Think Positive- Mental Health Awareness Programme

Author // Dominic Wade Categories // HR and Training

Think Positive customers on completion of the programme

For the past three years, TCHC has increased its work with customers facing health and disability issues. In the last two years, I’ve worked on projects supporting people struggling with mental health from mild to moderate and sometimes severe.

The impact we have made has been life changing for customers as they have told me first hand, but also moving and uplifting for our Personal Advisers and Tutors who have delivered the personal development training and seen the customers grow and progress into more confident and inspired individuals. This is motivating for everyone.

The way people view the world and their place in the world, distorts their success, how they communicate with people and how people treat them.

Being unemployed and feeling alienated from society can often cause people to view themselves in a negative light. It can affect their ability to succeed in specific situations or to accomplish tasks. Attending a training programme that not only looks at employability but at your personal development can have a positive effect on your mental health. Customers no longer view mental health negatively and make the effort to learn coping strategies, embrace actions with the belief that they can have positive mental health.

From July 2015 to July 2016, I managed a DWP Health and Well Being Programme, which looked to bring people with mild to moderate mental health issues in Herts, Beds, and Essex closer to employment. This was done by delivering a programme that taught people about self-esteem, self-efficacy, confidence building, motivation, teamwork, interview preparation, and CV and job searching skills.

Work experience was at the centre of this, out of the 328 referrals received after undertaking the programme and training, over 100 customers started voluntary work experience placements with 88 customers completing 2-4 weeks of their placement. This lead to over 90 customers moving into employment and 71 sustaining another 8 weeks of employment. We reached our profile and employment targets of moving customers into part time and full time work.

The programme gave many customers a new focus and lease of life required to move into employment, something many providers previously saw as too hard to help.  I saw a customer on this programme called Moira move into employment with a company we sourced and placed her into after being out of work since the seventies. I also saw a guy named Duncan’s confidence increase, he landed a role in the City with Amazon earning a high salary which was amazing considering he had anxiety and was shaking when he first met us. These outcomes would not have happened without our support.

From October 2016, I have been involved in launching and mobilising a new DWP programme in Birmingham called Think Positive. I’ve also had the enlightening role as a practitioner, delivering the training which has made a positive difference to people’s lives and brought me so many rewards. What I have seen and experienced is powerful. I have seen people with no confidence in themselves, blossom into more resilient, optimistic individuals who have embraced a growth mindset and now feel ready to learn more by taking training in a range of fields, but more importantly, feel more ready to work. We ensure our customers leave with practical skills to perform better in interviews, job search more efficiently and have a CV that is fit for the purpose.

On this journey, I’ve learnt how important it is for us to push ourselves outside of our comfort zone to achieve more. I have seen learners conquer their anxiety by doing just that -  attending full sessions frequently then participating and engaging more until they are confident to speak proudly in front of a classroom of people.

I have also learnt the importance of speaking up about topics such as mental health. Sharing personal experiences not only helps yourself, but potentially also those people you speak to about it. It has been empowering to see customers help each other in the group and build friendships that increases their support network outside of the programme.

I’m glad to have worked with a dedicated and focused team of outstanding tutors delivering the Think Positive programme including Kay Higgins, Ann Drewery and Stephen James. The feedback from customers regarding their delivery has been excellent, one in particular named Tammy emailed the following after getting her DBS cleared to start a new Job at a Care Home “I honestly couldn't have done it without you all. Kay and Ann from TCHC helped immensely with my new beginning! I could not have done it without partaking in the course, it gave me so much confidence.”

TCHC has demonstrated its outstanding proficiency in tailored support to customers with mental health issues over the last couple of years. It has been a challenging but rewarding experience.

The systems and processes TCHC has used to make these programmes a success would also not have been possible without the head office support of Sharon Montgomery and Paul Riddick who coordinated the programme and booked customers onto the courses. Paul also used his knowledge and understanding of the customers to source appropriate employment for them, while Viral Shah has followed up customers to capture job outcomes.

The whole team has found working on this programme very fulfilling and are proud of helping the customers move forward and succeed.

Dominic Wade

Picture below Stephen James Think Positive Tutor with Birmingham Customers

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