Issue 20

Symptom Management Group (Update)

As some of you may be aware the first full course of the Symptom Management Group (SMG) was successfully completed at the end of July this year. The course is facilitated by myself, Huw Price, Grace Elms and Geoff Barry and aims to address a range of issues associated with living with psychosis. The second course aims to start in the middle of October and will look at issues such as common experiences and symptoms of psychosis, the role of medication, the impact of stress, relapse prevention, coping strategies and coping with psychosis in the community after discharge.

The group is very informal and I think that the participants of the first group will agree that with plenty of tea, coffee and biscuits, the sessions are relaxed and easy going. During the course participants are asked to complete some short assessments, which assess their knowledge and understanding of mental illness before and after completion of the group. These assessments help us to see whether the information from the group has had any impact on the participants.

I feel that the success of the first group is hugely down to the motivation and enthusiasm of those attending the group and in particular the amount of participation of group members during the discussions. This allowed for many of the group to share their personal experience of mental illness in confidence as well as exploring their ambitions and fears for the future. During the sessions group members also found that their symptoms of mental illness were common and that they were not alone in their experiences of psychosis.

During the last session the group completed a quiz in teams (much like quiz night in the café, with as much competitiveness), answering questions on the various topics covered over the eight sessions. Everyone did really well and many prizes were won. I would like to thank all of those who attended the first course, not only for their enthusiasm to complete the course, but also for the positive reviews of the sessions that they have given to other patients in the clinic.

The second course in October will be slightly different in that it will run in two modules to allow for the Christmas break and those who have been referred for the sessions will soon be receiving information about the course. If at anytime anyone would like more information on the course then please do not hesitate to contact either myself or Huw on Cardigan Ward, Grace on Tenby ward or Geoff.

by Heidi Sinclair