SWLSTG writing room
Talking Mental Health Awareness Week with Jupiter WardPublished 11 May 2021
With nature the focus for the year’s awareness week, we caught up with Ioanna, a member of the team from Jupiter Ward to find out more about their work and what this week means to them.
Tell us a bit about your role at Jupiter Ward, Ioanna?
I’m the activity worker on Jupiter Ward, which means I co-ordinate and organise therapeutic activities for our service users with the aim of involving, encouraging, motivating and promoting independence and wellbeing. At Jupiter we provide inpatient care for adults who suffer from depression, schizophrenia, psychosis, schizo-affective disorders and other mental health issues.
What does that involve day-to-day?
We work really hard to create an interactive timetable of fun activities to empower service users. A lot of this is run by our amazing volunteers and supervised by other members of the team. A regular day on the ward means that our service users get to participate in games such as bingo, arts and crafts, cooking, baking, music and karaoke, current affairs, a movie afternoon and community meetings. Before the pandemic we’d also organise group gardening, walking groups, creative writing classes, exercise therapy and dog visits. We’re looking forward to getting back to some of these activities safely.
How do the Trust support patients to connect with nature?
Historically we’ve run a really successful gardening project here at Jupiter. We worked really closely with our volunteers to find the best possible ways support and motivate our services users to join a gardening group. It quickly became one of their favourite activities and the feedback was always really positive. It was amazing to see the impact this had in bringing everyone together to create something out of nothing. Some of our services users were monitoring plants growth each day and others were responsible for watering and weeding.
What’s happening next with Jupiter’s gardening programme?
We haven’t been able to be as active with the project during the pandemic but we’re looking forward to reconnecting with our volunteers and relaunching it again very soon. We also have a partnership with charity ShareGarden who run another community garden here at Springfield Hospital that staff and service users are able to visit.
Why does this week mean to you?
Mental Health Awareness Week is a really important opportunity for education. The more we know, the more we can offer – to each other and to ourselves. Knowledge also helps us to understand before we judge, and this can have a really positive impact. Low levels of mental health awareness are something we have to take on as a community. All boats rise with the tide and by working together to educate people across South West London, we can make a real difference.
Do you have a message for people this Mental Health Awareness Week?
People with mental health issues need love and support just as someone with a physical health issues does. I strongly believe that kindness, compassion and knowledge are the most powerful tools we have to break down stigma and help us learn and grow – an ultimately become better people.
Making Life Better Together in 2021
Published 30 January 2021
Ian Garlington, Integrated Programme Director, South West London and St George's Mental Health NHS Trust
Preparing for the new year always feels like an opportunity to take a moment to be mindful of the things that we have done in the recent past and consider how to do them in the future with more resilience and greater certainty for all our people.
The challenges have been immense, and it has been heartening to see how our communities have pulled together time and time again throughout the pandemic. Looking back over 2020 it would be understandable to think only of the ways we had to adapt just to keep our services going, but in reality we have done so much more.
The development of Springfield Village is now a year old and the progress is unmissable on-site with new hospitals taking shape at its heart, and the overall layout of the village beginning to emerge. Set to open during 2022, these hospitals will provide a range of inpatient services, designed to deliver the most modern mental health care in the country. Beyond this we look forward to refurbishments in Richmond and Barnes and the development of new facilities at Tolworth. These will give people the best chance to recover in the best environment, and support our staff to deliver the outstanding care our patients deserve from us.
In addition, we are working with our construction partners to bring forward the development of hundreds of new homes, retail facilities and a new 32-acre park for Tooting, creating a new mixed-used community. As we bring Springfield Village to life we are also starting some exciting community engagement projects that will provide a range of benefits and opportunities for local people. Earlier this month for example, we launched a community competition to find names for our new hospitals.
More than just buildings, we are working hard to foster mentally healthy cultures and communities in Wandsworth and across South West London. We are partnering on a groundbreaking new mental health prevention campaign, bringing forward a long-term action plan to promote and protect mental health across the region. We are taking advantage of new technologies to improve our services and working in more agile ways to suit both our staff and patients. And we are beginning to look hard at how we can improve synergies between our community and inpatient services to improve the care we deliver.
We are hopeful for the coming years; working to be innovative in the way we provide our services, and inclusive in the way our teams will work to promote wellness. We want each and every person we work with to know that their care is personalised, supporting their recovery and ongoing wellbeing.
Overall, 2021 will be an important year for our Trust and the people we serve as our Integrated Programme develops. It’s a year that we will see us build on the changes made in 2020 and evolve them into our everyday operations and our lives. Looking beyond the pandemic, we are committed to supporting our communities to recover from the effects of Covid-19 by boosting local healthcare, training, employment and purchasing wherever we can.
We also want to say thank you to all our staff and community to partners who have helped us to rise to the challenges of the pandemic, and adapt at pace with safety at the core of all of our work.
Springfield Village symbolises an important evolution in the care we deliver and we look forward to sharing in the benefits that our innovations and investments will bring to south west London in the years to come. As all the various elements and changes come together, we remain clear in our mission and our vision – we will make life better together.