The overall aim of our Wellbeing work is to improve the physical and mental health of women and provide opportunities which will enable them to achieve their full potential.
First Steps Women's Centre (FSWC) has a holistic approach to women’s education and personal development. We strive to anticipate the barriers women may face when they return to education and help them overcome these, for example, providing Childcare and Transport.
The role of the Wellbeing Co-ordinator was created as there was recognition within FSWC that women needed support and education in relation to their health and wellbeing.
Women can face many changes and demands on their health throughout the course of their lives, such as motherhood, menopause, bereavement, divorce, changes in financial circumstances, caring for a family member etc. A number of women who attended our courses were living with long term medical conditions or mental ill health (some just newly diagnosed). The relaxed comfortable and supportive environment here enables women to confide in Staff about issues which have impacted on their lives. This can include the loss of confidence and self esteem. There were also a number of women who visited FSWC who didn’t feel quite ready to undertake a qualification but wanted to enroll in a short course. Many of these women now start with a Health Promotion course to build up their confidence and then progress on to an accredited course.
It is important to note that many women undertake these courses for enjoyment and the opportunity to get out and meet other women and socialise.
FSWC new Wellbeing Co-ordinator Amanda Boyd has held this post since August 2015. Amanda is qualified in Reiki / Seichim, The Art of Feminine Presence courses / workshops, Coaching and Yoga / Relaxation.
Amanda says "For my personal interest and so I can bring the very best to our participants, I continue to be a student of leadership and personal and spiritual growth learning the most up to date techniques, strategies and systems that simply work. As I apply these strategies and tools , I am passionate about sharing them with others so they too can overcome the same challenges and fears I have experienced and help make a bigger impact in their lives"
Amanda's work is funded through ESF/DFE and The Arts Council.
Lindsay, mum to Reuben and wife to Gavin, shares her story on Postnatal Depression (PND).
I was diagnosed with Postnatal Depression (PND) 4 months ago. In reality, I have discovered what I have is Antenatal Depression - in that my problems and issues began during pregnancy - and, being undiagnosed, continued after my son Reuben (now 2 years old) was born. In facing the illness and learning what it's really all about, I started to share my struggle with it and journey through it on my blog.
I realised I couldn't be the only mum struggling, considering that at least 1 in 10 women suffer, but no one had ever talked about it before either to me or with me, so I guessed we needed to raise awareness about it. Speaking out on my blog is the best thing I could have done! So many women have contacted me privately to share their experience and story of PND. I have been overwhelmed - I've discovered that some women who I know have also been struggling and I had no idea! It's been such a privilege and a responsibility to hear the pain and heartache of others.
Read more ...
Unpaid carers are the unseen, unsung heroes in our communities. This week the Patient and Client Council published a report calledCarers’ Priorities. A list of ten priorities relating to health and social care have been identified by carers in the report. They include better community care to support carers, improved access to respite services, and more support to allow carers to carry out their caring role.
It is estimated that £4.4 billion is saved every year from the care provided by unpaid carers. This is probably a low estimate because so many people do not consider themselves as carers.
Read more ...
5 Illustrations which help aid understanding
Words can be tricky things – finding the right ones, taking them in and understanding the context of their meaning.
Describing the ever-changing landscape of depression is a challenge. No two people experience depression in the same way, just as the things which help people can differ.
Illustrations can help us to understand something in a snapshot. They’re often easier to digest too.
We thought we’d compile a list of our favourite illustrations/illustrators who continually draw on their own personal experiences and blow our socks off with images we love sharing across our social media platforms.
Please do share, the comments below, any illustrations which blow your socks off. We love discovering new people to follow and support.
Courtesy of Blurt
Whether it’s a pulled muscle, a tooth ache or a migraine, all of us have experienced physical pain at one stage in our lives. But, imagine living with pain every day of your life - It’s not something I would wish to experience. It can hamper plans with families, limit career choices and put strain on relationships.
A few years ago, we spoke to more than 2500 people living with chronic pain in Northern Ireland. It quickly came to light that there is a lack of pain services here, and that’s something we’ve been working with patients, professionals and the Health and Social Care service on.
Changes are beginning to happen, but there is more to do. Next week, the Northern Ireland Pain Summit takes place, with a host of speakers from near and far talking about pain and sharing learning. We are delighted that patients are part of event and will be informing professionals by sharing their powerful, personal experiences.
Patients are experts on their experience of Health and Social Care services, and professionals should always be listening to the people they care for.
To read or add comments, click here
Patient & Client Council
As many people will be aware there is a developing trend for patients to have access to their own medical records. As medical records become available electronically each of us potentially could have access to our medical records in the same way that we book flights or do our online banking. Currently in England patients have access to electronic medical records and many find this empowering and beneficial.
