About: Age UK Warwickshire’s Psychological Support Services is a county-wide scheme offering a range of interventions aimed at improving wellbeing and supporting older people. A counselling service is available to clients who are aged over 55, or a carer for someone aged over 55, offering up to 25 sessions with a trained counsellor who provides emotional support, confidential, non-judgemental listening, and help to work through difficulties.
Sessions are generally held in individuals’ own homes, and referrals are accepted from a wide range of agencies. Self-referrals are also taken. The service has recently started to gather impact data using the Warwick Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale (WEMWBS) with measures taken during the initial assessment phase and then after the final counselling session. To date a mean increase of six points on the WEMWBS has been recorded among clients undergoing counselling.
The scheme is funded through a combination of grants from trusts, core funding and individual client donations.
Also available is a scheme called ‘Support, Time and Recovery’, which focuses on improving wellbeing, increasing self-management skills and reducing isolation. The service is funded by Warwickshire County Council and through client donations and is available to clients aged over 55 who have a diagnosis of depression, stress or anxiety. The scheme offers up to 25 sessions with a volunteer who helps clients work towards identified goals and to take steps to improve their wellbeing. Although the service often deals with issues of isolation and loneliness, it is not available to those whose only request is to reduce isolation, and self-referrals are not accepted.
Referrals are accepted from GPs, Community Mental Health team and other mental health service providers. Regular reviews and on-going monitoring are carried out, to identify any changes in client needs. These clients can then transition to different parts of the Psychological Support Service, for example counselling or CBT, with little delay. Similarly clients who have had 25 sessions and made improvements, but who are not ready for discharge, can be provided with lower intensity services. Evaluation shows that clients make a mean improvement of 20.2 points on the WEMWBS scale, following involvement with the ‘Support, Time and Recovery’ programme.
Lower level interventions offered by the service include ‘Wellbeing in a Box’, which enables individuals to learn techniques to increase confidence and find ways to manage low mood or improve sleep. This is a short term intervention involving the provision of self-help guides or 1-5 low level sessions. It is funded by Warwickshire County Council. The organisations befriending service also forms part of the Psychological Support Service.
“I couldn’t have asked for anyone better, she has made such a difference – giving me more confidence and listening without pressure. To have someone to talk to and know you can say anything at all and in confidence is wonderful.”
Who: Age UK Warwickshire and Warwickshire County Council
Address: Age UK Warwickshire
8 Clemens Street
Leamington Spa, CV31 2DL
Tel: 011926 458112/4