“ Helping people with mental problems on incapacity benefits. „
When you think of the Priory what comes to mind is that celebrities seem to be in and out of this place and it really expensive for the common person to even access but sometimes it can be accessed by the NHS too.
I had recently been attending Seetec ( a place that tries to help overcome or cope with health and mental conditions and try to get you into work or education) and was introduced to the Priory condition management programme. This course was to run for 6 weeks just attending a day each week. Lunch, which was a buffet was included free and the sessions were free too. I was abit sceptical on what they would actually do and how would it help me.
So what is the Priory's Condition Management Programme?
Priory's Condition Management Programme is focused around supporting people on employment and support allowance with anxiety, stress and depression. The programme equips people with knowledge, coping skills and peer support that can help enable them to gain and sustain employment whilst living with their health condition. (Taken from source: http://www.priorygroup.com/pg.asp?p=pubPathwaysToWork)
On first attendence I was worried and maybe abit scared of what to expect. The session started with a number of people (maybe 11 in the group). Sat around the table we went round the room doing introductions of name and whatever you felt comfortable with saying about yourself. For me it definately took me a while to open up. Its not normally that I find people can relate to my condition and feelings.
A folder is given and you work through worksheets on various topics such as stress, anxiety, depression, assertiveness, communication skills, relaxation skills as a group. Its so weird how you just open up to total strangers and find you can all relate to each others conditions no matter how different it is to yours you find some stuff in common. You really have to be open minded and take part in the discussions, it not beneficial it you dont get past the negative attitude. Majorty of the group dropped out due to this so in the end it ended up to be a group of 5 every week. Although it became a small group you ended up closer and become close friends. To be honest I'v never talked about my condition so openly or even talked so much in my life, here there was no one to tell me to stop moaning or ignore my cries for help, everybody listened and could relate to it in some way. Finally it felt like there other people like me suffering in silence and now I don't feel like I'm alone in suffering in this way.
Its just not a depressing talk about everyones problems you do end up having a laugh with like minded people. I have to admit after each session even though I would have to drag myself in the mornings I felt some sort of release like I got my feelings out and not bottled up distressing me. Everything talked about is confidential so no need to worry about someone else finding out outside the group.
There were 2 people from the Priory running the course both very friendly and fun to get on with. Which is good to know as it helps to know and able to feel comfortable in that environment.
The course only lasted 6 weeks and to be honest I felt so lost without the sessions as it was some sort of regular thing in my life. Maybe they should do a monthly meet up to see how we all are. Still I'v made some wonderful friends who I remain in regular contact with. Its worth attending as its free, lunch is provided, gets you out of the house, recognise what is actually stopping you, deal with it in a better way and make friends.
As I said Seetec set this up for me as I'm on Employment support allowance at the moment, but other organisations around the country have sessions like this so if you can then take advantage of it. Everything taught is more or less what you know already but your mind is so clouded it just needs refreshing and to be reminded.