There are many elements involved in a healthy recovery from mental health illness. Medication from mental health services is often, but not always, the foundation for this recovery. But after stabilising through psychiatric intervention, many patients are left wondering – what now? With so many components to recovery, how does a person go on to once again lead a fulfilling life?
At Bridge, we recognise the need for individual, holistic treatment, and the importance of treating patients as an entity – with aspirations and dreams for their future, not just another number on a clipboard.
That’s why we tailor specific support packages to suit each person’s needs based on their diagnosis and circumstances. Our banks of support workers are readily on hand to guide each person through their personal recovery. We also offer a range of supported housing accommodation for people getting ready for independent living, as well as floating support services for those already in their own homes.
Our Recovery College initiative is a highly successful and innovative service – a college that offers educational courses to enable students to achieve optimum well-being. Over 1,000 students have already enrolled with many progressing to employment and various training opportunities. Along with our Recovery College learning centre, we’ve also opened a social enterprise café, Stir, which serves the community healthy “good mood food”. At Stir we train up volunteers from the college who benefit from the work experience opportunity.
Although recovery is personal to every individual, there are similar threads across all journeys to mental health improvement. Many people have found that a healthy diet and regular exercise dramatically improves their mental state. Joining a gym, running group or yoga class can be highly beneficial. Just getting outside for a brisk walk in the fresh air can help clear the mind. The link between exercise and nutrition has proven success, that’s why our Bridge partner, mental health campaigner Rachel Kelly’s books on nutrition to aid mental health recovery informs part of the menu we offer at Stir Café.
Therapeutic intervention is another element that may support those seeking recovery. Many people have a false understanding around therapy and that it is a rather expensive method of healing. With so many different options available, therapy can actually be a viable and affordable treatment.
Greenwich Time to Talk is one such alternative and offers free psychological treatment for anxiety and depression. The Deborah Ubee Trust aims to promote emotional health by providing counselling to those who are otherwise unable to access it within the London boroughs of Greenwich, Lewisham, Bexley, Bromley, Lambeth, Southwark, Newham and Tower Hamlets. You can also search for qualified therapists on the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) website.
Just being around others working towards recovery, can be incredibly healing and supportive for an individual. At our Recovery College, we train up students to deliver our courses as part of our peer support offering. This approach enables them to learn from those who are further along in their journey.
Much is written about mindfulness and meditation as aids to mental health recovery and as one of our classes at the college, we offer free mindfulness and meditation classes open to all enrolled students.
Many external mindfulness courses can be found online such as BeMindFulOnline courses, reasonably priced local meditation courses, or collections of free meditations on YouTube. A hobby you enjoy also works wonders, which is why Recovery College also offers many alternative creative courses ranging from knitting to gardening.
Patients who’ve stabilised and gone through a lengthy period of recovery and rehabilitation often find that as they improve, their thoughts quickly turn to goals for employment and training.
If there’s been an extensive period of inactivity or an absence from work, volunteering in the local community is a good stepping stone to get back into the working world. It’s during this time that taking a course to find your career niche is a very good idea. Many Recovery College students have gone on to train for different careers as well as work in part-time and full-time jobs.
We fully understand the need for holistic recovery to enable good mental health and well-being, and we are there to support everyone every step of the way, from diagnosis, to treatment and back to a full and empowered life.
Get in touch with Bridge if you’d like to know more about our specialised services or to find out about our donor programmes.