Moodswings are now offering a five week course as part of their new phase of positive recovery.
The programme called PALS brings together everything that we have been developing over the last ten years.
Mood Swings Manager, Linda Wilson explained the course in more detail: “We are offering a new five week course to people, it involves coming in every Wednesday afternoon for five weeks for a training course in recovery.
“It is all about getting as well as possible and reaching goals, short term, long term, medium term goals and everybody on the course will also have a mentor and have a one to one support session every week initially and they will be a part of the project for a whole year.”
Although the course lasts five weeks, the support will last for a full year. One to one support will gradually be reduced to once a fortnight then once a month and so on until the end of the year and we will be monitoring people’s progress very closely.
By seeing whether people have reached their goals which were set at the beginning of the year we will see how far an individual has come and how their situation has improved.
Founder and Chair of Mood Swings Network, Tom McAlpine explained: “It is geared up to positive recovery, we call it positive recovery because we don’t want it to be confused with any other kind of recovery. We are as an organisation geared up for one thing only, people getting better.”
The PALS programme stands for people, activity, learning and sharing. The first area people, is about making contact with people, with friends, relatives and neighbours.
People who have mental health problems for all sorts of reasons often become a little isolated and often their relationships are not of the best.
Doing anything from just getting used to talking to people, practicing being around people which some find difficult can help people to become part of a group rather than just being an individual. It is all about trying to get people to enjoy life with other people around them.
The next area is activity, a lot of people who have emotional problems are often not as active and this does not mean just exercising. It could be anything from singing, dancing, going out and about to interesting places or pursuing hobbies and interests.
Coming along to our activity group on Tuesdays and singing group on Mondays can really help a person get involved and interact with other people at the same time.
The next part of the programme is learning and research shows that when we stop picking up new ideas or developing new skills it is not particularly good for our mental health. If your mental health problems are as such that your self esteem is a bit low we know that by developing new skills or rediscovering old ones you can change how you feel about yourself.
Learning can be anything from learning to drive, working on literacy and numeracy, developing the skills that you might need for some kind of new interest or hobby.
The last part of the programme, sharing, means being a part of a community instead of being at the edge or the side. It is about not only being helped but also helping and doing things for other people, being an active part of your family and supporting other people in your family. Looking after people is very good for a person’s feeling of self worth.
People who already come to Moodswings will be given the opportunity to join the course but we will also be looking for new people to join as well. The only qualification is that you need to want to get as well as possible and achieve things in your recovery and want the support to do it.
Linda went onto say: “Anybody with any kind of mental or emotional distress should get in touch and their friends and family too because the friends and family themselves could be experiencing emotional distress.”
“Everybody gets the same opportunity to be on the course with the same support. The people on the course will also have access to our other groups like the activity and singing groups.”
During the course of a year we have a series of workshops and training courses to cover these four areas but also cover issues like self esteem, assertiveness, confidence, coping with various kinds of emotional distress, anger management and sleep.
Tom also added: “We don’t have a list of things that a person can do to make them feel better, it is absolutely up to the individual but the PALS project allows people over the course of a year to look at these areas and the things that they might choose to do in order to feel better that’s what its about.
“It is all based on people deciding on goals for themselves and those goals are things that we make sure are small steps that people can take and measure so they can see what they have achieved.”