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New help for mental health sufferers

PUBLISHED: 19:08 29 January 2004 | UPDATED: 14:51 03 March 2010

PEOPLE with severe mental health problems could get a new lease of life with help from people who have been there themselves.

East Suffolk Mind (ESM) have been chosen to launch the first wave of a new scheme which is designed to keep people with mental health problems out of hospital and give them a better quality of life.

PEOPLE with severe mental health problems could get a new lease of life with help from people who have been there themselves.

East Suffolk Mind (ESM) have been chosen to launch the first wave of a new scheme which is designed to keep people with mental health problems out of hospital and give them a better quality of life.

They are one of 19 organisations in the country to kick off the scheme and the only one chosen in Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire.

Esther Cook is the project manager who will be developing the scheme.

She said the main thrust of the scheme is to train up people who have experienced mental health difficulties at some time in their lives, to help other people going through it now.

The scheme is called the support time recovery worker accelerated development programme and is aimed at making patients do things for themselves rather than having it done for them.

Ms Cook said: "It is not counselling but being there for someone and letting them take responsibility for their lives.

"We are very aware that we don't want to set ourselves up as psychotherapists, but it is about listening to people and also being there on a day to day basis

with people who are going through a lot of changes."

One of the problems with mental health problems is that people can relapse and part of the scheme is to get people to spot the warning signs and plan for that.

The project is being run in conjunction with Step- Up, an employment support service for people with mental health problems, Sure Trust which is another employment service and the Mental Health Volunteer Scheme.

By the end of the year it is hoped to have around 25 workers in place.

Although a job is not guaranteed, training will provide volunteers with a certificate in Community Mental Health, level 2. Work placements are also offered.

Anyone with some experience of caring for someone can apply.

For further information on training call Sally Pryce at Step Up on 01473 233994 or email sallyp.stepup@virgin.net.


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