Week 57 
 
Welcome to the Fifty Seventh bulletin. 
 
Did you know it was Mental Health Awareness Week this week?  
 
This week's bulletin will be covering this subject, as it is very important for us all to recognise that Mental Health is something we all have! Our mental health, just like our physical health can be in a good place or a bad place, cycling from one to another depending on all sorts of things.  
 
There are ways that we can all take better care of our mental health, building our resilience at the same time.  
 
Poor mental health is very much a recognised side-effect of unemployment, particularly due to the impact on our self-esteem and self-confidence. It isn't surprising at all, but at this time finding ways to remain positive is critical to improving the chances of success.  
 
I would like to focus on the five-ways-to-wellbeing and also the hugely underated skill of listening.  
 
The information below on the 'Five Ways to Wellbeing' comes from the NHS website - click here for more information 
 
The Five Ways to Wellbeing are - 
 
Connect with other people 
Be physically active 
Learn new skills 
Give to others 
Be mindful (pay attention to the moment) 
 
More details on each of the five are below -  
 
1. Connect with other people 
 
Good relationships are important for your mental wellbeing. They can: 
help you to build a sense of belonging and self-worth 
give you an opportunity to share positive experiences 
provide emotional support and allow you to support others 
 
There are lots of things you could try to help build stronger and closer relationships: 
 
Do 
if possible, take time each day to be with your family, for example, try arranging a fixed time to eat dinner together 
arrange a day out with friends you have not seen for a while 
try switching off the TV to talk or play a game with your children, friends or family 
have lunch with a colleague 
visit a friend or family member who needs support or company 
volunteer at a local school, hospital or community group. Find out how to volunteer on the GOV.UK website 
make the most of technology to stay in touch. Video-chat apps like Skype and FaceTime are useful, especially if you live far apart 
search and download online community apps on the NHS apps library 
 
Don’t rely on technology or social media alone to build relationships. It's easy to get into a habit of only texting, messaging or emailing people.  
 
2. Be physically active 
 
Being active is not only great for your physical health and fitness. Evidence also shows it can also improve your mental wellbeing by: 
 
helping you to set goals or challenges and achieve them 
causing chemical changes in your brain which can help to positively change your mood 
 
 
Do 
find free activities to help you get fit - click here 
if you have a disability or long-term health condition, find out about getting active with a disability - click here 
start running with our couch to 5k podcasts - click here 
find out how to start swimming, cycling or dancing 
find out about getting started with exercise - click here 
 
Don’t feel that you have to spend hours in a gym. It's best to find activities you enjoy and make them a part of your life! 
 
3. Learn new skills 
 
Research shows that learning new skills can also improve your mental wellbeing by: 
 
boosting self-confidence and raising self-esteem 
helping you to build a sense of purpose 
helping you to connect with others 
 
Even if you feel like you do not have enough time, or you may not need to learn new things, there are lots of different ways to bring learning into your life. 
 
Some of the things you could try include: 
 
Do 
try learning to cook something new. Find out about healthy eating and cooking tips 
try taking on a new responsibility at work, such as mentoring a junior staff member or improving your presentation skills 
work on a DIY project, such as fixing a broken bike, garden gate or something bigger. There are lots of free video tutorials online 
consider signing up for a course at a local college. You could try learning a new language or a practical skill such as plumbing 
try new hobbies that challenge you, such as writing a blog, taking up a new sport or learning to paint 
 
Don’t feel you have to learn new qualifications or sit exams if this does not interest you. It's best to find activities you enjoy and make them a part of your life 
 
4. Give to others 
 
Research suggests that acts of giving and kindness can help improve your mental wellbeing by: 
 
creating positive feelings and a sense of reward 
giving you a feeling of purpose and self-worth 
helping you connect with other people 
 
It could be small acts of kindness towards other people, or larger ones like volunteering in your local community. 
 
