REST: the new service bringing the community together to tackle poor mental health
- Credit: CHRIS RIDLEY
A major new community project is offering online support for adults in Norfolk who are experiencing problems with their mental health, with a drop-in hub and wellbeing café opening in the heart of Norwich later this year.
REST is a community wellbeing hub commissioned by Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group and delivered by local mental health charity Norfolk and Waveney Mind, Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT), and social enterprise cafe The Feed.
REST stands for Recover, Eat, Support, and Talk, reflecting the different ways we can be more connected in our community. It launched in December 2020 with a digital platform at restnorwich.co.uk, initially offering one-to-one support via Zoom.
Users can be referred by their GP or another mental health professional to access a personalised package of support which promotes empowerment and self-care and focuses on wellness rather than illness. Anyone not currently under the care of a mental health professional can be referred via the Norfolk and Suffolk First Response helpline on 0808 196 3494.
Dr Benjamin Marshall is the REST Hub manager and is pleased with how the service has been received in its opening weeks.
He said: “We know that the need for mental health support within our community has been rising during the pandemic, and this much-needed new service makes it easier for people to get the support they need within their community, while reducing the stigma of talking about and seeking help for mental health issues.”
The second phase of development, due to be finished later this year, will see REST having a physical space at Churchman House, a Grade 1 listed building in Norwich city centre, where anyone will be able to walk in and access immediate mental health support. REST will feature a daytime community hub, an Intensive Support Package, evening crisis service, and a wellbeing café run by The Feed, and will host events, community activities and guest workshops.
“We are really excited to be part of this important project,” said Lucy Parish, CEO at The Feed. “The wellbeing café will be friendly and supportive and will serve nourishing and tasty food, while also providing opportunities for volunteering and work experience.”
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REST is part of a £7.4m drive by Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group to improve local mental health provision.
Dr Ardyn Ross, local GP and member of NHS Norfolk and Waveney CCG’s Governing Body, said: “It is fantastic to see the range of support that REST is offering to help local people reach out and access the support they need. The development of REST is a vital and innovative part of the transformation of the mental health system in Norfolk and Waveney, supported by all health and care partners.”
Case study: Early recovery
A was referred to REST in a mental health crisis. They felt overwhelmed and unable to cope which led to episodes of self-harm. They live with family but do not feel they can discuss their true feelings for fear of being a burden, so spend a lot of time alone in their room.
The REST team offered a set of supportive sessions which gave A a safe space to be listened to with empathy and without judgment. Over the course of a few weeks, the team helped A make plans that would help them to stay safe, assisted them with navigating their appointments with clinicians, and gave gentle encouragement and reflection as they picked up some positive activities like photography that had been swept aside by the crisis they experienced.
A said: “Just to say thank you and I’m glad that I reached out to REST - much appreciated. Good to have a ‘boohoo’ without judgement and being ‘therapised’.”
Case study: Rebuilding and maintaining recovery
C lives with mental and physical health conditions. They find it difficult to prioritise tasks and this can lead to a feeling of being overwhelmed. They are socially isolated with their support network consisting of support agencies and statutory services, such as their GP.
The REST team offered C support from a peer support worker, who had experienced mental health difficulties themselves so had concrete knowledge about recovery to share, and a recovery worker, who specialises in helping people make plans and take action on them to further their recovery. Together they are helping C reflect, respond to setbacks positively, and break their day-to-day routine down into manageable, achievable tasks.