Tag Archives: Learning

Mental Health Awareness Week (18-24 May) – Interview from Healthwatch Dorset

We interviewed Healthwatch Dorset volunteer Catriona, who comes from a professional background of working in the field of mental health as a counsellor, and she offered her experience, tips and helpful resources.

Why did you become a Healthwatch Dorset volunteer?
“I have recently signed up to be a Healthwatch Dorset volunteer, I was triggered to be more proactive with my time when the lockdown announcement was made in relation to COVID-19.  I was interested in volunteering for Healthwatch because of my professional background in health and well-being.
“I have many years’ experience in the charity sector, helping young people and families with social, emotional and mental health struggles.  This has included therapy as well as support and motivation, offering opportunities for something as simple as a ‘walk and a talk’ or a call of encouragement to get out of bed in the morning.  I have also found advocacy an important part of my role, because when you most need help it’s often hard to find the energy to access agencies like the benefits system, housing or the health service.”

With your experience of working in mental health, can you tell us about some of the telling signs that a person may be feeling anxious or depressed?
“It’s important that everyone looks after himself or herself before they can really look after anyone else.  It’s important to ‘notice’ how you are – this takes a moment – to stop and ask yourself, how am I feeling, what am I doing, what do I need?
“Stress often triggers us into exaggerating our behaviour, so if you tend to over eat, you might eat more.  If you find running is a good way of calming yourself you might over-exercise, pushing yourself to run further or faster.  If you struggle to get out of bed and get dressed, you are likely to stay under your duvet if your mental health takes a downturn.
“Noticing this and being able to acknowledge what you are coping with is the first step to helping yourself and then helping others.  ‘Noticing’ takes a bit of practice because so many of us are used to rushing and filling every minute of the day with ‘doing’ something, but it’s so important because each of us, individually, is the expert on ourselves and knowing what we need.  The next, and really important step is to be kind to yourself – acknowledging and naming the challenges you are facing.
“The very same skills transfer well to helping others; noticing when someone has changed their behaviour or their way of reacting to you is key to helping.
“When you see changes that concern you, acknowledge that you’ve seen this and ask what the trouble is, demonstrating your concern and being kindly curious.  You may have to ask several times before you get a genuine answer, but it’s work persevering and when you get the answer you can offer support.”

Could you suggest some positive coping techniques?
“There are many well documented techniques for coping and again, it’s about knowing yourself, and what’s good for you.
“At the start of the lockdown I thought it was a good opportunity to do something I haven’t done before, I bought wool and knitting needles, but that was a mistake!  I don’t enjoy knitting and I never will!  I’ve now returned to the things that I know work well for me, walking and cycling, reading, cooking and keeping in touch with my friends and family.
“The one thing that is universally helpful, when coping with uncertainty is having a routine; again there are many variations of routine.  It might be that a very loose routine is best for you, or you might prefer something more structured, again knowing what suits you is important.  If you find yourself saying ‘I should…’ this is a critical voice in your head and some self-compassion is needed.
“Putting some structure into the day, and the night as well is a helpful coping skill, in the current situation, knowing what day of the week it is and marking the weekend in some way will help with isolation.
“It’s easy to feel helpless because COVID-19 affects the whole world and so much is out of our control, but keeping to small regular plans will offer a sense of agency and feeling grounded in your personal world.
“We constantly hear that we are living in unprecedented times, and this is true, we are all coping with challenges to our mental health on a daily basis and we live with global uncertainty about what will happen next.  We can only do our best and accepting our anxiety, acknowledging the stress and the worry and that these will lead to difficult feelings will keep us from being judgemental and harsh on ourselves and others.
“If you find you are being hard on yourself, ask yourself what you would advise your best friend to do about your concerns.  You will find it easier to access your kindness and compassion for him or her and then you can take the same action for yourself.
“It can be helpful to schedule a ‘worry time’ into your day.  Have a regular moment when you consider everything that’s worrying you and then agree with yourself to let go of your worry until the same time the next day.”

Healthwatch Dorset kindly thank Catriona for sharing her knowledge of the field and shared experience, to help others who may be feeling that their mental health is being impacted at this time. For more information about what they do please follow this link –> Healthwatch Dorset

The Bus Stop Club

Programme January to June 2015

The Bus Stop Programme for January to June 2015

Mondays Mornings – Victim Support Surgery:1:1 sessions available by appointment for East Dorset residents.Listening Service also available every Monday afternoon – ask for details.
Mon 7 – 9pm CAP Money budgeting course. 3 Sessions.Please phone to book a place on the next course.
Weds 9.30 12.30am Job Club – a 6 week course for East Dorset residents out of work or looking for a better job.Includes money management course 11.30 – 12.30 with FREE soup and roll lunch. Funded by the South West Foundation.
Weds 3 – 5pm I.T. access for parents and school age children.
Thursday 9.30 – 11.30am Basic IT workshops
Thursday 1.00 – 3.00pm Therapeutic self-help group for adults who have experienced abuse in their childhood
Fridays 10.30 – 11.30am One Step at a Time: Health walks in the local area, weather permitting.For Insurance purposes you are required to complete a short health questionnaire.
 Fridays 4.30 – 7.00pm The Good Food Community Caff : Nutritious low cost family meals and healthy snacks.
Visitors are welcome any Wednesday afternoon.
The Bus Stop Club

FREE C.V. Workshop planned for Sat 19th July

C.V. workshop Sat 19th July 10:00am – 1:00pm

The Bus Stop ClubWe are running a free C.V. workshop for local residents who want to write a C.V. for the first time or update their current C.V.

All ages welcome including school leavers.

Learners can work at their own pace, with the help of an experienced and helpful tutor in a friendly and supportive environment.

If you know of anyone who might benefit from attending this course please pass on this information.

To book a place call Susan on 07866 692528 or drop in and talk to staff at the Centre.

This workshop is funded by Dorset Community Foundation and is for those who have NOT attended the Job Club this year.

Capture the Memories

We ran a course last year funded by Adult Education called “Capture the Memory” running during the school terms. It gave people in the local community an opportunity to learn and enhance their I.T. skills using a topical theme as the driver.

The Bus Stop Club

The I.T. course covered how to load photographs from a camera or USB stick on to a laptop, learning how to organise the computer libraries (file directories). To manipulate the photos we used used Powerpoint and Word extensively. We also worked on the fonts, downloading information from the internet, emailing photos to friends and family to name a few topics covered.

This allowed people to develop much greater confidence in their office skills.

Free C.V. and Cover Letter Workshop morning

Learners can choose from the following options:

  • Write your first C.V.
  • Update your C.V. – bring on a memory stick.
  • Write a general cover letter.
  • Write a cover letter with a specific job in mind.
  • Practise your general letter writing skills.

– please bring your job skills, dates of employment and training, and details of previous and current job experience with you.

– If you have your own laptop you are welcome to use it, as this makes more room for other learners.

This I.T. workshop is for adults NOT enrolled on any other Job Club or I.T. course.

Please phone Susan on 07866 692528 to book a place.

The Bus Stop Club

Free Job Club course starting 29th April 9:30am

For 6 weeks every Wednesday morning our tutors would love to help you prepare for that next job.  We cover much more than C.V.s and cover letters – we also help you to identify the personal and work transferable skills you have and can take to any job situation, and you can practise your interview skills too.  If you are an adult and out of work why not give us a go?  Phone to book a place on the next free course which starts 29 April.
You can also update and practice your I.T. skills on Thursday mornings – but please phone in advance to see if we have any spare places.
Courses are funded by South West Foundation – Learning Curve.