Some examples of the things you could try include: 
 
saying thank you to someone for something they have done for you 
asking friends, family or colleagues how they are and really listening to their answer 
spending time with friends or relatives who need support or company 
offering to help someone you know with DIY or a work project 
volunteering in your community, such as helping at a school, hospital or care home 
 
5. Pay attention to the present moment (mindfulness) 
 
Paying more attention to the present moment can improve your mental wellbeing. This includes your thoughts and feelings, your body and the world around you. 
 
Some people call this awareness "mindfulness". Mindfulness can help you enjoy life more and understand yourself better. It can positively change the way you feel about life and how you approach challenges. 
 
Read more about mindfulness, including steps you can take to be more mindful in your everyday life. 
 
There loads of organisations on line that advocate the 5 ways to wellbeing to being effective in keeping our mental health in a good place.  
 
 
 
Listening Skills. 
 
Hands up if you think you are a really good listener!  
 
I wouldn't say I am a naturally good listener. I have worked on it over the years and have certainly improved, however I do still have a relatively short attention span, have a tendency to want to 'fix' things and also perhaps can slip in to judgemental thinking. I'm still working on it though.  
 
Good listening can be one of the kindest and most appreciated things you can give someone else. Why? Because it is a very rare thing, one that we're not trained to do at school and really doesn't get the appreciation it deserves.  
 
In today's high-tech, high-speed, high-stress world, communication is more important then ever, yet we seem to devote less and less time to really listening to one another. Genuine listening has become a rare gift—the gift of time. It helps build relationships, solve problems, ensure understanding, resolve conflicts, and improve accuracy. At work, effective listening means fewer errors and less wasted time. At home, it helps develop resourceful, self-reliant kids who can solve their own problems. Listening builds friendships and careers. It saves money and marriages. 
 
The below comes from the Forbes.com and gives a great overview of effective listening. 
 
Here are 10 tips to help you develop effective listening skills. 
 
Step 1: Face the speaker and maintain eye contact. 
 
Talking to someone while they scan the room, study a computer screen, or gaze out the window is like trying to hit a moving target. How much of the person's divided attention you are actually getting? Fifty percent? Five percent? If the person were your child you might demand, "Look at me when I'm talking to you," but that's not the sort of thing we say to a lover, friend or colleague. 
 
In most Western cultures, eye contact is considered a basic ingredient of effective communication. When we talk, we look each other in the eye. That doesn't mean that you can't carry on a conversation from across the room, or from another room, but if the conversation continues for any length of time, you (or the other person) will get up and move. The desire for better communication pulls you together. 
 
Put aside papers, books, the phone and other distractions. 
Look at them, even if they don't look at you. Shyness, uncertainty, shame, guilt, or other emotions, along with cultural taboos, can inhibit eye contact in some people under some circumstances. Excuse the other guy, but stay focused yourself. 
 
Step 2: Be attentive, but relaxed. 
 
Now that you've made eye contact, relax. You don't have to stare fixedly at the other person. You can look away now and then and carry on like a normal person. The important thing is to be attentive. The dictionary says that to "attend" another person means to: 
 
be present 
give attention 
apply or direct yourself 
pay attention 
remain ready to serve 
 
Mentally screen out distractions, like background activity and noise. In addition, try not to focus on the speaker's accent or speech mannerisms to the point where they become distractions. Finally, don't be distracted by your own thoughts, feelings, or biases. 
 
Step 3: Keep an open mind. 
 
Listen without judging the other person or mentally criticizing the things she tells you. If what she says alarms you, go ahead and feel alarmed, but don't say to yourself, "Well, that was a stupid move." As soon as you indulge in judgmental bemusements, you've compromised your effectiveness as a listener. 
 
Listen without jumping to conclusions. Remember that the speaker is using language to represent the thoughts and feelings inside her brain. You don't know what those thoughts and feelings are and the only way you'll find out is by listening. 
 
