15,426 reasons to be proud
The SURE for Mental Health project at New Pathways has run for over 5 years, with the most recent Community Project drawing to a close in May 2022. This project really has created a lasting legacy and we wanted to publicly celebrate everything that the staff and volunteers have achieved. And fear not, we are continuing some elements of the SURE project moving forward.
What did the project do?
“A lot of last year my diary was empty, but since the SURE project, my diary is full. It gives me something to focus on and gives me a reason to get up in the morning, because some days it is hard. It’s about just knowing the support is there.”
Funded by The National Lottery Community Fund, the SURE project delivered free mental health training and workshops to people across Wales, and beyond, to help people to learn more about mental health conditions and learn techniques to support themselves and others. SURE also ran community groups, psycho-educational groups, and hosted mental health events. The staff and volunteers on the project created many workshops and resources, including a Tip of the Day email throughout the pandemic.
Courses ranged from Schizophrenia Awareness to Sleep Strategies, community groups ranged from mindfulness to online quizzes, and the SURE for Mental Health events hosted workshops ranging from upcycling and gardening tips to lived experience speakers covering topics from menopause to male suicide awareness.
Over the years many front line staff and volunteers, family members and friends, and people experiencing mental health issues themselves, engaged with the project. 15,426 people in fact!
What did the project achieve?
“Suffering with side effects of isolation since covid and finding some aspects of life difficult at the moment, I found all the events I attended uplifting, informative, encouraging and inspiring. Whether it was new subject to me or even lying within my profession I found the subject matter covered a wide scope so felt there was something for everyone.”
We believe that the project has made a profound difference to some and some difference to many.
For some participants who took part in the community groups, particularly the social based ones, they have stated that the groups gave them a reason to get up in the morning and gave them the confidence to interact socially again, and they significantly boosted their wellbeing.
For thousands of others, the project has given them a greater awareness and understanding of mental health, often both their own and others’, it has changed people’s perceptions and attitudes towards mental health, and it has given people greater skills and confidence to support people with mental health issues both in their professional roles and as friends and family.
- 98% of people thought that the SURE project had a positive impact on their understanding of mental health.
- 94% of people thought the project had a positive impact on their skills to support someone experiencing a mental health issue.
- 94% of people said the project better equipped them to recognise signs and risks of mental health issues.
- 94% of attendees rated the session they attended as very or extremely useful.
- 92% of people said the project improved their confidence to help others.
- 86% of course, workshop and group attendees said that they had the opportunity to talk to people with shared experiences.
“Compare my mental health now to how it was just 12/18 months ago and the impact of the SURE project becomes pretty clear. I can’t put a price on a project like this, I wouldn’t be where I am now helping the people I’m helping without this project. It’s not just the people attending the workshops that are benefiting, their family and friends are too… and the positive knock on effect of this project is priceless. It has given me the confidence to start and run a local men’s mental health support group reaching out to people in the community, many who would and do class themselves as fallen through the net. My knowledge and the information gained has benefited many people in the community as well as done great things for my own mental health and long-term mental wellbeing.”
Training and workshops:
- After attending our training and workshops, people rated their confidence of supporting someone with a mental health issue at 4.3 out of 5, compared to a confidence level of 3.4 before the training.
- 50% of all course participants said that the course had changed a previous perception or attitude they had towards a mental health issue.
“After the mental health awareness webinar, I now feel more confident in my job, and I feel less scared now about my ability to work with people with mental health issues. I had no idea what the difference was between schizophrenia, psychosis or personality disorders, and I had had no training in mental health. It was really useful to get an overview of the signs, and that these mental health disorders are not as scary as they sound.”
Community groups and events:
- 91% community group attendees said the sessions helped them with their coping skills.
- 76% of people said the sessions had provided them with a positive experience to add to their day.
- 72% said the sessions had improved their own mental health and wellbeing.
- 56% of people said the sessions had improved feelings of social isolation.
- 48% said they had improved personal confidence after attending sessions.
“SURE has kept me mentally afloat since my therapy ended. It has been invaluable in helping me prepare to move on slowly as the world opens up (or not) and try to overcome some of my social anxieties. SURE helped me manage isolation (caused by both Covid & social anxiety). I felt supported and not alone. I have been able to return to a former job albeit for only 3 hours a week.”
We are excited that one of our community groups ‘Bring Your Own Mug’ is carrying on independently beyond the project. One of the group members has been appointed to take over the group, and someone else has been appointed to support the organisation of this. The group have set up their own constitution and agreement and will have some informal support until the group is fully handed over. We hope that the members continue to offer support and companionship for each other for many years to come!
Through the SURE project we learnt about the powerful benefits of informal groups and peer support for the emotional wellbeing of people struggling with isolation, the effects of trauma, and mental health issues. We are using the evidence base from the SURE project to fund this area of work and add this to our service provision moving forward.
We have also retained and further developed some of the training packages and workshops that were developed on the SURE project have been carried over into the provision of the training team, with two focusses:
- continuing to upskill and support those who work or volunteer in mental health organisations to better support those who access their services
- Peer facilitated training and lived experience educators.
Finally, the lived experience research collected from focus groups, workshops and surveys about young people and adults’ mental health needs will be put into our training and will be disseminated to frontline staff from organisations moving forward.