At this time of year, you might find you have stopped doing the things that make you happy, and are just counting down the days to spring. Your mental health may be the last thing on your mind, but we know just how important it is. Here are some ideas to boost your wellbeing this winter.
1. Make a list of the things that are most important in your life.
This could include people you are close to, or tasks and hobbies you enjoy
2. Think about different activities that focus on the things that are most important in your life.
Now that you have a list of the most important things in your life, come up with activities that involve these important things. A good way of doing this is by organising the activities into things you can do now. Then things you can do in the next week or two. Then things you can do in the a few weeks or months. For example, I will go for a walk around the park tomorrow, and I will send a card to a friend next week
3. Create a plan for your activities.
For each activity, think about and write down:
• what day you will do it
• what time you will do it
• where you will do it
• the things you need to do it
4. Look back at your list
Take time to look back at your list of what is most important to you. This can help you think about whether what you are doing is what you would really like to be doing and focusing on what is important to you.
Your 5 Senses Scan
Grounding exercises are often used to help us stay connected to the present moment. They can help us manage anxiety, stress, or difficult emotions. The grounding exercise below asks you to make a list using your senses. You can write the list down, say it out loud or say it in your head.
Make a list of:
5 things you can see
4 things you can hear
3 things you can touch
2 things you can smell or taste
Take 1 deep breath.
Health in Mind is one of the partners of the In Care Survivors Alliance, which runs Future Pathways. It is one of Scotland’s best-known mental health charities. Since 1982, it has developed to meet people’s changing needs, and it now promotes positive mental health and wellbeing in local communities across Scotland.
It builds hope, resilience, and understanding of mental health and wellbeing. It does this through support, collaborations, campaigns and resources. People are at the heart everything Health in Mind does. Each year the charity helps around 4,000 people to live the life they want to live.
Anne heard about Future Pathways through the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry. Since then, Anne has worked with her Support Coordinators to access the right support for her.
Future Pathways supported Anne with some practical needs. For example, Anne accessed the Discretionary Fund to purchase a laptop. Anne was nervous about using the laptop since she has dyslexia. But having a laptop helped Anne build up her confidence and digital skills.
Future Pathways also helped Anne access mental health support. When she started working with Future Pathways, Anne was going through a very difficult time. Anne accessed counselling through one of Future Pathways’ Delivery Partners.
Taking the time to tell her story in counselling helped Anne in her recovery. Having support from her Support Coordinator during the Inquiry also helped her manage.
With Future Pathways’ support, Anne was able to address her home environment. At the time, Anne was dealing with harassment from neighbours, and she did not feel safe where she lived. Because of these challenges, Anne felt isolated. Future Pathways purchased a membership at a cinema, to help Anne enjoy time away from the house.
With Future Pathways’ support, Anne was able to move to a new area, close to her family. Future Pathways also helped Anne buy household items to settle into her new home.
Now, Anne wants to make difference to others through the Voices for a Better Future group. Being a member of Voices for a Better Future has given Anne insight that not everyone has positive experiences with Future Pathways. Anne feels there might be some things Future Pathways could do to improve. For example, following up with people after about their experiences working with our Delivery Partners, and reducing the need to work with different Support Coordinators.
Overall, Anne feels working with Future Pathways made a positive difference in her life.
Our fundamental purpose is to help people who experienced childhood abuse and neglect in care to live happier, more fulfilled and more independent lives, recognising and being sensitive to the profound impact of traumatic experience – and tailoring support to set the conditions for positive connection and improving quality of life.
We do this because we know that a positive relationship can be both an outcome in its own right, and a powerful enabler to accessing other supports.
Trust is a hugely important part of this; it is fundamental to making a connection and to building bridges to other supports and resources. This is especially important for people who may have been let down and poorly served by professionals in the past or may have a deep mistrust of services.
And we decided to be iterative, so we can apply what we learn immediately, constantly aiming to do our best by and for the people we work with.
For a number of years, we have worked with Matter of Focus. Together, we use impact measurement to drive insight and innovation. And by investing in impact measurement, we have an evidence-based way of reflecting on our work, developing the courage to test new ideas and adapting when we need to.
As such, as we now have real confidence in the importance of taking a relational approach, with a strong evidence base about what works and how.
It has helped us take a hard look at what being person-centred and trauma informed means in practice, with effects ripping out across how we work as colleagues, as commissioners of support and as contractors with Delivery Partners, as well as how we respond to feedback and complaints. Our relational approach invites the participation and contribution of everyone who is involved in and benefits from the service.
Measuring the impact of our relational approach has been central to developing an understanding of what ‘good support’ looks like and feels like to people, who have been seldom heard, or well served by existing services.
The service offers personalised support to people throughout their redress journey. This includes talking through your needs in relation to your Redress journey, including practical and emotional support.
There is tailored support provided by Link Workers and by delivery partners. There is also connection with other specialist support organisations who can help you find your records.
The service can support you to prepare for applying, during the application and after you have applied.
If you’re going through the application process for the Redress Scheme and would like to speak to someone about how you are feeling, contact the Emotional Support Helpline:
The Helpline can also support you if you are thinking about applying for redress but haven’t made the application yet. You can also contact the Redress Support Service if you have already submitted your application.
Write go on write I’m talking to my pen
Oh what a clever writer to write when I say when.
The crimson skies the rushing waves I’m thinking in my head
Oh what a clever thinker to think what I just said.
