"One of my videos on breathing techniques reached 2000 people on facebook!"
We’re being as flexible as we can be because we’re aware people’s mental health will be plummeting
I’m Jess and I’m a Recovery Worker at Newhaven Wellbeing Centre. I work with clients who are struggling with their mental health and I support them to achieve their own outcomes using the coaching model.
The Centre is closed due to the pandemic and national lockdown so now we’re mainly offering telephone support to clients. We are also assessing and reviewing clients over the phone which is difficult to do with people you’ve not met before, but so far it’s been very successful.
Some people who want to use the Wellbeing Centre prefer to be in groups without one-to-one support or telephone calls so I’ve created an email assessment option so that they can still access support.
We have clients who used to come to the Wellbeing Centre every day and so the lack of social interaction is what they are struggling with. A lot of people aren’t engaging with activities that will keep them positive and we’re finding that their motivation has gone. We’re trying to encourage clients to connect with each other during this period of social distancing.
Isolation and feeling unsupported are some of the main concerns for my clients with learning disabilities and autism. The change in routine and structure has caused massive triggers and disruption.
We’re judging our client contact time by risk. We’re calling everyone at least every two weeks but we’re also letting them choose the frequency. We’re being as flexible as we can be because we’re aware people’s mental health will be plummeting. Some clients are feeling really isolated so we’re offering emotional support rather than coaching, techniques, and tools.
We’re having to ask clients the difficult questions more frequently because we need to make sure they’re safe. At the moment we are requesting Police Welfare Checks because we have to stay on top of things as much as we can with acutely unwell people. It’s made everything feel a lot more intense.
Right now I’m working from my dressing table at home! I had no idea I had so many eyeshadow palettes when I was clearing it for my PC and monitor! Having a proper desk set-up is giving me better motivation.
All of my client interaction has to be done indoors with the windows shut but when that’s done, I open up my windows and then go outside with my dog and write my notes.
During this time, I’ve been recording videos for our clients and followers on social media. I love doing videos outside. I’ve been working from my garden and in fields near my home because I live in the middle of nowhere – there’s countryside everywhere. That’s been really nice.
At first I created these videos so that our clients know we are still here, they can see a face they recognise and know we are thinking of them and are here to support them.
One of my videos on breathing techniques reached 2000 people on facebook! That really motivated me and inspired me to do more. I was getting so much positive feedback from clients. My dog has become a star – clients want to see more of her in my films! Recently I filmed a dog walk as a guided visualisation so that if people couldn’t shut their eyes, they could watch something nice.
I’ve been helping a colleague in our Uckfield Wellbeing Centre create her own videos and Preston Park Recovery Centre in Brighton are now doing their own too. It’s started snowballing and now making videos is probably my favourite part of the day.
Working from home can feel like you’re not part of a team, so we’ve been video calling each other to remind us that we are together. We’re a small team of five and it is working completely fine. If we’re encouraging clients to video call each other it’s important we do the same to maintain our wellbeing.
I’ve been making sure that I notice how I’m feeling and I then make adjustments to create a balance. I try to be aware of the space I’m working in. I want it to be really tidy and I have an essential oils diffuser that I use to create blends to help me in what I want to achieve in the day, for example an energising blend. I open a window to get fresh air and I talk to people as much as I can. I think sensory stimulation is really important.
The thing that gets me through the day is knowing that the sun is going to rise again in the morning and set in the evening. That’s what keeps the world going and that’s how I know everything’s going to be okay.
We have seven Wellbeing Centres located across East Sussex which provide a range of community-based mental health and wellbeing support to enable people to get well, stay well and prevent crisis.