Supporting the mental health and wellbeing of our local population.

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Sam*, from Bedfordshire, was caring for her mum, who had become blind, and her dad, who had been suffering with Tuberculosis. 

The caring role was leaving Sam very anxious and stressed, particularly because no other family member was able to support her. As a result, Sam suffered a breakdown, tried to take her own life, and was admitted to a mental health crisis ward.

After leaving the Mental Health Crisis Ward, she was referred to a Talking Therapies service by her GP, but there was a waiting period to access this service.

To support Sam while she was waiting to access the Talking Therapies service, a Social Prescription Link Worker at the GP practice signposted her to The Disability Resource Centre.

Helping to build self-esteem and confidence

The Disability Resource Centre is a local charity that has operated in Bedfordshire since 1994. It works with disabled people and those with long-term health conditions to support them, their families, carers, and health and social care professionals who work with them.

The Disability Resource Centre has been able to increase the levels of their support for local residents thanks to funding received from the Suicide Prevention Community Grant Scheme, managed by Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Integrated Care Board and Milton Keynes Council.

A Health and Wellbeing Coach from The Disability Resource Centre met with Sam and identified that she needed support for her own mental wellbeing as well as support in her caring role.

Together, they formulated a wellbeing plan to help support Sam until other services became available.

The plan covered several areas to support Sam’s mental health and wellbeing, including:

  • Looking for a rewarding part-time job: Sam was previously employed as a paid carer, but she felt – as she was now caring for her parents – it would be better to look at other areas of employment. However, she was feeling low in confidence. The Disability Resource Centre referred her to a local project to support in building her confidence.
  • Connecting with statutory services: Sam was advised on other services that were available if she was feeling unable to cope. She was also helped to access a crisis café for further mental health support.
  • Joining a walking group: Sam agreed that taking exercise she enjoyed would benefit her both physically and mentally. Sam joined a walking group to help her connect with other people, as well as helping her to get active.
  • Weekly catch-ups: Sam and her health and wellbeing coach arranged weekly telephone calls to ensure that she was coping with her caring role.

Outcomes

With help from her coach and the Disability Resource Centre, Sam is less anxious, in more control and has raised her self-esteem and hope for the future.

The support from the health and wellbeing coach has helped Sam to continue caring for her mum, while no longer feeling the need to access crisis services such as A&E.

Maimoonah Hanif, Health and Wellbeing Coach for The Disability Resource Centre, said: “We are here today to support a brighter tomorrow for anyone who needs us.”

*Name changed to protect identity

The Disability Resource Centre (DRC)

The Disability Resource Centre is an organisation led by people with lived experience of disability; working with disabled people and those with long term health conditions to empower them, their families, carers and health and social care professionals who work with them. Working with the community to support anyone with a disability or health condition, the cornerstones to their services are professional, emotional and practical support and a shared understanding of the individual and family need.

Find out more at on The Disability Resource Centre website.

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