It is really such a lovely life it’s me who’s telling you
I know it’s me who’s talking but to whom am I talking to.
I’m really just a splendid chap rich in thought and health
but guess what I discovered I am talking to myself.
A thought a thought it’s just a thought my mind will think again to think of all the thoughts
I’ve had would cast me out in shame.
I thought I was a rock star my mind was running wild selfish thought’s all for myself sometimes
I’m like a child.
I thought I was a Christian to the world I’d be so good but it’s to the devil my soul I gave and
the words I speak are rude.
I thought I was a politician I’d save the world’s cries but I’m not different from the rest
I’m a liar in disguise.
I’ve thought in many ways of folk
But it’s just a shot in the dark life is good and bad at times.
What do you think well there’s a thought.
Chris has been working with Future Pathways for several years. He has been keen on drawing for as long as he can remember, and it has developed over the years. Chris told us:
“I used to mostly draw with a charcoal pencil – so that’s in black and white. But during lockdown I started coming out of my comfort zone a bit, and started doing colour drawings with graphite pencils. My friends often told me that they like them when I shared them on Facebook, and that the colour drawings cheered them up.”
Chris mentioned all of this to his Support Coordinator, and this started a discussion which ended up with them arranging an exhibition of Chris’s work in the Woodlands Community Meeting Room in Glasgow.
Above: Chris’s with his artwork on display at the Woodlands Community Meeting Room in Glasgow
Many of Chris’s drawings are of people, but they’re not all real people. Chris says: “I draw lots of stuff. I do things from TV shows or movie characters, or I’ll do cartoon characters or I’ll do superheroes. Things along those lines.”
But not all of Chris’s work is of made-up characters: “I sometimes draw bands of musicians and things like that.” And Chris uses this as a chance to share his work in a really lovely way.
“I go along to shows – plays or concerts – and I’ll pick a member of the band or the cast. Obviously I can’t draw them all, but I’ll draw someone. And then after the show, I’ll go to the stage door and I’ll present them with the drawing. Just as a little gift for them. People almost always ask if they are allowed to keep it! And I say, ‘Of course, that’s what I’ve done it for, it’s for you to take away.’ And they’re delighted. People giving me hugs and sometimes they’re nearly crying. It’s just very nice to see someone happy with something that I’ve done for them, and to see how much it means to them.”
Above: Chris’s work in the Woodlands Community Meeting Room in Glasgow
We will be sharing how we went about understanding our impact, especially the impact of our relationships with people. Created in collaboration with Matter of Focus, the report shines a light on the difference we make and how we make it.
We’ll also be highlighting key words from our work. Each of the words below is one of the themes we noticed from our conversations with people we support. At Future Pathways, we ask people how it feels to work with us. It helps us to improve our service and to learn.
A lot of people register with us for support. This means that currently people are waiting longer than we would like. It is not always possible for us to say how long you will have to wait. We understand that this can be frustrating.
We look forward to providing support for you as soon as we can.
Many people register with us to get support. But we are not able to support everyone at the same time. This means we cannot offer support right away and so we have a waiting list.
No, we are not able to tell you how long you will have to wait. We do not want to give you a waiting time that might change as we know people can feel let down by that. We support people for different lengths of time, depending on their goals and needs. Because of this, it is difficult to know when we can start working with people on the waitlist.
We have increased the number of Support Coordinators. We now have more than 35.
At the moment, we cannot offer direct support while you are waiting.
We can point you to other services that may be able to offer support while you wait. This includes statutory services, like the NHS or housing services. Future Pathways does not replace statutory services and cannot offer the same support that those services provide.
We prioritise older adults (people over 65) and people living with a terminal illness. For everyone else, we offer support in the order they registered with us.
Once you have registered with us, we will send you an Information Pack. The pack will confirm you have been registered. It will also give you more information about Future Pathways. It will include a Support Agreement for you to sign and send back to us. We will send you an Information Pack within 2 weeks of you registering. The Information Pack is also on our website and you can view it here.
If you would like to get a copy of the feedback form by post instead, you can let us know by:
During normal working hours always contact your GP for urgent advice and treatment.
When your GP or Dental Practice is closed and you cannot wait until they are open, you should phone NHS 111 service for out-of-hours advice. The service provides urgent care advice and mental health support.
Call 999 or go to A&E now if you do not feel you can keep yourself or someone else safe.
The Samaritans offer a safe place for you to talk any time you like. You can talk in your own way about whatever is going on. They have a helpline, email service, letter service and a self-help app. Helpline open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Breathing Space is a free phone and webchat service. It is confidential. It is for anyone in Scotland over the age of 16. You can contact them if you are experiencing low mood, depression or anxiety. Open 6pm to 2am Monday to Thursday, and 6pm to 6am Friday to Sunday.
Shout is a free, confidential, 24/7 text messaging support service for anyone who is struggling to cope.
This is a further update about Future Pathways’ fund. The fund is used to help support the people we work with. We call this our Discretionary Fund or DF for short. However, below, we will simply refer to it as ‘the fund’.
The fund is one of the different types of support that people can access from Future Pathways. It is used to support people to work towards their goals.
We wrote to everyone in active support on 23rd October about two changes to fund. Since then, the Scottish Government has offered us extra support.
Ministers are keen to sustain support for people who are registered with Future Pathways. They have listened to the views of survivors and the Alliance Leadership Team.
The Discretionary Fund is one of the types of support that can be used to help people work towards the goals in their individual support plan.
If you have any questions, you can: