New team on frontline for mental health care and support

Care co-ordinators Jason Simmons and Monique Aston

Care co-ordinators Jason Simmons and Monique Aston are part of a new mental health team serving Ottery, Sidmouth and Honiton - Credit: HOSMPCN

A new team of mental health experts has been created to serve communities in Ottery, Sidmouth and Honiton.
It aims “to promote positive mental health and emotional wellbeing in order to support patients to move from surviving to thriving”.
The service is offering a new approach for supporting mental health and wellbeing. It uses a holistic approach to look at all aspects of an individual’s life and how these aspects may be impacting that individual. This approach uses goal setting, coaching and care co-ordination to help individuals feel in control of their own health and wellbeing. The service will explore individuals’ mental health, general health, wellbeing, lifestyle factors and any barriers that may be preventing them from moving forward in their health and wellbeing journey.
The new initiative is called the HOSMs Primary Care Network and consists of Honiton Surgery, Sid Valley Practice and the Coleridge Medical Centre. A PCN spokesman said they were “extremely excited to be launching a brand-new primary care mental health team”.
The team’s announcement said: “Throughout the past 12 months in particular we recognise that many people may be struggling for a number of different reasons, redundancy, illness, financial issues, housing, relationships, the loss of a loved one and so much more can impact our wellbeing.
“The PCN mental health team can support patients with any of these concerns through mental health coaching or by assisting them to help find the best support for their unique situation via care co-ordination.
“The team currently consists of a mental health practitioner, three mental health and wellbeing coaches and two care co-ordinators. We offer a bespoke and person-centred service that explores ‘what matters to you’, working with either one of our mental health and wellbeing coaches or care co-ordinators or both simultaneously.”
The team’s statement continued: “Health coaching is a series of conversations that increases people’s willingness and desire to make and act upon changes they know they want/need to make but have been ‘stuck’ thinking about, or maybe ‘failed’ at previously.
“Coaching allows individuals to explore any areas of their life that they would like to focus on in order to improve confidence, self-esteem, motivation and wellbeing whilst reducing depression, low mood, anxiety and pain.”
The mental health and wellbeing coaches offer up to six sessions of 45 minutes which can be undertaken by phone, video call or face to face outside. With the support of a coach, the sessions enable goals to be set and provide the skills, tools and confidence to enable the individual to manage and maintain their own mental health and wellbeing. Whilst working with a coach, individuals can explore signposting and referrals to community groups, advice and information services or other organisations to further continue their support journey.
Care co-ordinators provide support and help to access community services and groups, advice and information and other services to help improve health and wellbeing. In the initial session, individuals will discuss any current interests or goals as well as any concerns with issues such as housing or finance that they feel the care co-ordinator could support them with. 
Care co-ordinators can support individuals on a one-to-one basis to aid in removing barriers to services to which they would like access. For example, if an individual would like to attend a community group but feels too anxious to go alone, a care coordinator could attend the first session with the individual.
Care co-ordinators are also developing group work open to all patients registered at the three surgeries. Currently the team have launched a walking into wellbeing group where patients are welcome to explore the beautiful nature of our area through accessible walks with like-minded individuals. More groups will be developed over the coming months to meet the needs of patients.
The team are: mental health practitioner Lauren Hales; mental health and wellbeing coaches Abigail Dawson, Sally Barnett, Eliza Hall and care co-ordinators Jason Simmons and Monique Aston

The team are currently taking referrals for the service through clinicians at the surgery. For more information on the team, you can find them on;
Instagram @hosms_mentalhealthteam

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