However there are some challenges which need to be addressed. There is a concern that people might, on accessing their records read something that is worrying or unexpected. This should not happen if patients are fully informed about their treatment and care. Security of personal medical information is another concern. On a regular basis we hear about security breaches of personal information that is held centrally. It would be unacceptable if this were to happen to medical records. People would need to be reassured that there were robust systems in place to ensure that medical information that is held about them is secure and that access is limited and available by permission.
Read more ...
It’s Palliative Care Week, and during this time, people are encouraged to think about what care they would like for themselves and their families, if they had a serious illness.
Palliative care is special care for people with serious illnesses, such as heart failure, cancer or lung disease. It focuses on providing relief from symptoms, pain and stress. It can help patients understand their condition and treatment options, and help families cope with every day challenges.
Talking about death and dying is a very difficult thing to do. For many patients and families, getting the right support from people they trust, can help them talk about their fears and worries, and plan for their care. Creating the right time and space is key. Health care professionals also need support to help people to have these conversations.
You can leave your comments here
Courtesy of Client & Patient Council
Meet Robyn. She's 26, studying for a PhD in History and fighting a daily battle with pain.
'My problems started when my periods did, at the age of 13. After a few months my mum took me to the doctor about my irregular, heavy, painful periods and I was told it was just my lot in life. I was a woman, periods were meant to hurt.
Throughout my teenage years I was put on multiple contraceptive pills to help regulate my periods and had numerous scans and tests and quite a few misdiagnoses. I wasn’t even allowed to see a gynaecologist until I turned 18. At the age of 20, my pain changed from its monthly pattern to daily, crippling pelvic pain. I was constantly told the pain was all in my head, there was nothing medically wrong with me.
It wasn’t until I had argued my way into a laparoscopy three years ago that I was finally diagnosed with endometriosis. Endo is a condition where tissues similar to those that line the uterus and shed each month are found elsewhere in the body, usually in the pelvis. The deposits of endometriosis don’t show up on scans and can only be seen with keyhole surgery. It can cause painful periods and ovulation, abnormal bleeding, pain during or after sex and infertility.
Read more ...
Dolores McBride, Support Worker, Huntington’s Disease Association Northern Ireland explains the challenges of caring for someone with Huntington’s Disease.
Huntington's Disease (HD) is an inherited condition that damages certain nerve cells in the brain. This brain damage gets progressively worse over time and can affect movement, cognition (perception, awareness, thinking, judgement) and behaviour.
Early features can include personality changes, mood swings, fidgety movements, irritability and altered behaviour, although these are often overlooked and attributed to something else. Approximately 130 people are known to be symptomatic with HD in Northern Ireland with more undiagnosed and many hundreds at risk of developing the disease. People live with the disease typically for 5-20 years from the onset of symptoms until they become entirely dependent losing the ability to move, speak or swallow unaided. There is no cure yet.
Read more ...
How do you feel about discussing death and dying? Do you think it is too morbid and sad? Or, do you think it would be good to have more opportunities to discuss what you would want, if you or a person close to you was faced with a terminal illness?
How much or how little people want to talk about dying is a very personal thing. In recent years, dying and end of life care have been topics people seem to be more willing to talk about. For a long time, these things were considered taboo, but it looks like that is changing - people like Lynda Bellingham raised a lot of awareness about death and dying during her illness.
Without communication and understanding, death and terminal illness can be a lonely and stressful experience both for the person who is dying and their family. We know there is a willingness to discuss dying because people openly share their views and experiences with us when we meet them in community halls, shopping centres, cafes and other places across Northern Ireland. They say we need to get rid of the barriers that prevent us from talking about death and dying.
The All Ireland Institute of Hospice and Palliative Care (AIIHPC), with the Public Health Agency are having a workshop for people to give their views on death and dying. The workshop will be held on Monday 21st September 2015 in Jury’s Hotel, Belfast at 10:30am - 1:30pm followed by a light lunch.
Courtesy of Client & Patient Council
Photo source: Flickr.com
Did you know its estimated that one third of babies born in 2013 will live to be 100 or more? We are all living longer and the number of older people living in the community is set to increase vastly over the coming years. This is something to be celebrated as older people have so much to contribute to society, including their vast knowledge and life experience which they can share with younger people. As people get older they want help to live in their homes. This is known as domiciliary care.
Commissioner for Older People for Northern Ireland, Claire Keatinge hosted an event called Domiciliary Care Summit: What needs to change for older people this week.
Older people, carers and stakeholders including Health and Social Care workers and politicians attended. It was interesting to hear that in Northern Ireland at present Health and Social Care services provide:
250,000 hours per week of domiciliary care
Domiciliary care for 25,000 people
£206,000m per annum for domiciliary care
It is estimated this will need to double in the next twenty years.
Read more ...