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Patients encouraged to exercise the mind as well as the body

Alex Perrins and team

Specialist teams have worked together to create well-being packs for people with low-risk mental health problems to help keep their brain active.

The pack is the outcome of a collaboration between the Liaison Psychiatry Team and the Emergency Department/ Older Persons Assessment Service Occupational Therapy Team.

Its launch coincides with Active August – a health board campaign designed to encourage patients, staff and the public to embrace an active lifestyle and take small steps towards a healthier and more vibrant future.

Led by Alex Perrins, occupational therapist within Morriston Hospital’s Liaison Psychiatry Team, the pack addresses the fact that it is just as important to exercise the brain as it is the body.

Occupational therapy or nursing staff within the two teams will provide people with a pack where appropriate after assessment.

Alex said, “It’s a well-being pack made up of grounding techniques that can be utilised while in hospital.

“With it being Active August it’s fallen at the right time.

“It’s mainly cognitive stimulation and it keeps the mind active.

“As much as everyone is focusing on the physical side of staying active, mentally, for our own well-being, we need to remain active as well.”

Alex Perrins The pack contains a selection of colouring activities and puzzles.

Alex said: “It includes mindfulness colouring, Suduko, crosswords, and word searches along with useful contact numbers in the community. It also lists useful apps that patients can use such as Calm and Headspace.

“The main aim of the pack is to use distraction techniques to support the patient while they are awaiting assessment if they are feeling anxious or nervous.

“It also reduces low mood and gives people distraction techniques if they are feeling anxious in hospital because of the environment.”

Alex said the initial feedback had been encouraging.

She said: “They are printed out in a lovely booklet by our Psychiatric Liaison Admin Department, so the patient won’t lose any of the sheets.

“The feedback from nursing staff has been great. Particularly in the Intensive Care Unit, where they have found the packs beneficial in supporting patient recovery.

“It’s been rolled out across all four sites. Wherever the patient is, we will provide a pack if we feel it’s appropriate for them.”

Heidi Fox, Lead Occupational Therapist, Older Persons Mental Health, said: “I would like to thank Alex for all her hard work developing the well-being packs and to the liaison psychiatry staff and wider hospital multidisciplinary teams for introducing the packs wherever they are needed.

“This is a welcome initiative for individuals experiencing mental health symptoms, with the aim of supporting self-management and their overall well-being while they await assessment and treatment.

“I look forward to capturing the feedback from patients, carers and staff as to how we can continue to develop this resource further.”

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