From the inside – Louise's experience

Date: 01 May 2020

person holding smartphone

As we continue to adapt to this challenging environment, we are changing the way we deliver some of our services by following the Government’s social distancing guidelines, in order to protect our service users, carers and staff. But please be assured we are still offering high quality, effective mental health care at BEH. For the latest information on how the pandemic affects our services, please see our Coronavirus service updates page

We wanted to share with you an article, written by Louise Marshall, Peer Worker at our Barnet Crisis Home Treatment Team (BCHTT), about how she had adapted her role and her experience during the crisis.

Read Louise's article below:

As a Peer Worker, and working remotely from home, I am working with clients using different communication tools. Instead of visiting clients in their own home and making face-to-face contact, eye contact and using body language to build a rapport, I am relying heavily on my shared experience of living with mental illness. I also utilise the tone of voice and the language to build a healthy rapport and engagement with each client.

I realise now, probably more than I have previously, just how crucial peer support and shared lived experience of mental ill-health is when it comes to pushing down barriers, offering empathy and understanding and enabling clients to feel they can engage and communicate with a person who has an understanding of what they might be experiencing. I feel this is some of the most rewarding work I have been engaged in.

This is an uncertain time for many people and for those with mental ill-health whose illness may often cause them to feel isolated, vulnerable and socially excluded living during this COVID-19 period can often exacerbate these feelings. In my role as a Peer Worker, I can provide more in-depth support to people by using my own lived experience of mental ill-health and recovery as well as utilising the basic cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is tools and Wellness Recovery tools that I have been trained in.

My Peer work can help support people especially during this COVID-19 period by:

  • alleviating anxieties and stress (COVID-19 related and other);
  • assisting clients to build a structure to their day through discussing things an individual likes to do/needs to do within their environment;
  • encouraging, where possible, clients to take a daily walk to get some fresh air and for a change of scenery;
  • encouraging clients to maintain their personal hygiene, discussing the benefits of getting up and washing and dressing, even if it is only to put on a clean T-shirt it’s all about small steps;
  • encouraging clients to eat healthily and maintain good fluid intake;
  • helping clients with becoming motivated and help them maintain that motivation;
  • being able to listen to and, from my own lived experience, have a better understanding of what clients are going through.
  • Summary:

    We wanted to share with you an article, written by Louise Marshall, Peer Worker at our Barnet Crisis Home Treatment Team (BCHTT), about how she had adapted her role and her experience during the crisis.