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Posted on Nov 11 2022 by Fiona Bailey

The wellbeing work carried out by a mental health charity which has made “positive and meaningful” changes among its service users has been recognised by a top Essex awards programme.

The Occupational Therapy Team, based at St Andrew’s Healthcare, has been shortlisted for an Essex Activity Award after “positive and meaningful” changes were noticed in many of the patients’ health and wellbeing.

Patients have been encouraged to get active and take part in gentle exercise such as rowing, swimming and walking challenges after it joined forces with Sport for Confidence (SFC), an organisation which works closely with occupational therapists to utilise sport and physical activity to enhance a person’s health and wellbeing.

SFC Founder and Director Lynsey Barret said: “It’s been wonderfully fulfilling working with the patients of St Andrew’s Healthcare, many of whom were very uncertain of what we had to offer would help them.

“It’s been a real privilege working collaboratively with the St Andrew’s team and together we’ve been able to meet many patient-centred goals. Our partnership has helped patients expand their social opportunities, minimise the impact of institutionalisation, boost their confidence and improve their overall physical and mental wellbeing.”

Lead Occupational Therapist Annymn Adams added: “It’s been a real joy to watch the positive and meaningful changes our patients have experienced since we started working with SFC and promoting exercise. We’ve seen a huge shift in their wellbeing and attitude towards their treatment and we’re thrilled to have been shortlisted for this award.”

“One of our patients, who was on the verge of being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, has lost two stone in just eight months. Since then he tells us he feels more energetic, his mood has improved and he is open to new challenging himself more in other areas. His confidence is sky high and he’s now getting involved in community-based vocational work. The patient has made such significant progress, there’s talk of him being discharged to low secure services within the next couple of weeks. When you get these sorts of results, it just goes to show the power exercise has on our wellbeing.”

The Essex Activity Awards are hosted by Active Essex and were created to recognise and celebrate the extent of achievements throughout the county.

This year the ceremony will be held at the Chelmsford City Racecourse on Wednesday, November 16, after a last minute decision led to the awards being hosted virtually last year due to the pandemic.