MENTAL WELLBEING AT CARITAS ANCHOR HOUSE
Mental wellbeing is defined as a state of good mental health and wellbeing in which a person has realised their full potential, can cope with day-to-day stressors, and can function effectively and productively.
Homeless Link reported that up to 80% of people experiencing homelessness have mental health needs. Here at Caritas Anchor House, we try to improve the mental wellbeing of our service users in various ways which reflect the NHS recommendations. For example we provide conversational clubs where residents and community members can build resilience and support networks, and we run art classes, fitness activities as well as relaxation classes. Additionally, we run a mindfulness residential retreat in the countryside twice a year.
As part of a small scale service review in relation to mental health provision, we are investigating changes in levels of wellbeing in our residents over a long-term basis, using the Warwick Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale (WEMWBS), a well-established scale in measuring mental wellbeing. Residents are asked to complete the scale when they first move into Caritas Anchor House and then wellbeing is measured again at three months and then six months, respectively.
The project began in February this year, and we are already seeing an improvement in wellbeing levels. The average wellbeing score for our initial assessment collection was 50, which falls under the “average wellbeing” category of the scale’s scoring system. So far, 13 of the 28 residents who have taken part in this project have completed their three month assessment and we are already seeing improvements. The average score for residents at the 3 month assessment is 56 at present.
In terms of the future of the project, we aim to continue the collection of the wellbeing scales and correlate the results with Homelessness Outcomes Star™ which is a template that informs the personalised support given to our residents. This template focuses on ten aspects of a person’s life and asks them to rate how they believe they are doing on a scale of one to five. We are expecting to observe that an improvement in wellbeing since moving to Caritas Anchor House will be reflected in the more detailed descriptions provided by the Homelessness Outcomes Star.
Overall the project is going well. We can see from the results gained so far that a person who has experienced homelessness has an improvement in their wellbeing when they are living in Caritas Anchor House. We hope to see continuing improvements of emotional wellbeing by our residents.