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From a CLMH Phase-1 Learner

A DfE Community Learning | Mental Health Research site 

Recently, we received the email below. I am posting it in more or less its original form, with some small edits to ensure anonymity.  Some of the language might not be what we would generally use in the sector, but it is what this person chose to say about their experience.

What struck me, is how well they articulate their reflections on participation in phase-1, the strategies learned that are being sustained, and the importance to this person of the 1:1 IAG offer.  I still find it interesting how learners opt in or out of the IAG and I wonder if it makes a difference longer term to their wellbeing, or if it's just that we are more likely to hear about it from those people who opted in for the full 3 hours.

Incidentally, I bumped into the same learner today in college.  They are giving maths another try after a false start last year (before joining the research project).   I also heard from another curriculum manager that another phase-1 learner is now on a paid-for course - having attended a Ways to Wellbeing 1:1, a course and a top-up workshop.  Progression into the main programme is a fantastic outcome, and I am convinced that we are engaging new learners through the research offer that we would have not necessarily got without being part of the project. 

"Happy new year!!!!!! Thank you for being so ace throughout 2016 and helping me notice the huge changes that have happened like.....

1) I'm safe because I was brave enough to get help

2) im a little less embarrassed that im a little nuts. (all the best people are right?)

3) Im taking baby steps and not running before I can even bloody crawl :)

Having our meetings was truly something that helped me so much. When I didn't want to leave the house because you know the big wide world is scary I did it anyway because I couldn't let you down and not turn up.

The pottery course was my safe haven throughout all the crap that happened last year.

So for 2017 I plan to try even harder and be less hard on my self. To do...

1) apply for an open university course

2) find out more about the recovery college

3) go outside even when I'm scared and not just because Ive gotta see my therapist etc

4) accept normal is operated and that madness is much more fun.

When I applied to be a research site for the project, I wanted to expand our learning provision for people with lived experience of mental health problems.  The phase-2 specification for the 1:1 IAG element has added far more to the original offer than I ever anticipated and although it  has been and remains challenging, it's feedback like this that really keeps us all going. 

I did a 1:1 myself today (it's been a while) and I have even become a fan of the PHQ-9 and GAD-7 tools.  Now we've learned to use them and have the conversations, the process offers so much insight for discovering a learner's potential.

Where next?


This is an interesting and uplifting read, Jessica. Your learner / volunteer has certainly travelled a long way, but what I noticed in particular is her thanking you for helping her 'notice' all the positive changes that have happened in her life.

I'm new to blogging; so reading yours have helped me to see what kind of information to offer and also to be more reflective. If you get a moment, please have a look at mine (Ljiljana Colak on MHFE) and write a few lines of advice.

With thanks, Ljiljana