Michael, a Peer Support Worker at our Chichester service talks about his experience of loneliness to mark Mental Health Awareness Week and tips to help overcome feeling alone.
Right now, we are looking for someone like you to join our team in Northampton where we support people with learning disabilities, autism and mental health problems. Are you caring and compassionate? Looking for a role where you can make a real difference to people’s lives every day? Welcome to Richmond Fellowship as a Recovery Worker. In this blog post, we take you through the day in the life of a recovery worker.
A typical day at Richmond Fellowship? To be honest, there isn’t one. One of the best things about this job is the variety. When you are arriving for your shift you are never sure what is going to happen. One day you will be helping people develop the skills to live independently, the next you could be interacting with healthcare professionals developing their care plan or maybe you will gain further qualifications through Richmond Fellowship’s training scheme.
To start the day the team meets for a handover from the previous shift. This is an opportunity to talk about plans for the day, which person you will focus your time on and sharing out tasks. The handover paperwork is completed to make sure we don’t forget anything. We’re commissioned to provide these services and our commissioners have expectations. We must keep records making sure the building is a safe place to live and work. These tasks are built into the shift leaving plenty of time for getting out and about with the people we support. Then it is off to see if anyone needs a hand to get up, washed, dressed, and ready for the day.
Once breakfast is finished it is time to plan the day. Each person has a set of life goals and it is the job of a recovery worker to encourage them to work towards those goals. For example, someone may have a goal to find a relationship. We break down that goal into smaller, manageable chunks. To meet someone special they may need to join groups and activities. With that in mind, you would spend time together searching out groups of interest and building up their confidence to attend. It is easy to see how each day can contribute to achieving that long term goal.
This job is all about supporting people to do things their way. It would be easy to give people a list of local activities but that takes away from helping someone learn how to search and find activities and events that suit them and their interests. That can all take time and it must be done at a pace to suit the person or the journey to becoming more independent is interrupted. Bringing ideas and suggestions for the people who live at the service creates a real buzz when we find something new to try.
You don’t need to have loads of experience of recovery work or of learning disabilities, autism or mental ill health to be good at this job. Richmond Fellowship provides a lot of training to develop the technical knowledge but this job is all about building relationships with the people who live in the house and your colleagues. If you have the basic values of kindness, patience and compassion everything else can be learned.
There may be appointments to arrange and attend. There are often visits from other professionals who are involved in people’s lives such as care coordinators, nurses or psychiatrists. You will talk with them and the person you support to develop their care plan or take the next step on their recovery journey. There are families and friends to spend time with. You will need good communication skills and a positive attitude to meet all these people. This job is all about providing as much or as little support as needed to make sure that people are living the life they choose.
The end of the day tends to be focused on preparing for bed and encouraging good sleep. Sleep is an essential part of being well for everyone and developing healthy sleep routine is a great way to get the best out of the next day. After you leave you can do some shopping with the exclusive discounts for Richmond Fellowship employees or maybe cycle home on the bike provided by our cycle to work scheme.
It can be a demanding and full-on job. It requires a lot of energy to stay motivated and energetic even when people are lethargic and disengaged. You won’t be on your own. Richmond Fellowship is a team and there is a lot of support for this role including training, monthly supervision with your manager, and team meetings. There is a staff council so you know you’re views will be heard at the top. It is essential to make good use of all of these tools to keep your batteries charged and the ideas flowing.
The recovery college from Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust is working alongside national mental health charity Richmond Fellowship, part of Recovery Focus, to provide a peer supported element to the courses on offer. Read more
Positive Future, a community based mental health support service in Havering, enjoyed a very successful opening day as they celebrated a new approach to mental health support.
The service, operated by Richmond Fellowship the national charity making mental health recovery reality, had previously focussed solely on employment support for people who were out of work due to experiencing mental health problems.
A mental health service in Havering has set its sights on a Positive Future as it appeals for people living with mental health problems to come forward and access the service.
Positive Future, a community based support initiative from Richmond Fellowship, the national charity making mental health recovery reality, is opening its doors on 18 June to show people what they offer and how it can help them with their mental health recovery.
The service provides people living with mental health problems such as depression, anxiety or stress with the opportunity to access meaningful community activities designed to build confidence, increase social interaction and develop new skills. Read more
Richmond Fellowship has teamed up with the local NHS Trust in Durham to expand the range of courses on offer at the recovery college to educate people in Durham about mental health and reduce the stigma surrounding it.
The two organisations are expanding the range of courses on offer at the highly successful Arch Recovery College as well as increasing the number of programmes being delivered at other sites to support people in the rural community.
Today we launch two new services which means we’re able to help make recovery a reality for even more individuals.
Our new Leicestershire Life Links community based service will provide drop-in, inreach and peer support services across the county.
And our new Bristol Mental Health Employment Service has also gone live as part of an innovative new integrated mental health system in the city.
A broad range of integrated services is being provided by nearly 20 organisations with specialist expertise and experience, coming under the umbrella of Bristol Mental Health. This includes community mental health (including assessment and recovery, crisis support, early intervention in psychosis and complex psychological interventions), community rehabilitation, dementia wellbeing and assertive engagement.
Our employment service is one of the first elements of the new system to go live. We’re working in partnership with Mental Health Matters, Windmill Hill City Farm and the Bristol Somali Resource Centre to provide specialist employment support to people with a mental health problem that is affecting their ability to retain, or seek, employment.
Friday 28th February was the inaugural certificate presentation ceremony of Solent Recovery College (SRC). SRC began offering 13 recovery-focused courses in September 2013 and 145 students have successfully completed courses.
The event took place at the Highbury College Campus in Portsmouth and was attended by Professor Geoff Shepherd, Senior Policy Adviser of the Recovery Programme at the Centre for Mental Health and programme leader of imRoc. Professor Shepherd took the opportunity to speak about the widespread benefits for organisations, peer trainers and students that recovery colleges can bring, as well as the positive changes in attitudes that they can help create within local communities.
Students were presented with certificates, with many of those receiving awards having completed more than one course since the recovery college opened in September. The ceremony marks the first successes of a project RF Portsmouth has been proud to be a strong partner in, working alongside Highbury College of Further Education and Solent NHS trust.
There are now 18 recovery colleges in the UK but Solent Recovery College is the only one thus far to operate from a full time FE college campus. The initiative has the full support of Portsmouth City Council, who provide funding for peer trainers. It’s also a contributing factor in Richmond Fellowship being the largest employer of peer support staff in the city, and we provide both paid and volunteer peer workers to co-design and co-deliver all the courses alongside mental health professionals from Solent NHS Trust, including a consultant and a local GP as well as staff from CMHTs.
The next year will see further development of SRC, with a programme of courses for the spring term already being delivered and further courses proposed for 2014-15. Courses are open to people who use mental health services in Portsmouth, their carers and supporters and staff from the three partner organisations. Portsmouth City Council have also recently agreed an extension to RF’s support and recovery contract, which will ensure the partnership can continue to thrive and Solent Recovery College can go from strength to strength.