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27 February, 2019
News Story


Caritas Anchor House has developed a Peer Led Recovery programme, to improve resident’s health and wellbeing.

As part of our wider health and wellbeing programme, the peer led recovery programme will include ten sessions, each focuses on a core topic such as anxiety or mindfulness. Our aim is to help residents develop their understanding of and life skills related to health and wellbeing.

As with the rest of our work, the programme is person-centred, and sessions will be led by our residents with encouragement from session facilitators. We are delighted to have the supported of a range of external agencies including nutritionists, lecturers, mental health professionals and professionals from other health and wellbeing backgrounds. The sessions will include a range of activities including interactive group tasks, visual aids, practical exercises and Q&A sessions.

So far we have held 3 sessions, and 23 residents have participated.

The first session was hosted by Dr Dominic Conroy, a lecturer at the University of East London who focuses on health psychology. Dr Conroy shared advice on how to deal with social occasions without drinking alcohol – which can be difficult for many of our residents who struggle with drug and alcohol use. Materials for this workshop were drawn from data published in peer-reviewed articles available here.

Dr Conroy said, “Attendees shared their experiences during group work sessions which fed the session-wide discussion to define tips that might make non-drinking when socialising easier. One common theme included being firm but polite when feeling pressured to have a drink by friendsI really enjoyed running this session, meeting the attendees and working with the great team at Caritas Anchor House who made this possible.”

The next session was delivered by Sarah, a High Intensity Cognitive Behavioural Therapist at Newham Talking Therapies. Sarah helped facilitate a workshop on depression and how to manage it using cognitive behavioural therapy – a talking therapy that can help you manage your problems by changing the way you think and behave. The group discussed the thoughts, feelings and physical symptoms that come with low moods, and together came up with examples of altered ways of thinking and feelings that could come out challenges faced in their day-to-day lives and relationships.

Finally, this week we had a mindfulness session where residents and staff discussed the importance of controlling your breathing and how this can reduce everyday stress and anxiety, run by Kevin Hempsted from One in Four. Kevin said, “It was a pleasure coming down to Caritas Anchor House, I really enjoyed facilitating the session and the residents’ participation and engagement was humbling to see. I am very much looking forward to working alongside CAH again”

Elif, our Mental Health Lead, said, “The peer-led recovery sessions are part of a new initiative to raise awareness of general mental wellbeing and health topics amongst our resident group. We are hoping to support residents to manage their health and wellbeing effectively, and with confidence.”

Future planned sessions will focus on elements such as coping with anxiety, getting a good night sleep, and building self-esteem and self-worth. At the end of the programme, we will also hold an away day, giving residents an enjoyable day out and opportunity to explore historical and inspirational parts of London.

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