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Mental Health Awareness Week 2022 – #WeAreHere

This year Mental Health Awareness Week is tackling loneliness. As a provider of mental health support across England, we see day in and day out the impact that social isolation and loneliness can have on people’s mental health. The pandemic has only made this worse. 

All our services across Richmond Fellowship work to combat loneliness. Whether you’re having an at-home visit from someone in our community service team or gathering for lunch living in one of our supported housing services, our staff are there building safe spaces for the people we support. Throughout the pandemic all our services made sure they continued delivering this support at a time it was needed most. Our services helped people feel less alone. 

So, what can you expect from us this week?  

This year we wanted to keep things simple and recognise the important work of our amazing staff and services – not just for delivering high quality support throughout the pandemic, but also for all they do to help people feel less alone.  

So, on our social media we’ll be showing how our services, staff and people we support combat loneliness. Some of our staff will be sharing their experiences with loneliness to help break the stigma and encourage people to seek support for their mental health. 

We’ll also be sharing a RadioSparky Podcast featuring Nicholas, Peer Support Coordinator at Crawley Staying Well, one of our Crisis Havens in Surrey about his experience with loneliness and how the service supports people in their local area. 

How do our models to support recovery tackle loneliness? 

At Richmond Fellowship we have various models to support recovery including Employment Services, Residential Recovery (including Supported Housing and CQC Registered Care Homes), Community Based Services, Crisis Services and Domestic Abuse Services. Each working in their own specialised way to make recovery reality for the people we support.  

  • Models like our Crisis Services are a lifeline for people experiencing a mental health crisis, acting as a sanctuary when people feel most alone. People can find respite either within our Crisis Houses, or peer and professional support in our Crisis Havens. 
  • Our Community-based Services bring people together to connect. They give people the confidence to get back into society through community groups and at-home support with shopping, finances and independent living. These services are essential in reaching people who are isolated and feeling lonely. 
  • As for our housing services, living around likeminded people and having a safe space to grow and recover is hugely beneficial in tackling loneliness and isolation. Our housing services deliver either 24-hour or 12-hour support. Our staff, as well as the other residents, are there to support people on their recovery journeys and to ensure they never feel alone. 
  • Our Employment Services keep in regular contact with the people we support, checking in on their job applications and CV writing, but also their mental health and any other difficulties they might be having. Our employment services work hard to get the people we support into employment that is right for and interests them.  
  • Our Domestic Abuse Services are there for people affected by domestic abuse who are in situations that can leave them feeling entirely alone and isolated. 

Make sure you are following us on our Facebook and Twitter. Don’t forget, we are here, a safe space is available for you to also feel less alone. Find out about your local Richmond Fellowship services here.  

Opening the doors to our Kirklees Employment Service

This week we have been hearing from staff and people we support all about what it’s like to work within and be supported by one of our Employment Services. Our employment services help people to maintain or gain meaningful employment, training, education or volunteering opportunities that are right for and tailored to them. We deliver 38 employment services across England – and one of them is Kirklees Employment Service. We’ve already heard this week from some of our Employment Advisors at Kirklees over on our social media. Today we’ll be getting even more insight into the support that the service delivers, as well as hearing from our Kirklees Service Manager about what’s coming up next for the service.

So, what does the support look like at our Kirklees Employment Service? Their team of staff let us know…

Our employment advisors work with individuals aged 18 and over experiencing mental ill health and/or hidden disabilities. We work on a 1-2-1 basis to form an individual plan on how we can work together to achieve their goals. We provide practical employment advice and support around identifying skills, finding the right job for that person, creating CVs, interview preparation and much more, including retaining employment.

There’s so much more we do in between as well; we listen to people’s worries around employment and their confidence and skills, and we really focus on empowering people to see their own value and strength – there’s really nothing better than watching someone learn to realise that they can do these things and achieve their goals.

Without a doubt Kirklees Employment Service has a huge impact on the people they support – but what do they have to say about it?

