Help available for adults with long-term physical or mental health conditions

Adults with long-term physical or mental health conditions are being invited to sign up for a free online course designed to help them improve the management of their symptoms. 

The Living Well Programme, provided by Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust, is open to anyone aged 18 or over who has been living with a long-term condition for at least six months. 

Their conditions may include heart disease, asthma, Multiple Sclerosis (MS), depression, anxiety, arthritis, Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) or Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). 

The course is provided by two trained volunteer tutors, who themselves are living with long-term health conditions, and involves six weekly sessions, each lasting between two and two-and-a-half hours. 

With participants setting their own goals, the course covers topics including symptom management, problem-solving, exercise, communication skills, sleep, dealing with difficult emotions and decision-making skills. 

Feedback has shown that six months after completing the course, people have improved energy, confidence, quality of life and psychological wellbeing. 

One participant’s verdict was: “An excellent course, delivered professionally and very supportive in every way - thank you.” 

Another said: “A heartfelt ‘thank you’ to the tutors who have helped me gain my life back and the confidence to look forward to a much more fulfilled life.” 

The Trust, which moved the course online following the first lockdown last year, has since run 15 courses online (via the Microsoft Teams video-conferencing software) and is running five more over the summer. They will be held: 

  • Every Thursday from 24 June until 29 July 2021, 10am-12pm;
  • Every Tuesday from 6 July until 10 August 2021, 2pm-4pm;
  • Every Wednesday from 4 August until 8 September 2021, 10am-12pm;
  • Every Friday from 27 August until 1 October 2021, 10am-12pm;
  • Every Monday from 6 September until 11 October 2021, 10am-12pm. 

To sign up for the course, please email sc-tr.livingwell@nhs.net or call 01273 267545 or 01403 620448. 

Face-to-face courses will also be provided when conditions allow. 

The Trust is also appealing for people who have completed the Living Well course to help deliver the sessions by training to become volunteer tutors at a course scheduled to be held on the following dates this August: 

Tuesday 3, Wednesday 4, Tuesday 10, Wednesday 11 and Tuesday 17 August. 

Volunteers will be able to choose whether they train to deliver the online course (four days’ training), the community face-to-face course (four days’ training), or both versions (five days’ training). 

Afterwards, volunteers will be asked to deliver an average of two courses each year, although some may provide more. 

By doing so, they will boost their confidence, learn new skills, meet other people, and help themselves while helping others. 

Further information is available here on the Trust website, which also includes an application form for anyone interested in becoming a volunteer tutor.

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