Connect for Health – finding your prescription for support

Connect for Health Leeds is a social prescribing service delivered by Leeds Mind, in partnership with Touchstone, Hamara, Barca-Leeds, Leeds Irish Health and Homes and Better Leeds Communities. Connect for Health assesses each individual’s needs and takes into account the challenges you are facing, before supporting you to access a personalised selection of local groups and activities which could help you achieve positive mental health.

Here are 3 case studies of some of the people who have used our service;

Connect for Health Client A

During our initial appointment A was extremely anxious. A was visibly shaking and was tearful throughout the appointment and expressed that they find it difficult to leave their home due to their anxiety. The only exception they make is when their daughter asks to do particular activities. A wanted to reduce their social isolation and anxiety but only felt comfortable attending groups for people of the same sex due to experiencing domestic abuse from a previous relationship.

The Connect for Health (CfH) Wellbeing Coordinator (WBC) worked with A to identify some support and social groups and both agreed that it made sense to attend one group at a time so A could slowly become comfortable around others. The WBC supported A to attend a local breakfast club. A enjoyed this and wanted to attend the club again. A became quite overwhelmed at the end of the first group as this was a big step given that they had not left their home and gone out without their daughter in over 2 years. Since then A has been attending the breakfast club independently on a regular basis and has expressed that they now enjoy speaking to their peers.

A felt ready to identify ways of coping with their anxiety to prevent it from impairing their day-to-day life. The WBC & A discussed therapeutic interventions and made a referral to IAPT. The WBC went along to the IAPT assessment appointment with A who said that due to the support and encouragement they received from Connect for Health they feel they can discuss their situation freely and get the support they need whereas previously they had felt too distressed to do this.

A is now discussing domestic violence with her new friends and peers at the breakfast club and reports feeling ‘stronger’ with a positive outlook. A is starting ESOL classes to enhance their writing & reading ability and is utilising their new found confidence to try new activates with their daughter, gymnastics is at the top of the list.

The WBC carried out a distance travelled tool with A at the start and at the end of their work together. This showed that A’s health & wellbeing had increased significantly from 0/100 to 90/100.

Connect for Health Client B

B has a suspended sentence for aiding and abetting benefit fraud. As a result they lost their job as a train conductor. B had lots of stressors, including mortgage arrears & the involvement of social services around concerns for their eldest child. B told their Connect for Health (CfH) Wellbeing Coordinator (WBC) they were feeling really low, stressed, anxious and reported that they didn’t look forward to or feel positive about the future. B found that work has helped with their mental health which was something they remained focused on.

The WBC worked with B to identify employment and financial support and opportunities for socialising. Having previously been in the armed forces B was eligible for support from the Royal British Legion who helped B clear some mortgages charges, write off some of B’s debt and help B set up payment plans for utility bills and council tax to enable B to manage their money. The WBC helped B access employment advice and local mental health and social groups. We also discussed counselling services together.

B reported that the time Connect for Health allow for each appointment was really important as it gave them space and time to ‘step back’ to explore what was important to them. B told me that they feel a lot better about managing their debt going forward and now for the first time in a long time start planning for the future without the daily stress. B is seeing more of their friends, has secured a job back on the railways and told me they feel they can manage their mental health better and is feeling better physically and mentally. B told us “I feel that I could not have got to where I am now without the help & support of my Wellbeing Coordinator. I don’t feel that I would have made as much progress in just 2 months. I now have a much more positive outlook to the future”.

Connect for Health Client C

C wanted support around their mental health and self-harming following a sexual assault. The Connect for Health (CfH) Wellbeing Coordinator (WBC) met C in a place they felt safe, alongside C’s father. The WBC worked together with C to draw up an action plan, highlighting C’s goals and aspirations. C told their WBC they wanted to attend university to study Animal Management in the future but didn’t feel that was an option currently due to the way they were feeling. C had accessed mental health support services in the past and wanted to try something different. The WBC advised on alternative services and C felt that accessing local support services might help build their confidence.

The WBC referred C to LS14 Trust Arts Therapy who supported C through art and conversation. The WBC also discussed Leeds Mind Peer support programme and booked C onto a ‘Managing my Mental Health and Anxiety’ course starting later this year. They developed plans for C to hand in their CV at local Vet’s and animal charities to gain experience ahead of University.

They also discussed SARSVL (Support After Rape and Sexual Violence Leeds) together and how C could refer. C said they feel ready to seek support around their sexual assault and were aware of a long waitlist for support but felt that they had some positive things to access in the meantime.
C said that they have information on support they were not aware of before and feels as a result they will be ready to attend university after engaging with the support offered.

C explained that they found the peer support information useful and were interested in other groups delivered at DIAL House and wanted to book onto the LGBT support group. C told their WBC “the peer support was really good! It did a lot of good to be around other people with similar difficulties and it is very much peer led which suits me so much more than therapy honestly because I don’t feel like there’s any kind of power imbalance or anything, which I definitely feel in therapy. I think going to the sessions will do me a lot of good and it’s not as scary as I thought it’d be for sure. Thank you”

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