Step 4: Listen to the words and try to picture what the speaker is saying. 
 
Allow your mind to create a mental model of the information being communicated. Whether a literal picture, or an arrangement of abstract concepts, your brain will do the necessary work if you stay focused, with senses fully alert. When listening for long stretches, concentrate on, and remember, key words and phrases. 
 
When it's your turn to listen, don’t spend the time planning what to say next. You can't rehearse and listen at the same time. Think only about what the other person is saying. 
 
Finally, concentrate on what is being said, even if it bores you. If your thoughts start to wander, immediately force yourself to refocus. 
 
Step 5: Don't interrupt and don't impose your "solutions." 
 
Children used to be taught that it's rude to interrupt. I'm not sure that message is getting across anymore. Certainly the opposite is being modeled on the majority of talk shows and reality programs, where loud, aggressive, in-your-face behavior is condoned, if not encouraged. 
 
Interrupting sends a variety of messages. It says: 
 
"I'm more important than you are." 
"What I have to say is more interesting, accurate or relevant." 
"I don't really care what you think." 
"I don't have time for your opinion." 
"This isn't a conversation, it's a contest, and I'm going to win." 
 
We all think and speak at different rates. If you are a quick thinker and an agile talker, the burden is onyouto relax your pace for the slower, more thoughtful communicator—or for the guy who has trouble expressing himself. 
 
When listening to someone talk about a problem, refrain from suggesting solutions. Most of us don't want your advice anyway. If we do, we'll ask for it. Most of us prefer to figure out our own solutions. We need you to listen and help us do that. Somewhere way down the line, if you are absolutely bursting with a brilliant solution, at least get the speaker's permission. Ask, "Would you like to hear my ideas?" 
 
This video, whilst amusing, gives a simple example of this - It's Not About The Nail 
 
Step 6: Wait for the speaker to pause to ask clarifying questions. 
 
When you don't understand something, of course you should ask the speaker to explain it to you. But rather than interrupt, wait until the speaker pauses. Then say something like, "Back up a second. I didn't understand what you just said about…" 
 
Step 7: Ask questions only to ensure understanding. 
 
At lunch, a colleague is excitedly telling you about her trip to Vermont and all the wonderful things she did and saw. In the course of this chronicle, she mentions that she spent some time with a mutual friend. You jump in with, "Oh, I haven't heard from Alice in ages. How is she?" and, just like that, discussion shifts to Alice and her divorce, and the poor kids, which leads to a comparison of custody laws, and before you know it an hour is gone and Vermont is a distant memory. 
 
This particular conversational affront happens all the time. Our questions lead people in directions that have nothing to do with where they thought they were going. Sometimes we work our way back to the original topic, but very often we don't. 
 
When you notice that your question has led the speaker astray, take responsibility for getting the conversation back on track by saying something like, "It was great to hear about Alice, but tell me more about your adventure in Vermont." 
 
Step 8: Try to feel what the speaker is feeling. 
 
If you feel sad when the person with whom you are talking expresses sadness, joyful when she expresses joy, fearful when she describes her fears—and convey those feelings through your facial expressions and words—then your effectiveness as a listener is assured. Empathy is the heart and soul of good listening. 
 
To experience empathy, you have to put yourself in the other person's place and allow yourself to feel what it is like to be her at that moment. This is not an easy thing to do. It takes energy and concentration. But it is a generous and helpful thing to do, and it facilitates communication like nothing else does. 
 
Not feeling that you have to have the perfect answer or solution is also important. Empathy is what counts. I love this video by Brené Brown that really clearly articulates the differences between empathy and symapthy - Brené Brown Empathy 
 
Step 9: Give the speaker regular feedback. 
 
Show that you understand where the speaker is coming from by reflecting the speaker's feelings. "You must be thrilled!" "What a terrible ordeal for you." "I can see that you are confused." If the speaker's feelings are hidden or unclear, then occasionally paraphrase the content of the message. Or just nod and show your understanding through appropriate facial expressions and an occasional well-timed "hmmm" or "uh huh." 
 
