Say hello to Sam Stocks, our health and wellbeing adviser who has been part of the Triage team since January 2018. We asked Sam to provide a little bit of information about herself and to highlight some of the key parts of her role in the Work and Health Programme.
"I have worked in health improvement for over ten years in various positions, delivering physical and mental health improvement strategies to a range of organisations across the North East of England and Yorkshire. In previous roles, I have provided both one-to-one and group support and delivered full NHS health checks to individuals, all while providing person-centred advice to facilitate individuals in achieving and maintaining health improvement behaviours.
"As the health and wellbeing adviser on the Work and Health Programme, I initially undertake health reviews with a variety of individuals from different vulnerable groups. The completion of the health review allows me to identify any physical or mental wellbeing barriers that may be impacting their daily life and could be seen as a barrier for entering employment. Through discussion and one-to-one support, I work with individuals to help address the identified barriers or signpost to the external provider to provide specialised support.
"My role enables me to deliver health improvement training sessions, for example, health management programmes where participants learn strategies to actively manage their conditions. The sessions can include help to reduce anxiety, mood management techniques, and advice on healthy eating. Each person on the programme is provided a holistic tailored package of support aimed at bringing them closer to the labour market.
"Specialised support can include IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies), cooking on a budget, exercise classes, various social activities to reduce isolation and increase confidence, smoking cessation, drug and alcohol support services, housing support, and money management to name a few.
"This year has brought about some changes where we have had to adapt how we offer support due to national and local lockdowns. To help participants maintain both their physical and mental health, packs were sent to participants either by post or by email. The packs were designed to offer a variety of activities (proven to increase physical and mental well-being), links to provision for specialised support, and many online educational courses with remote access. More recently, since returning to a semblance of normality, people are experiencing higher levels of anxiety. This has led to me working closely with Jobcentres across Tees Valley to ensure people wishing to come on to the programme will be offered the support that will help them adapt to the 'new normal' and move closer to the labour market.”