Five fresh approaches will be piloted to boost older people’s mental health

Positive wellbeing and good mental health are key when it comes to stopping older people from being lonely. Studies from similar projects suggest that about 75% of the people identified as isolated and lonely are likely to have some form of mental health problem, mostly depression, which could be the cause or result of their loneliness and isolation.  

Funded by Bristol Ageing Better (BAB), 5 new pilot projects providing different approaches to enhancing older people’s wellbeing will be rolled out in the coming months. The Bristol Ageing Better Programme aims to fund projects which identify the most isolated older people and that provide activities and services to empower them and improve their contact with their community.

Wellspring Healthy Living Centre, Carers Support Centre in partnership with Dhek Bhal, Happy City, Second Step and Oasis-Talk were awarded a total of £75,000 to trial different approaches to solution-focused brief interventions to support those older people whose emotional problems contribute to their loneliness.

Regarding the announcement, Vicki Palmer from Oasis-Talk said: “Oasis-Talk are delighted to have been awarded BAB funding for a pilot which we have been wanting to do for 2 years and didn’t have the people or financial resources to do. We know from our NHS delivery [of approximately 50% of the talking therapies in Bristol] that older adults don’t take up the opportunity to access talking therapies in the numbers that would be expected. Our pilot will work directly with older adult groups in Easton to identify the barriers to accessing talking therapies and then they will help us design more user friendly services.”

Carers Support Centre are also delighted to have received funding from BAB and to be working in partnership with Dhek Bhal to pilot a telephone counselling service for older carers. Keith Sinclair, CEO of Carers Support Centre, said: “We know that older carers face a range of issues including grief, loss, isolation and loneliness. The pilot aims to help older carers manage their own health and wellbeing better. Providing counselling by phone means that carers do not have to go out to an appointment, as leaving the person they care for on their own can be very difficult.”

 Zehra Haq, CEO of Dhek Bhal, added: “We often meet carers who are so distressed and upset. They have been suffering in silence and language is a barrier as well. It is easy to get depressed and lonely when you are caring for someone non-stop. This service will help carers find solutions.”

Second Step, a mental health charity based in Bristol, has also welcomed the announcement: “Second Step are very excited to be launching a pilot project in partnership with Brunelcare which will offer solutions-focused psychological interventions and holistic support to older people. Our aim is to provide support today to develop skills and improved resilience and connectedness for the long term”, said Bryony Campbell, Operations Delivery Manager.

These pilot projects will run for 9 months, after which a larger service will be commissioned in Summer 2017.

About Bristol Ageing Better

Bristol Ageing Better (BAB) is a partnership of individuals and organisations working together to reduce isolation and loneliness among older people in Bristol. BAB creates an environment in which partner organisations can deliver effective services, share their knowledge of what works, and be noticed by decision-makers.

The partnership is led by Age UK Bristol and Funded by the Big Lottery Fund as part of their Fulfilling Lives: Ageing Better Programme.

Contact: Silvia Jimenez Cruz, Communications Officer (silviajimenezcruz@ageukbristol.org.uk / 0117 928 1539)

BAB Website: www.bristolageingbetter.org.uk

About Oasis-Talk

Oasis-Talk is a social enterprise that provides psychological therapies to people in Bristol and South Gloucestershire.

We offer counselling, cognitive behavioural therapy and a range of group workshops from our base in Downend and from doctors’ surgeries and community venues across South Gloucestershire and Bristol.

Website: www.oasis-talk.org

About Carers Support Centre

Carers Support Centre provides support, information and advice to carers of any age living in the Bristol and South Gloucestershire areas.

We do this by:

  • Providing information on services available
  • Supporting carers to access the help they need
  • Involving carers in the planning and development of services
  • Offering practical support: training, counselling, carers’ breaks and holidays, emergency card, quarterly newsletter.

Website: http://www.carerssupportcentre.org.uk/

About Dhek Bhal

Dhek Bhal is a local charity that provides respite services for carers of South Asian elders (disabled and able bodied), a daycentre service for frail and disabled elderly women and men, a carer Support Group, among other services for the South Asian Community in Bristol & South Gloucestershire.

Website: http://www.dhekbhal.org.uk/

About Second Step

Second Step is a mental health charity based in Bristol experienced in delivering psychological therapies.

Our approach combines clinical interventions with holistic support centred on the client’s individual needs and aspiration and will be delivered by cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) trained Bristol Ageing Better Wellness Advisors.

Website: http://www.second-step.co.uk/