For the past year, Help & Care have been commissioned to lead a service for Dorset helping people manage their health and care. We sat down with Locality Manager for Weymouth and Portland, Jack, to learn more about how his team enables independence and supports people to live the lives they choose.
If you want to fnd out more or get support, contact us here: email@example.com or 0300 111 3303. This service is accessible to anyone in Dorset over 18, or who is registered with a GP.
What do we mean by self-management?
Self-management is essentially helping people understand how they are better able to manage and overcome challenges in their life. We look at the whole person and all aspects of their life, rather than just their health. It is the ability to articulate what can and can’t be controlled, and prioritise what can be done, so people feel empowered to live the lives they choose.
At Help & Care, our Dorset Self-Management Service provides access to professionals who are trained to help, such as Health and Wellbeing Coaches and Social Prescribing Link Workers.
How did you become a Locality Manager and what does that entail?
I studied a degree in Nutrition and Exercise, so always had a keen interest in how people can improve their health through lifestyle. I then moved on to a role with the Community Mental Health Trust in Bournemouth, where I was exposed to the complexity of mental health and the challenges people face on a daily basis.
Following that, I joined Help & Care as a Health & Wellbeing Coach for Weymouth and Portland, where I was able to actively support people to self-manage their mental health challenges and overcome barriers. I’ve since been promoted to Locality Manager where I look after teams of coaches and link workers.
I love this role because it allows me to spread the word about the importance of self-management – as I’ve essentially been there and done that, working as a coach and seeing how it works! I also really enjoy the collaborative element, that we meet, refer and work with lots of other organisations across local authorities, health and social care and the wider public sector, all collaborating and working towards a shared vision.
It must be hard to know where to start in addressing a root problem, if there isn’t an obvious health diagnosis – which is so often the case. What are some of the tools and techniques you use?
We start by listening to the patient – it’s really important to ensure that each conversation is not prescriptive, and that we go away after and think of what would work best for them. There are lots of tools readily available, from how to create SMART goals, to workshopping “what is confidence?”. It’s great to have so many brilliant resources available, meaning that once we’ve established how a person can improve aspects of their life, they can easily find solutions to manage. A few particularly useful resources can be found via our partner’s site, Cempac: Cempac Resources.
Have any moments stuck out for you as particularly memorable?
There have been so many! For confidentiality reasons it’s hard to give examples, however so often we see life changing results from people facing a huge range of physical, mental health problems, as well as lifestyle challenges.
What’s important to highlight is that the initial reason for contacting a GP (depression, anxiety, weight issues) is very rarely the root cause of a problem, so, if you keep trying to fix that, you’ll not really get much better. So, where I see the real benefit of the coaching service, is that we can help the individual identify the root cause/s. It often isn’t health related at all, but a job loss, or a change in appearance or sudden trauma. Often people can go years, even decades without ever talking about these problems, which is why we need to encourage people to get talking.
What do you think is the future of self-management?
Self-management is going to become increasingly prevalent, and there’s a real opportunity to make it work for everyone. For example, I believe that post-pandemic, we will be able to offer more variety, and therefore accessibility for people to access support. Increasing the ways people can get in touch, be it phone call, video, in-person at a variety of venues, will mean we can help more people and dampen any anxiety or barriers to entry they may have. It'll also be really important to keep connecting between organisations. Collaboration is so key, in sharing expertise. No one organisation will have the answer to everything. I think there’s also an education, research and marketing piece, in understanding how best to reach people, and providing many routes to market (it may be a flyer in a GP surgery, or it may be a social media video!).
Importantly, I see this as a way to reduce pressures on front line NHS staff and GPs. GPs don’t need to be the first point of call for all issues. Instead, we can help the public know where to go if they need support in all areas of their health, lifestyle and wellbeing.
If you could give people 3 tips on things to do now, what would they be?
- Explore the resources you have: what is your support network, do you have people, resources around you that can help? We often refer to the bio-psycho-social model which reinforces the idea that there are numerous causes that can lead to health problems.
- Mindset: framing the positive. What in your life is positive right now? By focussing on the negatives, we can lose hope, motivation, and our health can suffer.
- Look into the value of coaching or contact your GP to speak to a social prescriber. Coaching can really help when struggling, to find solutions that work for you.
Would you or someone you know benefit from this service? You can:
- Call us on 0300 111 3303
- Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Learn more about the self-management service here.
- Check out any of the links in this article for more support
- Follow us on social media: Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn
Help & Care’s Dorset Self-Management Service is accessible:
- Through any GP in Dorset.
- By self referral: as long as you are over 18, or registered with a GP in Dorset, you can self-refer, via the phone number or email.