In January we kicked off our new project Keep Well, supported by the NHS North West London CCG. Doing our bit for people and the NHS, this project aims to improve independence and enable people living in Brent with mental health challenges, learning disabilities, dementia and older people to manage their health needs and access essential services.
Craig, Lottie and Michele, three new Ashford Place employees, are working on the project during the winter period. Working closely with people, GPs, other health staff, statutory and charitable organisations we will promote their services and enable referrals between agencies to first and foremost address other issues that service users may need to improve their wellbeing. Recognising that the NHS is under pressure, we hope for our support to reduce pressure on A&E departments in hospitals and GPs by lending a listening ear and promoting the many support systems that already exist in the community.
Mental Health, Dementia and Learning disabilities in Brent
- 1 in 4 people in their lives report experiencing some sort of mental health issue throughout their life. In Brent, 4000 people reported living with a mental health difficulty between 2014 and 2017. This number is likely underestimating, with many people not reporting their difficulties. We hope to lower this number, by helping people discover where they can get real help and support in Brent.
- Dementia affects 1 in 14 people over the age of 65 in the UK. In Brent, 1771 people were living with dementia in 2015. Support for dementia patients can improve both mental and physical health.
- Approximately 7000 people in Brent have a learning disability (Brent Joint Learning Disability Strategy, 2020). Living with a learning disability can increase the likelihood of developing a mental illness. Support and help are therefore so important to offer in order to keep well.
- Older people are often more likely to experience struggles such as loneliness, dementia or physical difficulties. Foundations to make positive lifestyle changes, social stimulation and effective access to statutory and community services can help alleviate some of these difficulties and improve all-round wellbeing. The older population in Brent is currently growing (Brent.gov, 2021) making this work more important than ever.
Providing emergency support and access to essential help for older people, those with mental health challenges, learning disabilities and dementia, project Keep Well will provide help with:
- Accessing and using your annual health check (GPs, opticians, dentists, gynaecologists etc.)
- Accessing prescriptions
- Information about services and activity groups to improve physical health
- Accessing services to improve mental health
- Tips for healthy eating and exercise through mini talks
- How to keep warm and hydrated in winter
- Tips for reducing loneliness
- Finding and promoting other social support groups, peer groups, workshops etc.
Anyone finding that they may need help is welcome to Ashford Place for 3 sessions to chat with Craig or Lottie who will listen and give advice. One of the ways Keep Well will set out its goals will be through speaking to members at the many DeCafe’s that are run in the Brent area. We are engaging with local schools, faith groups, libraries, community centres, pharmacies and GP offices, to find out where we can support people to keep well and use the many resources available to them.
In the last month, we have spoken to people at our dementia cafés throughout the borough about what they were missing. Many people reported back that they were happy with the current services that they had access to here and their health care. Some have also said it is difficult to access mental health services through the NHS because of the long delays in getting referrals.
If you have any questions or would like to speak with us about the Keep Well project, we would love to chat. Email: email@example.com, Tel: 020 8208 8590 ext.: 215 or use the chat facility on our website.