In Northampton we have been working in partnership with the national charity Action for Happiness to promote the 10 evidence- based activities people can do to improve their well-being enabling more people to Live Life to The Full. This is the acrostic GREAT DREAM below. David Smart says, “as a Christian GP it is the only framework I know, that has a biopsychosocial spiritual offer. It is not a prescription more a menu of options for people to take action.” https://www.actionforhappiness.org
Our mental health subgroup has pulled together some people with real passion and expertise in the area of mental health. It is clear that there is some excellent work going on in Northamptonshire.
- We have compiled a Resource List of Services locally and online- to signpost people to when helping someone experiences challenges to their mental health
2. We have developed a list of Mental Health Courses available locally, on-line and ‘on the shelf’- see attached. It is divided up into five sections:
• Mental health awareness
• Courses to build up emotional resistance
• Developing mental health champions
• Support for those experiencing mental health challenges
• Developing a ministry in churches
Social prescribing is being introduced into general practice across the country and the use of non-medical interventions will become the norm as part of personalised care plans. This provides opportunity for the paradigm shift of an asset-based model (looking at what is working for you) rather than a deficit model and progress to more whole person care.
The subgroup has put together a survey of faith leaders to assess what challenges are faced by faith communities in this area and what support they need to help people more effectively. Over 70 responses have been received to date. Early indications are that The Mental Health ROC subgroup is hoping to develop some training as well as other courses such as the appropriately named Living Life to the Full with God course, so this can be used in community groups.
Well-being cafes and Happy Café run very successfully in Northampton. In fact they are being used as a model for others to follow. These are opportunities for those with mental health issues to gather together in social environments to support each other, and do positive activities together. The Northampton Happy Café was shown on the national news, with David Smart being interviewed. The Wellbeing Café run by St Giles church was recently visited by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, who was highly complementary!
There is an increase in demand on Mental Health Services, which are already under considerable pressure. Many comments e.g. ‘over capacity, entry level at crisis point’ suggest the issues identified are those which fall below the threshold for professional involvement.
Mental Health covers a whole range of issues, some of which may require professional involvement. Children, young people, adults and older adults with age related mental health issues were all mentioned. It would be easy to consider the wide range of issues and despair of achieving much, but there are things that can be done. Raising awareness of the issues and being a community that accepts and supports those with mental health issues (thereby reducing the stigma) is a first step which everyone can be involved in.