Support services that build resilience and wellbeing
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As a health and wellbeing coach for the NHS Service Ways2Wellbeing, it is always a privilege to be part of people’s journeys and witness their steps towards increased resilience and wellbeing.
Ways2Wellbeing is a social prescription scheme: social prescription focuses on those areas of our wellbeing that could be best supported through a non-medical approach, with a focus on community integration and connection, working collaboratively with individuals on daily activities that they choose to partake in.
The Ways2Wellbeing team is a non-urgent service that works with adults aged 18 and over across a number of GP practises in East Devon and can be accessed via a referral from your GP or other health and social care professional.
When asking ourselves what we want to do more of to live well, turning these thoughts into actions may present a challenge. We may experience many personal barriers, such as low motivation, low mood , anxiety or reduced confidence, and self-belief. Ways2Wellbeing uses a coaching approach to help in overcoming those barriers.
In my role, I am often asked how the process works; what is it about the coaching approach that can enable people to make positive, sustainable changes? The truth is, the coaching approach is all about empowerment. It is about helping people to recognise the strength they have within themselves to take control of their own wellbeing and move forward with the lives they want to lead.
The first question I would ask anyone to ask themselves is ‘What matters to me?’ rather than ‘What is the matter with me?’
When the focus is on what we can’t do and our limitations, this can often lead to feelings of being stuck and not seeing a way forward. The aim is to shift the focus to what we can do and what we enjoy doing. By asking questions such as ‘What would a good day, week or weekend look like?’ ‘What do you notice really matters to you in living well?’ people start to think about what is possible and what would work best for them. What do they want to be doing more or less of to live well?
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Research suggests five steps to mental wellbeing can help people to feel more positive: Connecting with other people; Being physically Active; Learning something new; Giving to others and Taking Notice of the present moment (National Health Service, 2019). The Ways2Wellbeing service involves exploring what these mean to the individual and how they could work towards incorporating them into their day to day life.
Once the person has identified what it is they would like to be doing, we would then use a goal setting approach to help achieve this. In this context, it is important the person is in charge of setting their own goals and that they are ‘SMART’, to best ensure they are clear and reachable:
Specific (simple, sensible, significant)
Measurable (meaningful, motivating) e.g. When will I know I have done it?
Achievable (agreed, attainable) e.g. What do I need to do to keep me on track?
Relevant (reasonable, realistic and results-based)
Time bound (time-based, timely, time-sensitive) e.g. When do I hope to have achieved it by?
Considering how important a goal is to someone can be helpful in prioritising which step they wish to take first. By asking how confident someone currently feels in achieving a goal, ways to improve this confidence can then be explored (e.g. do I need to gain skills/knowledge about something? Who can I ask to help me?)
It is also just as important to review these goals as part of the process; whether the person has been successful, or if things haven’t turned out how someone may have hoped, looking at why this might have been and what the person has learnt about themselves that works/doesn’t work can help in making sure goals are more achievable moving forward.
These tools can be useful in any element of goal setting. This is something we can all try independently when wanting to build confidence and make positive changes in our lives.
However, if you feel you could benefit from working with a coach directly as part of the Ways2Wellbeing Scheme, please contact your local GP to discuss a referral to the scheme.
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Ways2Wellbeing is a member of the Mental Health Network facilitated by Parental Minds CIC. You can find us on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/MentalHealthNetworkHoniton
The network consists of more than 60 Mental Health Support Services, both statutory and community led, who meet every six weeks to share information and opportunities for training and to collaborate. If your organisation is interested in joining us, please contact email@example.com for more information.