Leonardo da Vinci Mobility Programme
In November 2013, I was given the fantastic opportunity to participate in a project called “Enhancing Metal Health Services”. This involved a two week placement with Bristol Community Support Services in the United Kingdom with Rethink Mental Illness, under the Leonardo da Vinci Mobility Programme, funded by the European Union Programmes Agency.
Rethink Mental Illness, is the largest voluntary sector provider of mental health, with over 200 services in the United Kingdom. It was founded forty years ago by voluntary groups for people affected by mental illness, and has over 100 groups to date. It provides a large range of services nationally, including advocacy, carer support, crisis services and more. It organises groups targeted towards offering help to all those people affected by a mental health problem.
The Manager, Ms. Jackie Boyce and all the staff at Bristol Community Support Services, welcomed me very warmly and made me feel at ease. I was made to feel like part of the team even though my stay was a short one. Upon my arrival I was given a comprehensive overview of the many services provided by Rethink Mental Illness. Ms. Boyce prepared a full and very riveting schedule which stretched over the period of my stay covering as many of the services offered as possible.
Not only was my stay interesting and informative, it offered hands on experience, as I was present during several groups offered to clients, of which I can mention the “The Walking Group” and “Living Life To The Full”. I was invited to participate in a two day training course about “Mental Health First Aid” which proved to be extremely rewarding. I was also asked to take part in an Art Workshop organised by the Sibling Support Group which was very interesting and creative.
Services provided were exceptional as well as highly professional. This placement provided me with an unforgettable experience which has helped me to hone my skills and obtain new ideas which can easily be adopted by Richmond Foundation in Malta.
Having had such a beneficial and wonderful experience, I encourage anyone having the opportunity for a similar placement to go for it. Not only does it offer the participant more scope to learn about the subject, it also broadens the outlook for anyone working within the field of mental health, thus offering a better service to vulnerable individuals.