Step Up Now for Mental Wellbeing (S.U.N Project)

by Nicole Stokoe in Southall, England, United Kingdom

Step Up Now for Mental Wellbeing (S.U.N Project)
We did it
On 10th October 2018 we successfully raised £330 with 10 supporters in 28 days

Using activity trackers, we want to help our patients take the steps (and sleep!) they need for a successful mental health recovery journey

by Nicole Stokoe in Southall, England, United Kingdom

What We Do

NHS Mental Health Crisis Teams are the Accident and Emergency Departments of Mental Health Services. We are a mental health crisis team in London who work with adults experiencing some of the most difficult and challenging times of their lives. The team work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by visiting patients at home up to 3 times a day in their home. Our aim is to offer treatment at home so that our patients are in the place they feel safest and most comfortable to enable recovery. 

The work we do is collaborative and we recognise successful recovery is about enabling each individual to do what is needed to get back on track. We support patients and their families/carers to make changes in their day to day lives that will give them a better opportunity for recovering well. 

Sleep and activity levels often change significantly when a person is struggling with their mental health and wellbeing. These changes may have happened slowly over time or quite suddenly. What we know, is that improving sleep and activity levels are often to key to establishing a strong foundation from which better mental health can be built. We provide interventions to our patients to help them make these needed changes.

What We Would Like To Do Differently

Research shows us the importance of sleep and activity on mental wellbeing. Sleep deprivation studies illustrate how damaging lack of sleep is both physically, emotionally and psychologically. Activity and Behavioural Activation research repeatedly shows that by improving daily activity and movement, improvements are seen in mood, energy levels, appetite, sleep, health and overall wellbeing. People experiencing mental health crisis often struggle to maintain their basic wellbeing needs and significant changes in sleep and activity are often some of the first early warning signs.

Knowledge is power. We recognise that the key to successful mental health recovery is collaboration and empowering each person to take ownership of their own journey. Activity trackers that monitor sleep and steps have been around for some time now and are helpful for increasing awareness of current activity levels to motivate and enable positive change. We would like to be able to pilot a project where we lend out activity trackers to our patients so that they can monitor their own sleep and activity. Our team can then work with the patient to offer advice and guidance about changes that may be helpful in the direction of recovery based on their activity tracker information. The activity trackers could then support the person to track their progress with making changes in line with their goals. 

What We Want to Achieve

We want to offer the people we support the opportunity to take ownership of their own mental health recovery journey through accessing technology. Use of activity trackers can empower people through information and with this information they can make important changes where it counts. Research shows time and time again that sleep and activity are intimately linked to mental wellbeing.

We would like to run a pilot project to provide our patients with activity trackers and the information they need to enable change in their sleep and activity levels.

Activity & Sleep TrackersWe would like to buy enough activity trackers that we could offer to lend one out to each patient we work with. We receive an average of 50+ referrals per week. We generally have 100 -150 patients on our caseload at any one time.

- Activity and 'Better Sleep' Groups: We would like to share the information our patients need in order to empower them to make the changes they need towards better mental health. In particular, we would like to set up and run a walking group for people in mental health crisis to use. Walking and talking with a friendly ear and people who understand is an excellent form of medicine in itself.

- Information Leaflets and Worksheets: We would be keen to develop resources professionally, that offer helpful information in an accessible way. We are keen to ensure that these leaflets are available in several languages and there are easy read versions too. 

- Pilot Study and Evaluation: It is important to ensure that everything we do is helpful and works! We would like to measure and evaluate the use of activity trackers, groups and information provision to see if this does help as much as we think it will. For anyone who is kind enough to support this piece of work, we would like to share with you our findings.

Thank you for your help and support.

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