Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Active Monitoring - Mind working with Powys GPs

Just last month at the PAVO Conference, which focused on Prevention and Early Intervention, we found out more about a new initiative at Brecon and District Mind when Service Director Val Walker spoke at the Mental Health Conversation. Active Monitoring provides support to people who visit their GP with symptoms of common emotional health needs including stress, anxiety and depression. The service aims to increase wellbeing, self-esteem and confidence, and reduce the likelihood of needing to access further support relating to a person's emotional wellbeing.

The mental health charity Mind describes Active Monitoring as: "a psycho-educational programme designed to provide early intervention provision within the Primary Care arena. With growing demands on Therapeutic Services resulting in increasing waiting lists it is getting more difficult for people to access the help they need in time. This role involves working directly from a GP surgery delivering the Active Monitoring programme. The service complements/replaces the ‘watchful waiting function’ and proactively works with individuals on agreed pathways to support early intervention via a facilitated self-help model."

Elizabeth Bogunovic
Brecon & District Mind works closely with the GP cluster in South Powys and Red Kite Health Solutions CIC (Community Interest Company) to deliver the Active Monitoring service.

Elizabeth Bogunovic is the Mind Active Monitoring Practitioner delivering the service for Brecon & District Mind, and she tells us more about this innovative way of working:

It was when I began volunteering for Merthyr and the Valleys Mind that I became aware of a service called Active Monitoring. The more I heard about it, the more intrigued I became so I sat down with Nicola, one of their practitioners, who explained to me the ethos behind the product so to speak. From that point on I was passionate about the possibilities an early intervention, self help service could offer people and considered the time a few years ago I found myself stuck in my own ‘mental health mess’, and how it may have changed the course I took at that time. I am convinced it would have helped me to recover a lot quicker than I eventually did.

Now I am delighted to be the Wellness Practitioner delivering the service for Brecon and District Mind, based at the Haygarth Surgeries which cover the areas of Hay-on-Wye, Talgarth and rural villages around here. I have been part of the Brecon Team since August 16th where I began by getting to know the area, the people and the surgery set-up, before heading off to Oldham to have some excellent training from Mind which fully prepared me to begin working with patients on September 8th.

The Active Monitoring Service consists of an initial ‘drop-in’ session where I meet the patient referred to me by the clinical team for a brief fifteen minutes and then, a further five more sessions. During the time they spend with me, they complete the GAD7, PHQ9 and Warwick Edinburgh Wellness evaluations at the beginning, middle and end, and choose one of six workbooks or pathways to engage with. These workbooks focus on Managing Anger, Anxiety & Panic Attacks, Stress, Low Self Esteem, Depression and Feeling Alone. To complement these workbooks, I have at my disposal a selection of exercise sheets they can work with and some smaller booklets to help them. The initial feedback I am receiving is on the whole excellent and very positive.

The last few months seem to have flown by and I was surprised to notice today how many of my first patients have had their last sessions with me over recent weeks! It only seems like yesterday I sat with them, full of anticipation both for them and me, describing the service and inviting them to engage in it. I was delighted for one patient at our third session when she completed the same evaluations she did at her first drop in session to see a slight improvement, I remember feeling her pleasure almost as my own!

So far I have worked with 48 people -  all at different points of their journey through the service - many of whom tell me how much more aware of their feelings and emotions they are since starting work with me. This not only gives me some validation that Active Monitoring ‘works’ but an immense sense of achievement when someone starts to notice a change in themselves.

I have amazing support from the staff here at Haygarth, it feels almost like being part of a big extended family which makes it a pleasure to come to what is called work but what I prefer to call ‘doing something I love with financial reward’. Even more than that I am lucky to be part of the team at Brecon & District Mind who also feel passionately that Active Monitoring has the potential to offer people an alternative approach to mental health matters, one that really can make a difference in a person's life.

Brecon & District Mind believes that early Interventions are far more effective than waiting, and that prevention is better than allowing things to linger. "We want people to get help immediately rather than wait to get help, or for things to get worse". 

You can find out more about the Active Monitoring project on the Brecon and District Mind website. Contact Elizabeth by ringing 01874 611529 or email: activemonitoring@breconmind.org.uk

1 comment:

  1. Hi Laura,

    My name is Anuj Agarwal. I'm Founder of Feedspot.

    I would like to personally congratulate you as your blog Powys Mental Health has been selected by our panelist as one of the Top 60 Mental Health Blogs on the web.


    I personally give you a high-five and want to thank you for your contribution to this world. This is the most comprehensive list of Top 60 Mental Health Blogs on the internet and I’m honored to have you as part of this!

    Also, you have the honor of displaying the badge on your blog.