The idea is to give the speaker some proof that you are listening, and that you are following her train of thought—not off indulging in your own fantasies while she talks to the ether. 
 
In task situations, regardless of whether at work or home, always restate instructions and messages to be sure you understand correctly. 
 
Step 10: Pay attention to what isn't said—to nonverbal cues. 
 
If you exclude email, the majority of direct communication is probably nonverbal. We glean a great deal of information about each other without saying a word. Even over the telephone, you can learn almost as much about a person from the tone and cadence of her voice than from anything she says. When I talk to my best friend, it doesn't matter what we chat about, if I hear a lilt and laughter in her voice, I feel reassured that she's doing well. 
 
Face to face with a person, you can detect enthusiasm, boredom, or irritation very quickly in the expression around the eyes, the set of the mouth, the slope of the shoulders. These are clues you can't ignore. When listening, remember that words convey only a fraction of the message.  
 
Free Mental Health courses -  
 
 
Excel 
We often get requests for courses which will improve people’s Excel skills, check here for several options – check which one is appropriate for your level and enquire about concessions if needed. 
 
Food safety Course 
If your work involves food then you will need to ensure that all food handlers are supervised, instructed and trained in food hygiene. Sign up here for a one day course currently being delivered on Zoom but soon will be face to face. Next dates are -  
 
Thursday 20th May 2021 - 09:30am to 04:30pm 
Thursday 15th July 2021 - 09:30am to 04:30pm 
 
To book a course place, please fill in Food Safety Course Booking Form email it to publichealth.licensing@horsham.gov.uk or post it. 
 
 
Mental Health Awareness course - SETAS would like to offer four free places again on our forthcoming half-day MHFA Mental Health Awareness course. It takes place on line and is a four hour course, interactive and is a great overview of mental illnesses, symptoms and how to speak about this important subject. We still have a couple of places on our course at 11:30am - 3:30pm on Friday the 21st of May.  
 
If you're interested, please contact Richard on 07783 222956 or richard.brooks@setas.org.uk  
 
Physical and Mental Health and Wellbeing 
 
Horsham District Wellbeing Team - Click here for information on their services.  
 
Don’t forget that if you are feeling overwhelmed or need help urgently it is very important to get it. The link below will help you find it quickly. 
 
Local new vacancies  
From now on the new vacancies will be uploaded as a pdf, so you can download and save them yourself -  
here are the links for the most recent uploads - click here 
 
One vacancy I would like to highlight is for Billingshurst Parish Council  
They are seeking a 33-hours per week cleansing operative / litter warden. It is ideal for people who like working outside and being left to get on with your job. It is all about keeping Bilingshurst Parish clean and tidy, from the parks, the bins, the road and pathways. Lovely team of people and desperately needed role. Must have a driving licence and a car.  
click here for the Vacancy poster and here for the Job Description 
 
And finally, WISH will be finishing at the end of June, so we'll not be taking on any more people from now, however Horsham District Council will continue with employment support after that via the fabulous new team now in place.  
 
All the information you need can be accessed via this link - horsham employment support 
 
We are doing more online and telephone 1-2-1s, so if you're an existing WISH participant please do get in touch with Richard if you would like some specific support via the email below.  
 
See you soon we hope and please take good care.  
 
Richard and Mel 
 
Richard Brooks FIEP - Director. 
Mobile - 07783 222956 
Office - 01403 627766 
Email - richard.brooks@setas.org.uk 
Specialist Employment, Training and Advice Services 
 
Mel Simmonds 
Mobile – 07855 634679 
Email – simmondsmel@icloud.com 
 
 
SETAS Ltd. Bailey House, 4-10 Barttelot Road, Horsham, RH12 1DQ 
 
https://www.setas.org.uk/ 
 
 
 
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