Small steps with great outcomes

One of our Peer Support Workers is supporting a participant whose mental health had deteriorated significantly and she followed our process to ensure her participant had the support they require in such circumstances. She wrote to their GP stating the difficulties the participant was currently facing and despite not being offered secondary mental health support, our PSW persevered and referred her to CARA. The participant was so grateful as she feels able to focus on achieving her goals and that there is purpose again to her life. This story shows that with just one small intervention, signposting to the right organisation can benefit the participants wellbeing profusely!



Learning to progress

Some great news for one of our participants who has been on the programme since September 2018. She was approaching 30, had worked as a volunteer, but had not worked in paid employment since leaving school. It was important for her to ‘own’ what was written in her CV, something which she struggled with. To build this up she enrolled on a Customer Service online course, Functional English and ICT. She engaged with our workshops and met with our Employer Engagement Manager really taking advantage of everything the project has to offer. These pieces all started to fit together and led to her applying and now attending an Access course, which will then lead to her plan of enrolling on a Degree course. Looking back over her year it’s amazing seeing her determination and courage to overcome her barriers. Just one example of a positive HeadsUp journey.



Basildon At Christmas

The Basildon At Christmas event on 16th November had an ice rink, Santa’s grotto and fairground rides, so the doors of the Advice Store where the local branch of Signpost are based were propped open to take advantage of the crowds (and it was very chilly in the office as a result!).

To entice people into the Store there was free face painting and though the people getting made-up were a little on the young side to be considering employment, some of the parents and grandparents who accompanied them were intrigued to hear about the HeadsUp project. Originally the doors were only intended to be open from 3-6pm, but being in a prime location it was decided to turn it into an all-day event and the long queues of people throughout validated this.

The best things about being open on a weekend was reaching people who worked, but who took leaflets for others they knew who weren’t in employment and may not get out much due to their mental health, while being at the centre of the Christmas market meant we reached people from outside the area who had travelled some distance to attend, thus spreading word of HeadsUp far and wide.

For instance, a couple who had come all the way from Canvey Island to attend the event wanted to talk about their son who lives in Thurrock and struggles with mental health issues meaning he is out of work. We were able to explain the benefits of the project and give them the contact details for Employ-Ability which delivers HeadsUp in their son’s locality.

Understanding your anxiety

One of the reasons HeadsUp exists is to help people who are anxious about moving into employment, education or training. According to the NHS, “Anxiety is something everyone experiences at times, and feeling anxious is a perfectly natural reaction to some situations”. I also know plenty of people with anxiety, and know that everyone’s anxieties are deeply personal and truly individual. How can we help then?

At there are some “Top Tips to Cope with Anxiety”. The great thing about these tips is that they are all adaptable to your own situation. For example, “Understand your anxiety”. This isn’t a one condition/ one cure approach, but the application is universal: you might initially think that you’re anxious about starting a job, but after thinking about it more closely it could be that your anxiety is more to do with using public transport or meeting new people. We can help you to understand your actual barriers and help to devise strategies to overcome them.

Another top tip is to “challenge your anxious thoughts”. Anxiety isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a response to certain situations. I used to apply a “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” test when turning up to a previous job. Thinking about the worst-case scenario, and then mentally working back from there to a more likely reality meant that by the time I got to work I was more relaxed and ready to deal with situations. In turn, this meant I was easier to get on with and people were more likely to be supportive.

If you do suffer from Anxiety, take a look at the link. Whenever you’re ready to take a few more steps towards employment, education or training then why not give us a call?