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New Year, New Me, New Work Relevant Certificates

Member of Take Charge group

Take Charge would like to wish everyone a very happy new year! We have supported our participants through the beginning of 2022 by providing two new sessions for our Work Relevant Certificates.

Our participants often report feeling low in January after the high of the December festivities. We have been working with them to give their well-being a boost ahead of what is sure to be another eventful year.

It has been proven that a healthy body and mind make a happy life. With that in mind, we held Mental Health and Healthy Living sessions this January.

Work Relevant Certificates

Our first session was a Mental Health Work Relevant Certificate (WRC). This was appropriate as many of our participants find January to be a difficult month. Covid-19 and the added stress this brings, especially after Christmas, means that many people feel particularly low. With that in mind, we decided to try our new Mental Health Work Relevant Certificate. This gave our participants a much-needed boost.

Our Skills and Wellbeing Team complete a yearly Mental Health at Work Certificate and have found this very helpful. Our participants deserved the same. We incorporated the key points from the staff certificate into our WRC while adding information specific to those with learning disabilities.

We covered many topics, including how to improve mental health, the benefits of improving mental health, symptoms of anxiety and depression, and where to seek help. Inclusivity is vital to us, and we were keen to make a more accessible version of our staff training for our participants to benefit from.

Unfortunately, people with learning disabilities often have a higher risk of mental health issues. This is often due to the lack of opportunities and accessible information on mental health they have in their lives.

Take Charge was able to educate our participants on the benefits of improving their mental health in a way they found helpful. Many participants felt comfortable enough to share their mental health struggles with us. As a group, our participants were supportive of each other. With these group sessions, our participants had the chance to share their thoughts with other like-minded people in such a supportive setting.

Health and Wellbeing

Our new WRC was such as success that we will continue to provide this session in 1:1s with any new participants we may have throughout the year. Mental health provision extends throughout the year. Our latest session was an excellent way to support people with mental health who would have otherwise received no support on this issue.

Our second session of the year was on healthy living. In this session, we focused on the more physical aspects of health by including advice on smoking, alcohol, balanced diets, and getting a good night’s sleep. We discussed the effects of passive smoking by sharing a simple video on the topic. We then discussed the current anti-smoking laws in Wales and whether our participants felt changes were needed.

Take Charge aims to empower people to voice their opinions on important topics. This is something we could help with in this session. One of our participants, a smoker, said he would like to reduce his cigarette intake. This project provided him with the knowledge to be able to do this.

Healthy Eating and Fun Quizzes

Our section on healthy eating came next with a fun quiz on balanced diets, recommended fruit and veg intake, and recommended fluid intake. We used many pictures to aid our explanations of more complex concepts, including the size of a portion of fruit or veg. Our participants were interested to learn why a balanced diet was so important.

Many participants still needed to learn about this, thus often preferring to eat their favourite foods. Understanding this will enable them to make the right decisions in the future. Doing so will contribute positively to their health and well-being.

Another section our participants enjoyed was the effects of drinking alcohol. We helped our participants to understand how many units were in various drinks and discussed how easy it was to inadvertently binge drink. We provided a welcoming, supportive atmosphere, so our participants felt safe when talking about this potentially tricky topic.

The final section of our session saw participants sharing with each other some tips on getting a good night’s sleep. Our participants benefited from being able to support each other by sharing what works well for them. Communication skills and sharing experiences are essential and something this project could facilitate.

What’s next?

This new year, Take Charge was able to provide tailored support to the most vulnerable people in our community. These are people who needed to look more positively towards the future. Our holistic approach covered physical and mental health in an accessible way to ensure we could improve our participants’ well-being. These two sessions were really beneficial for our participants, giving them the support they needed to continue their employment journey.

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