CVS Inverclyde CEO, Charlene Elliott, speaks about the importance of Inverclyde's third sector at the beginning of Challenge Poverty Week
On Mental Health Awareness Week, we had a chat with two of our community link workers to find out more about what they are doing to help Inverclyde residents struggling with their mental health and what their tips are to help us take care of our mental wellbeing
Our community link workers (CLW) are based in GP practices across Inverclyde and they are an invaluable support in our communities.
Their role is to help vulnerable people to access the right services when it comes to social and economic issues (which can often impact our health and wellbeing) such as low income, benefits, bereavement, relationship issues, long term conditions, isolation, employment and housing – to name a few. CLW work alongside individuals to support and assist them to alleviate these issues and work to provide long term solutions to promote good mental and physical health.
Brenda Cox told us: “this week we will continue to work with individuals who are finding their mental health is impacted at this time and try to identify their own strengths, needs and what their priorities are at this specific time and assist and encourage them to access these”.
We asked Brenda what her top tip is to help us take care of our mental wellbeing: “find something that makes you feel good, appreciated and valued and do it often and accept help to try and find these things.
“Inverclyde has a vast amount of local, community and statutory orgs which encourage and support good mental health and offer resources to facilitate this, with a wide range of variety and most people can find something that promotes this.”
Elaine McKendrick told us that mental health is an important part of their work: “mental health features strongly in every CLW’s caseload. The CLW role allows people time to talk about their issues, to help them to set priorities and goals, and find support services that can assist with achieving them.
“Going somewhere for the first time can be daunting, the CLW’s can break down this barrier by supporting someone to attend a group initially, this makes a return visit less stressful.”
Elaine told us that there are many simple things that we can do to nourish our mental health: “walking, nature, art, music to name a few; and there are many wonderful activities and groups within Inverclyde which offer mental health improving activities for free - please have a look at Inverclyde Life for details of these groups”.
And what about Elaine’s top self-care tip?
“My one top tip is to talk about it!
“There are lots of talking supports locally within Inverclyde and nationally who the CLW’s work closely with. They give people a chance to speak; share their problems, express how they feel and remove some of the burden and stigma attached to mental health. We all have mental health so take this week to look after yours.
During MHAW the CLW team have been out and about in Inverclyde attending events run by local organisations such as Belville Community Garden.
Keep up to date with their amazing work and follow the team on Twitter: @Inverclyde_CLW
CVS Inverclyde's Lead Community Link Worker, Valerie Campbell, is celebrating after being shortlisted for the Social Prescribing Manager of the Year Award from the National Association of Link Workers.