Rooms is available on the Dorset HealthCare Access Mental Health website: https://www.dorsethealthcare.nhs.uk/access-mental-health  

News

IMPROVING LIVES IN DORSET

It has been great to be part of the Dorset Disability Equality Forum, and work alongside like-minded people who are committed to improving experiences for local people with disabilities, and those visiting the area.  

It’s really important to have opportunities to collaborate and develop solutions, as everyone has something to contribute – this has been very clear with the work alongside Dorset Council’s updated taxi policy, where both physical health and mental health considerations were identified. 

We’ve been working with the Forum to better support our patients, staff and local communities, inviting some of our staff networks and patient groups to information sessions to learn more about the Forum’s purpose and ambitions.  

With many links throughout the county and beyond, working with the Dorset Disability Equality Forum allows us to meet local people who may access our services, and empower our colleagues who can constructively contribute to the important topics discussed. 

Harry Coburn,   

Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Practitioner, Dorset Healthcare University NHS Foundation Trust