The concept of wellbeing is steadily gaining pace as best practice in many areas of employment, education and public health. Wellbeing comprises of a person’s experience of their life, and a comparison of life circumstances with social norms and values. Wellbeing, however, exists in two dimensions, subjective and objective. Subjective wellbeing focuses on how people feel about their own life and wellbeing. This is important because it relates to meaningful life satisfaction. Objective wellbeing, on the other hand, is based on assumptions about basic human needs and rights, including aspects such as adequate food, physical health, education and safety. Objective and subjective dimensions are separate entities that normally bear little or no relationship to one another, and are usually measured separately.
There is recognition by the Government that a radical shift is required to tackle public health challenges, much of which are driven by poor lifestyle and poverty. At ClementJames, we have also discovered that a significant number of local people accessing our services have minor mental health problems, such as anxiety and depression, and struggle with a range of issues affecting their sense of wellbeing. The introduction of the Wellbeing Clinic at our centre seeks to have a positive impact on individual subjective wellbeing and is a new strategy in supporting the local community.
The idea to introduce a wellbeing clinic at ClementJames was sparked thanks to Rose, one of our IntoWork clients who is a qualified health and wellbeing practitioner with a wealth of experience. As Rose was looking for new opportunities and the centre was exploring new ways to improve local people’s wellbeing, it seemed like a perfect match and we supported Rose in setting up wellbeing services at the centre. The clinic was piloted for six weeks in April and May 2016 and was open once a week. The sessions included NADA ear acupuncture, SCENAR (Self Controlled Energo Neuro Adaptive Regulator therapy), deep tissue massage, hand, head or feet massage, wellbeing coaching, relaxation techniques and meditation. A total of 121 visits were recorded to the clinic during the trial period. Fees charged for appointments (£5 for one-to-one, £1 for group sessions) were re-invested in materials and resources.
The Personal Wellbeing Index (PWI) was used as the bench mark questionnaire and issued to participants to complete during their first session. The form was used again at the end of the pilot, with four additional questions to capture specific detail regarding health and state of mind changes, how the service could be improved, and items participants would like to see provided to improve their wellbeing. When participants were asked about changes to their health, state of mind or how they feel about life, many responded that they felt more relaxed, calmer and less stressed. People also remarked that they slept better and felt more at peace, whilst others had noticed a spike in energy and felt better able to get on with everyday tasks.
The pilot wellbeing clinic was a great success, as sessions were well attended and clients reported subjective positive health and wellbeing experiences as a result. The clinic provided a positive community atmosphere which was described by one participant as a ‘safe haven’. ‘More!’ was the key message from participants when asked how the service could be improved, and we have therefore decided to re-instate the wellbeing clinic for at least another 12 months. Rose will continue her weekly Tuesday sessions as a ClementJames employee and offer additional sessions on Thursdays on a voluntary basis. We would like to thank her for all her enthusiasm, professionalism and commitment and look forward to developing the clinic with her in the months to come.