Experience – Link Service

Reflection by a Social Prescribing Practitioner

About 4 and a half years ago when applying for a Community Psychiatric Nurse post I was required to do a presentation – the topic was the future of community psychiatric nursing. In this presentation I envisioned a role for a mental health worker based in a community setting with the potential to outreach other community resources. Well as luck would have it, this vision was offered as a job vacancy with the new Link/Social Prescribing project at FDAMH last December and I seized the moment and applied for this job. To my delight I was successful and here I am today.

Moving to FDAMH to work as a Social Prescriber fits in with my values of using a client centred approach to look at the difficulties people are experiencing, not just in a medical way but within the client’s social environment, enabling the client to manage their recovery in a way that is unique to them. The benefit for the client is that they stay totally in control and dictate not only the pace at which their journey moves along, but also the route their recovery journey will take.

I am able to draw from a vast resource of experience and knowledge gained from 26 years of psychiatric nursing within Forth Valley Health Board. I feel I have a freedom of practice in this role as it is more flexible, set as it is in a smaller organisation, than in a larger organisation where ownership of a role is more difficult.

Yet I also find this smaller organisation is no less professional in its care delivery, indeed the lack of bureaucracy has meant I can more readily access the various activities and services which my clients have indicated that they need. I enjoy working within the fluidity our service offers, which can change course to meet the demands of the users.

Looking at community resources to assist, means the clients have a sense of ownership of their local community and can be influential in shaping what their community looks like quite literally as well as metaphorically. The normalisation of some anxiety symptoms and reactive depression in the Social Prescribing Service lessens the dependence on medical models and I have found this to be an empowering experience for the majority of my clients.

Benefits of the Social Prescribing intervention must also extend to more specialist services that can then devote their skills and time to people who need them. I also find that I can use my previous contacts, acting as a bridge between GP services and the more specialist services, so that the client can benefit – simplifying the journey to recovery for the person experiencing the distress.

This move to the third sector has been a positive development for me and has increased my awareness of the variety of good work being done out with statutory services.

Tags: FDAMH, Link Service, Social Prescribing
20/05/2014 at 1:32 pm

Anxiety Management Course

FDAMH’s Anxiety Management Course runs over a number of weeks, taking an holistic approach and offering a wide selection of techniques to help people identify what works best for them.

A student says:
“I have thoroughly enjoyed the course. I found it extremely helpful and enjoyed the relaxing atmosphere. We were given plenty of information to take with us and look back on. The mindfulness and the alternative therapies classes were extremely informative and relaxing. My only criticism is that I felt the course was not long enough and I would have benefited from having it extended.”


Tags: Anxiety, FDAMH Training, Link Service
27/11/2013 at 6:17 pm

Link Service, a clinical psychologist’s viewpoint

Actual interventions such as Anxiety Management Group and the Media Group have helped substantially in the way of self—esteem, confidence /skill acquisition.

The Link Service is a very helpful and flexible service, its client-centred nature being a particular strength. It produces varied, necessary treatment components that individual psychological therapy cannot (e.g. social opportunities, relationship building chances) which in many cases has complemented psychological therapy beautifully.

The service is always prompt, communicative and flexible in its approach, tailoring itself to individual client need, a must for therapeutic progress. The vast majority of referred patients have been very positive regarding their experiences with Jane and the Link Service.

It would be good if more befrienders were available, as there seems to be a bit of a waiting list, otherwise I am very happy with the service in its current format.


Tags: Link Service
27/11/2013 at 5:59 pm

My life is different because of the Link Service

After I left hospital and the Mental Health Home Team had finished visiting me I was left, possibly no worse, but certainly no better than I had been when I entered the hospital. Isolated and alone I felt no hope, only despair. I was no better equipped to deal with the outside world than I had been.

Fortunately I had been referred to a psychologist who in turn referred me to FDAMH. There I spoke to Jane, who treated me with such insight, compassion and understanding that I found the strength to attempt to rebuild my life.

I was encouraged to join the Link Service where I attended a course on anxiety and depression. There I began to understand not only what was happening with me, but more importantly for me, that I wasn’t alone. I met people, people just like me experiencing the same debilitating fears and difficulties.

From there I was given the opportunity to join the Next Steps Programme where Marguerite with her tremendous energy and enthusiasm for life made me see that there is a world out there to discover and enjoy and opportunities to be had.

