Mental health; Florence reinforces coping techniques – ‘I enjoy receiving my text messages’

Mental Health: Gateshead Talking Therapies offers a confidential service to people wishing to overcome problems triggered by feeling low, depressed, stressed or anxious focussing on helping people experiencing mild, moderately severe and first onset severe problems.  

The team specialises in working with people aged 16 or over who have recently developed a problem and helping them to understand it, and prevent it from becoming more severe and disrupting their lives.  

As well as offering a selection of courses and 1:1 therapy providing interventions recommended by NICE for a range of mental health difficulties – such as anxiety, depression, trauma, stress, bereavement, low self esteem and other emotional issues.

Upon GP or self-referral, the team delivers therapies according to identified needs including Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), Cognitive Analytical Therapy (CAT), Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR), Interpersonal Therapy (IPT), Mindfulness, Primary Care Mental Health and short courses and Supported Self Help (4-6 weeks).

The team identified that they could extend their reach to support clients after face-to-face appointments by recruiting Flo as one of the team. Flo’s personal feel was well placed to interact with patients to consolidate the techniques discussed previously and provide a real time nudge to put them into action. 

Victoria Rathour, Primary Care Mental Health Worker with Gateshead Talking Therapies Service part of South Tyneside NHS FT has shared some recent case studies from her clients that have been introduced to Flo.

CASE STUDY ONE – Not feeling alone, overcoming worry and low self-esteem

A client was referred to the Gateshead Talking Therapies experiencing worry and low self-esteem following a relationship break up.  These feelings were being exacerbated by some challenging family relationships, especially the client’s sister who she had struggled to build a relationship with as she was in touch and worked with her ex partners’ old girlfriend.

The team identified that extended reach support via Flo could extend the team’s support to the client once she had gone back to her daily life after their appointment.  The team discussed Flo, and how she may be able to help at the client’s first appointment.  

Victoria Rathour as the client’s Primary Care Mental Health Worker gave the client Flo’s service information leaflet that had been developed by the team and used this as a basis to explain how Flo could help.

The client left the appointment ready to receive Flo’s first message later that day once she had returned home.

How Flo helped
Flo’s timely interactions supported the client to help identify her own coping strategies and to start to rationalise her own thoughts, particularly around the low self-esteem and worry that she had been experiencing and discussing with the team.  

The client fed back that by receiving Flo’s messages it made her feel she that she wasn’t the only one suffering from mental health problems which was a significant milestone towards her recovery. The client explained that she found Flo, very helpful and often looked forward to receiving texts from Flo.

When the time came for the client to be discharged, she was in recovery having started to implement the tools and techniques advocated by the team and Flo to improve her self-esteem issues, and she began to make positive changes in her life.

The client was very pleased with the service and stated that she may be interested in joining further courses or groups in the future.

CASE STUDY TWO – Putting best practice care into practice

The team received a referral for a client who was a full time carer for her daughter and was hoping to develop techniques to help her overcome the depression and anxiety that she had been experiencing.

The client was finding herself mentally and physically drained from looking after her daughter, and was feeling an extreme amount of pressure and stress from having to liaise with other professionals to ensure that her daughter was receiving the treatment she needed.

At the client’s first appointment with the Gateshead Talking Therapies Team, Flo was introduced to extend the impact of the tools and techniques that had been discussed at the appointment to support the client in developing and using her coping strategies once she left the appointment and was back in her caring role.

For the client, Flo would be able to regularly interact with her to bring to life the themes discussed at the previous appointment, gently motivating her to reflect and put into practice what she had learned and feel supported and not alone.

The client found Flo very helpful and enjoyed receiving her messages.  In particular the client found the messages learning about mindfulness useful, and appreciated Flo’s prompts and encouragement to use the coping strategies that she knew she had, but didn’t always use when she needed too.

This real time intervention was able to extend the best practice care delivered by the team into the client’s everyday life.

Upon being discharged from the team, the client was in recovery and had started really picking up on mindfulness techniques and making plans of activities to do with her husband outside of being a carer for her daughter, which was something she really valued.

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