Better Together e-news issue 34 news in brief
Do you want to have your voice heard and make an impact on the provision of local mental health and learning disability services? Whether you’re a member of staff at LPFT, patient, or member of the public, nominations open on Wednesday 1 July for you to volunteer as a governor and make a real difference.
For staff wishing to apply, seats are available in the following constituencies: adult inpatients, adult community, corporate services, specialist services, and older adult services. Two public seats are also up for grabs, including one for the borough of Boston, and one for West Lindsey.
The deadline for applications is Wednesday 29 July 2020.
By calling 01522 309120, children and young people can speak to a professional about any mental health or emotional wellbeing concerns they have. Our staff offer advice, signpost to other services or support available such as Healthy Minds Lincolnshire and our child and adolescent mental health services. The line is also open for parents and carers who may be worried about their children, with support and advice readily available from our friendly trained practitioners.
More information about Here4You is available at www.lpft.nhs.uk/young-people/here4you
The current pandemic of COVID-19 has caused many changes to daily life, which can have an impact on our mood. Many people have reported that their daily activity levels have reduced, weighing their mood down and making them overly concerned with negative thoughts or memories. If you’re struggling with your mental health, it’s important to remember that you can contact Lincolnshire mental services to help you.
steps2change talking therapies continue to accept GP referrals and self-referrals. During this unprecedented time, the service has adapted to provide safe support for those struggling with depression, anxiety, stress, phobias and more.
Nick Harwood, Service Manager, said: “Our therapists offer telephone and video consultations. There are also numerous courses, webinars and guided self-help resources.
“We’ve adapted to the new situation as well as possible, to continue meeting the needs of service users in this difficult time. Service users have responded to these adaptations remarkably well, telling us that they continue to benefit from our support.”
To access steps2change go to www.lpft.nhs.uk/steps2change or call 0303 123 4000. You can read more how steps2change uses technology for patient care here
Claire Ryan, Estates Officer (Projects)
How did COVID-19 affect your job role?
During the initial outbreak a few of my projects were put on hold. So I took the opportunity to undertake housekeeping training, just in case help was required elsewhere in the Trust. A few weeks later I received an email to say there were housekeeping shifts that needed covering at the Peter Hodgkinson Centre and Witham Court.
How did you feel before starting the new role?
I was nervous about entering the wards, working with a different group of people and in an unfamiliar role - but I shouldn’t have been nervous. The staff were so welcoming, they took me under their wing, explained the routine and treated me as one of their own. The patients didn’t even know that I was new to housekeeping.
What was your overall experience of redeployment?
I loved working in both units - so much so that when everything goes back to “normal” I am going to stay on the housekeeping bank and if I can help out over a weekend at the units then I will. I believe it does us all good to experience different situations every now and then. The work that the housekeepers do on a daily basis is invaluable.
Suze, a patient from one of LPFT’s mental health rehabilitation wards, has been utilising creative activities to help her on her recovery journey.
Whilst taking part in a creative writing session, Suze said “I was only given 20 lines to write as a task, and it turned into a book.” The story began to unfold and she completed a 52 paged book titled ‘The Box’; an honest account of her childhood trauma and mental health problems. It is published and available to download via Amazon.
When asked about how creative activities impact her life she said: “I have been writing since I was a child, I found it easier to write than verbally communicate.”
“My feelings inspire me; it gets stuck in my brain until I am able to express feelings in writing and art. It’s a relief to get my thoughts out and it also helps others to understand me. It is really therapeutic.”
This is not her only publishing success; Suze has also had some of her artwork published in an art subscription magazine.
Every effort has been made to ensure patients don’t feel isolated on LPFT wards whilst visiting remains suspended. Carers, families and friends can still connect with their loved ones while they’re staying in hospital with a dedicated postcard service, where messages emailed to our carers team are turned into ‘postcards’.
This accompanies existing efforts to ensure patients do not feel isolated, with iPads available on every ward, giving patients access to video calls and messaging.
Anyone who wishes to send a postcard to a patient can email a message to email@example.com with the full name and date of birth of the patient and the ward they are staying.
Messages can also be transcribed over the phone by calling 07966 834977, and lines are open Monday - Friday 8.30am – 4.30pm.
Postcards can make a huge difference and help patients keep in touch with loved ones until visiting resumes.
Many of our teams have introduced new ways of working to continue providing care for our service users during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Our therapists from steps2change have been increasingly using technology to stay in touch with their patients.
Lauren Andrews, Cognitive Behavioural Therapist, has been using video to work with Joe, who struggles with social anxiety and eating in front of other people.
Lauren said: “We have arranged video appointments and have been eating meals together watching each other so that Joe gradually overcomes his fears. Eventually we plan to invite another therapist to our video call to further challenge Joe’s anxiety. Thanks to technology we were able to progress with Joe’s therapy despite the pandemic.”
Michael Hardy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapist, who also works for steps2change said: “My patients have said they find it really beneficial being able to see the person they are talking to, particularly if they are talking about a distressing subject.
“Video has also helped me pick up on those visual clues and signs that I would miss if I was just speaking to them over the phone."
The coronavirus pandemic has been an extremely challenging time for us all and has seen an increase in demand for mental health services. During this time, to help those supporting anyone with a mental health problem, the Government has made available £5m which voluntary and community sector organisations can apply for.
The grants aim to help organisations in England continue to provide vital mental health services or offer additional support. Grants of £20,000 or £50,000 are available for projects lasting up to 12 months, and the funding is administered in partnership with Mind, Mental Health Consortia, and The National Survivor User Network.
A new service supporting vulnerable individuals suspected of having committed a crime has been set up as the first of its kind in Lincolnshire.
The service aims to support individuals coming into contact with the criminal justice system, who have vulnerabilities including mental health, learning disabilities, drug and alcohol, housing and more.
It is often found that people in the criminal justice system have high health and social care needs, with common points of vulnerability. The service was commissioned by NHS England/Improvement and is a working partnership between LPFT and Lincolnshire Action Trust. The team aim to, where appropriate, divert people out of the criminal justice system into health, social care, education and training, or other support services.
Volunteers’ Week runs from 1-7 June and is held each year to celebrate and thank volunteers across the UK.
During Volunteers’ Week we shared videos, stories and many messages of thanks to shine a spotlight on our fantastic volunteers. We wanted to highlight the hard work of LPFT volunteers over the past year, especially during the on-going COVID-19 pandemic.
The Trust’s Chair, Paul Devlin, also shared his gratitude in his annual thank you letter.
Some of our volunteers kindly offered to share their stories about what they have been up to during lockdown. These include accounts of collecting and delivering medicines and groceries to people in the community, creating craft boxes and sharing coping techniques for those who are struggling with their mental health. You can watch the videos sent in by volunteers on the LPFT YouTube channel.
Thank you to all our amazing volunteers for the vital role you play within our organisation and community. You help us to provide excellent care and we commend you for your unrelenting effort and support.