Early on Jane told me that things would never be the same for me. My life would be different. I would be different. Which didn’t mean that things had to be worse they could even be better. A concept I treated with scepticism. Now I understand exactly what Jane was saying. My life is different, I am different. A whole new world has opened up for me. A world I am thankful to be part of and which grows wider and more rewarding with each passing day.

Without FDAMH and the Link Service I have no idea where I’d be today or even if I would be. Through the contact and the opportunities offered to me I am now rebuilding my life not only within FDAMH but outwith, re-establishing contact with friends and family, no longer isolating myself. This new found confidence has enabled me to become involved in volunteering within FDAMH and with each day I find my ability to enjoy and participate in life increasing.


Tags: Anxiety, FDAMH Training, Isolation and Loneliness, Link Service, Next Steps Course
26/11/2013 at 8:42 pm

From Link Service to Befriending to college

I was referred to the Link Service by my Psychologist who, after doing lots of work with me on my fear of lots of things, felt that I needed more support to talk about these things and help me to think about my future, to get a life free from all my fears.

The Link Worker talked to me about lots of things – what was holding me back, what I would love to do with my life and the steps needed to get me moving in the right direction. At first I thought it was really hard because I had hidden myself away in the house for so long but gradually we managed to make a plan! I had homework!

I needed to start seeing my friends again so I forced myself to make contact with them and very soon I was back having our Friday night girl’s night at each others houses which I used to love and missed. I was so scared but did not need to be as they were so supportive, I felt great. One of my friends helped me to start using the buses again and I started to walk a wee bit further with my dog, all of the time feeling very anxious, but this was my homework and I understand what Jane was saying, that I had to feel this anxiety, work through it and yes, she was right, nothing bad happened, in fact I felt better.

I found the confidence to take driving lessons, my mum and dad couldn’t believe it, I was starting to get a life. My dream was to go to college and eventually get a job with children, I never thought I would be able to do this but with the support of the Link Service I took the next step to get there. I put my application form in to the college, me and Jane went to the college to find out more information about the courses available and met with a Learning Advisor who reassured me that I would be supported if I got a place on the course. The college was huge, I was really nervous but it was good to be there, I was getting nearer to my dream, so exciting.

Eventually we got the letter saying I had been accepted on to the course, I was so happy, at last I was living my life like all my other friends but there is still work to be done. Jane referred me to the Befriending Service here at FDAMH so that I could gain more confidence about using the buses before my course starts in August, my new befriender is lovely, she supports me with going on the buses and I am gradually gaining in confidence.

I can’t wait to get to college in August, thank you!

Tags: Anxiety, Befriending, Isolation and Loneliness, Link Service, Phobia
25/11/2013 at 7:19 pm

Without my Link Worker I’d still be shut up in my house

My experience of the link service is a very positive one. I met Jane when she came for a visit, after a talk it was decided that I would benefit from this service. Jane would come to the house and pick me up, then we would go out for a walk and decide what would happen next. She helped me get into a craft group (not an easy task), we were getting on really well till a group of about 6 people entered at one time. I escaped panicking and could not go back in.

After trying another couple of things Jane suggested we go down to FDAMH and we went up into her office. Next she introduced me to the Next Step Course and came with me on the days out, I was quite secure when we were out in the open I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Jane continued to support me in many other ways too, I could only get off the bus at one bus stop, so Jane met me at the bus-stop for a few weeks then she got on the bus with me to a stop nearer the centre, this was very scary for me as I was afraid she would not get on the bus. After another couple of weeks she met me at the next bus stop instead of coming on the bus. After that she would meet me further and further down the road till the first time I made it on my own, You have no idea how I felt that day.

I was introduced to the Arts and Media Group, this was amazing, I actually got up on stage in front of a crowd of over 100 people and played my part in our brilliant play, ‘We are all Bobby’, my husband and son could not believe it! We are now rehearsing for a Comedy charity night during Mental Health Awareness Week in October, can’t wait.

With Jane’s encouragement I applied to be a volunteer with the Third Age Befriending Project, I completed the training, I am now waiting to be matched with a befriendee, who would have thought it!

Without the help of Jane as my link worker I would still be shut up in my house, I cannot say how big a support the Link service is.

Tags: Activity Groups, Anxiety, Isolation and Loneliness, Link Service, Panic, Volunteering
25/11/2013 at 7:14 pm