“I was given so much support and encouragement that I considered a career in mental health support to try and help people as much as I was helped. I’m now a support worker feeling very satisfied in a job I might not even have considered if not for my advisor.” Person we support

“I have been able to find new volunteering opportunities which will strengthen my CV and have applied for jobs with the help of my employment advisor. Without her it would have been an impossible task.” Person we support

“The support that I have received from my employment advisor has enabled me to live a more confident and happy life. She has provided me with support and encouragement.” Person we support

“I felt like I was alone and back to square one, but my employment advisor made me feel like I mattered and always called at precisely the right time when I needed some help and guidance the most. I would definitely recommend the Richmond Fellowship for anyone going through difficulty with mental health.” Person we support

Kirklees Employment Service very recently won their contract to continue delivering this important support in their area. So, what’s coming up for service as they continue delivering support? Our Service Manager at Kirklees gave us an update.

“We recently won our contract to continue delivering our employment service in Kirklees. Towards the end of last year, I was lucky to be involved with the retendering of the service, working alongside our central service team. To support with this process we involved all staff, volunteers, customers, referrers and partners. We supported commissioners with consultation sessions, and made sure to use the feedback of people we support to help with identifying the needs of our service users to create a vision of a new employment service from April 2022. I was happy to see commissioners had taken on board people’s feedback from the consultation process, and the new service specification reflected the feedback of people we support.

We are always striving to increase the support we can offer to the community. As we begin a new year, and new contract, we are going to be increasing our offer to employers which will show us providing tailored support to organisations around mental health in the workplace, and support with the retention of employees.

We are linking up with far more organisations across Kirklees to provide our peer workshops around mental health and wellbeing into the community. We are also going to be providing community transition and integration workshops to minority groups.

We are excited about our new website that is currently under construction. The website will help us to reach even more people across Kirklees. The website will host some online guides to developing employability like a CV builder and interview tips. People we support will be able to seamlessly book onto peer support sessions and find out which service is best for them. The website will also host our new online referral system to services.

I feel lucky and privileged to be a part of shaping the future Kirklees Employment Service and supporting people across Kirklees.”

In 2021 our Kirklees Employment Service supported 472 people to find new employment, training, education or volunteering opportunities, as well as retain their current work. We can’t wait to see the impact they make this year – congratulations to the Kirklees team!

All our Employment Services put in important and necessary work to help people with mental ill health access employment opportunities. We are proud of the work they put in to inspire recovery. Check out employment services in your local area here, or find out more about Kirklees Employment Service here, as well as how to be referred to the service. 

Stay tuned to hear more from our other Employment Services across England this week. Including our Bath, North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire IPS Employment Service in this month’s Radio Sparky Podcast. Follow us on Twitter and like our Facebook page to keep up to date.

New service to improve mental wellbeing in Wiltshire

We’ve launched a new ‘one stop shop’ service to support people with mental health problems in Wiltshire.Wiltshire council

The Wiltshire Recovery and Social Inclusion Service will support people living with mental health problems to improve their wellbeing through a combination of community and specialist support. It’s being funded by Wiltshire Council and NHS Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group. Read more

Cambridgeshire man runs half marathon for charity that supported wife’s mental health

Kevin and JoA St. Ives man completed his first half marathon to raise money and awareness for the mental health charity that helped  his wife on her recovery journey.

Kevin Houchen, 42, took a break from managing the Ivy Leaf Club to tackle the Great Eastern Run in an impressive two hours and four minuets raising  more than £850 for national mental health charity Richmond Fellowship.

Kevin’s wife Jo had a long  history of anxiety and severe depression and was advised by doctors to give up work and challenge herself to do something fulfilling as Kevin explained:

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Cambridge woman runs marathon for mental health

Julia prepares for the London Marathon

Julia prepares for the London Marathon

A Cambridge woman completed her first ever London marathon to raise money and awareness for Richmond Fellowship after the charity helped her husband get back on his feet after a vicious mugging left him with severe anxiety.

Julia DeCesare ran the London Marathon to raise money and awareness for mental health charity Richmond Fellowship who helped provide practical and emotional support to her husband Andrew in a time of crisis.

Richmond Fellowship work to make mental health recovery reality for people with mental health problems and operate over 120 services throughout the country.

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