New outdoor course commissioned to improve “mental toughness” of HIU clients

Natasha, Vicky and Ami were all referred to the HIU project due to their high hospital admissions and 999 call outs. Each one of them had their own mental health issues that they were trying to work through. They always discussed how they felt they had low confidence and low self esteem and this impacted negatively on their mental health on a daily basis.

They were all approached and asked if they would like to attend our new Challenge Academy social prescribing 5 week course. The course was designed to work on developing mental health awareness, building resilience, improving mental well-being, building confidence, developing self-esteem and positive self-image. Challenge Academy CIC have an excellent understanding of social determinants of mental health and through the course focus on goal-setting and personal achievement, changing unhealthy thinking and developing a positive mind-set.

They all said they would give it a try but were very apprehensive. On their first day they met with their course instructors Chris and Gregg who would deliver the course over the 5 weeks, they got to learn all about each other and what the course would entail over the coming weeks. As the weeks went by and they continued with the course activities they were able to learn and develop through participating in outdoor art sessions, orinteering, team building activities and much more.

Over the course of the weeks it was very easy to see the positive change in all of the participants. Their confidence increased, they felt better in themselves and were wanting to push themelves out of their individual comfort zones. They could easily identify the marked inprovement in their own mental wellbeing and were noticing changes.

Vicky (HIU client) said “it’s great fun and confidence boosting, it makes me feel good I don’t even realise im doing exercise! The staff are really friendly”

Natasha (HIU client) said “staff are really encouraging and push you out of your comfort zone. The team building exercises are fun and really help to build your trust and confidence.”

The three clients have formed a close knit friendship through attending the sessions and would always give each other encouragement in all their tasks and pick each other up when they were struggling. This friendship has continued outside of the course and on weekends they now meet up and go shopping, for a coffee or visit one another.

Speaking with the clients it is clear to see the improvements, not only through their admissions and ambulance call outs drastically reducing but also through their own personal wellbeing. They all advised that they didn’t find it easy but felt with each others support and the support from the course they could do anything that was asked of them, this even included completing activites in record time by working together as a team and solving the problems they were given.

Each individual is now looking forward to taking the skills they have learnt from this course and using them in their future.

Ami (HIU client) said “There is a great atmosphere, friendly staff who really challenge you but make you realise what you’re capable of when you put your mind to it.”

Danielle Giles – HIU Link Worker

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