Throughout the pandemic, mental health services have had to adapt the way they support those in need of help.
For adults in Bridgend County Borough, Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board provides the Assisting Recovery in the Community (ARC) service jointly with the council.
ARC offers responsive and accessible person-centred support to people experiencing mental health issues or emotional wellbeing issues. This includes preventative services, signposting to advice and guidance, short-term support, occupational therapy, activity planning, employment support and advice, and social support.
People can access the advice and guidance service without the need for referral and it acts as a point of contact for community organisations and agencies requiring information in support of individuals. This includes local third sector organisations, employers and colleges.
The service provides opportunities for individuals to improve their mental health and wellbeing, enhance their lifestyles and to maximise function and independence through existing community resources.
ARC has support workers and occupational therapists working closely with colleagues from a range of mental health support services who are usually based in the same building.
It has continued to offer services throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, delivering support via telephone contact and video calls, alongside some limited community contacts that were conducted in line with restrictions.
Consistent with previous years, the predominant conditions being reported were anxiety, stress and low mood, with the main contributory causes highlighted as family and relationship issues, followed by health issues, trauma, bereavement and work stress. The percentage of people citing Covid-19 as a cause of anxiety rose during the third quarter.
ARC’s services include employment support, which is made up of help for those who are unemployed to feel ready to find work or link in with employment-related support, as well as advice for those who are employed to help them remain in work or return to the workplace.
The support offered includes guided self-help modules, engagement with employers, a listening service and links to other resources.
Tickety Boo – a perinatal mental health support group – was introduced just before Covid-19 restrictions were introduced and was maintained via telephone support. Face-to-face sessions for small groups are planned to restart once coronavirus restrictions allow.