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Making a difference

We all love to be encouraged and know that what we are doing is making a difference.

The above quote was recently received from the Clinical Director of Townships 1 Primary Care Network, a network of 6 health centres. Over the last year our 4 Patient Listeners here, and across Porter Valley Network, received over 2000 bookings for Listening appointments – that’s 2000 hours of listening supporting patients through life’s challenges. Over 90% said they found the service helpful, appreciating the opportunity to talk to someone empathic, independent and able to listen with intent.

“Once I finish on a call with you, I feel like I can breathe.”

“I’m feeling much better this week, this works really well.”

“I feel like something has lifted off me.”

“I was able to discuss issues which it was difficult to share with others in a confidential manner.”

Bereavement, workplace stress or bullying, redundancy, family pressures, the emotional impact of surgery, health anxiety, concern for a family member, anxiety, relationship breakdown. All subjects many of us face at some point in our lives and the impact of being supported at that time can be huge, reducing the potential for the emotional impact to escalate into a crisis. The Mental Health Foundation estimate that 75% of people with mental health problems in England may not get access to the treatment they need, whilst research by the Royal College of Psychiatrists found that two fifths of patients waiting for mental health treatment are forced to resort to emergency or crisis services, with 11% ending up in A&E. Early interventions, talking therapies, opportunities to offload can bring much-needed help at a time when its most needed, reducing the number of people whose mental health deteriorates from a lack of access to support.

“I just came to a brick wall and knew I needed help. All I wanted was to talk to someone who didn’t know my family or friends, and tell them everything I was thinking or feeling…Within 2 weeks I was talking to someone. It was just like a heavy weight was lifted off my shoulders. I can still access the service when I need to. Just listening was there at the right time for me.” 

Beneficiary who had experienced a series of recent bereavements, May 22.

So this month we are celebrating our Patient Listeners, celebrating the courage of patients talking about the challenges they are facing, and celebrating the power of Listening with intent.

“I just wanted to let you know we have such positive feedback about what you do, we are really grateful, and the patients think what you are doing is excellent.”