Staff and service users work collaboratively to create Covid-19 pack

Posted: 28/07/20

Staff and service users at Westbridge Step Down Unit have worked collaboratively to produce a Covid-19 wellbeing pack.

Made up of a range of resources, the pack was made after asking service users what they enjoy doing, what keeps them well, both mentally and physically, and how they cope with strong feelings.

Written by specialist occupational therapist Craig Searle, it includes techniques, advice and suggestions on managing anxiety and staying calm during the pandemic.

When talking to service users the main themes that emerged were mindfulness, exercise and social media.

Craig said: “Most residents at the hostel said they used mindfulness to manage pain and stress and as a way to get through lockdown. Exercise was also identified as a key strategy for maintaining good mental and physical health.”

The pack is based on this insight, with a focus on the importance of establishing a routine and workouts that can be done in rooms or in the garden. It also includes links to faith-based websites, drug and support resources, and crossword puzzles and Sudoku.

Craig added: “It’s really important to have a resource like this. The situation with the pandemic has been fluid and fast-moving and we recognised our clients were looking for alternative ways for mental stimulation and distraction to ease the pressure during lockdown.

“We developed the resource pack based on our clients’ needs and views.”

One resident said: “I found the pack useful. I think it helped people remember their own coping strategies as well.”

Westbridge is a service in North Shields provided in partnership between Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (CNTW) and Tyne Housing. The resource has also been shared with Tyne Housing’s employment and support services.

Andy Parker, Clinical Team Manager at Westbridge, said: “The project is a brilliant example of positive practice and the innovation that has gone into this piece of work deserves to be recognised.

“It’s great to see our staff and service users working together and maintaining a positive outlook during what has been a challenging time.”

Westbridge provides assessment, treatment and rehabilitation for men and women over 18 who have been assessed as having an identified risk of causing significant harm to themselves or others, and have a mental disorder or learning disability.

Its purpose is to contribute to reducing the risks to others posed by men and women who suffer from mental illness. The unit aims to identify and meet the diverse rehabilitation needs of clients who need support reintegrating into the community.