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The bearable lightness of wellbeing

Thursday, 16 November 2023

Life-changing conversations are happening every day at our Wellbeing Adviser service that is being trialled at 3 local Minds. Wellbeing adviser Natasha and young person Rhiannon explain how the service is supporting young people.

Natasha’s story

I’m a wellbeing adviser at Newport Mind. It’s a brand new role.

I’ve been part of a trial programme that Mind launched this year at 3 local Minds across England and Wales. It was created with input from young people to help them access a service that can guide them to the right support for their mental health needs.

"Some young people are on 2-year waiting lists. That’s why we’re looking at ways to help young people find support."

We know that young people with a mental health problem are facing long waits for referrals. Cuts to local mental health services mean some of the young people I’ve worked with are on 2-year waiting lists. This just isn’t right! That’s why we’re looking at ways to help young people find the support that’s right for them.

I’ve seen 45 young people since the beginning of March. I’ve listened to what these young people have to say. Then together with them I’ve worked to find the support services that will meet their needs. Their voice is always central.

We’re not a counselling service, but what we do is give young people a chance to discover and access services they might not have known about before.

For some, it may be the first time they’ve had a chance to speak about their needs. They often fear that if they speak to others, they’ll be judged.

But the conversations we have can be life changing.

Rhiannon’s story

A year ago, my home situation became unbearable. I was 17 and a family issue meant I suddenly had to move 200 miles away from my school and friends. The anxiety I had developed during Covid got much worse. I was really struggling mentally. Different mental health services were passing me from pillar to post and it felt like no one wanted to support me.

"I met Annie and things began to change. She didn’t judge me. She listened and helped me open up."

My GP knew that my local Mind was trialling a new wellbeing adviser service, with people trained to work with young people. I got in touch, and that’s when I met Annie and things began to change. She didn’t judge me. She listened and helped me open up.

Together we figured out what services could support me. She’d say, “There's this service that we can look into, or there's this one”. We worked on the referrals together. Some other services make you feel like they want to get rid of you quickly. Annie actually cared.

I was supposed to have a session every 2 weeks, but Annie made the time to see me weekly. I was gobsmacked. I felt like I mattered. She made sure that when I left the service, I'd be okay.

I know loads of young people who would benefit from speaking to a wellbeing adviser like Annie, and that’s why Mind’s work is so important.

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