Pass it On

Mental health issues are very common. One in four of us will have problems with our mental health at some point in our lives and people with learning disabilities are even more likely to develop problems with their mental health.

The Foundation’s Feeling Down guide  is an easy read guide for people with learning disabilities to help them look after their mental health. The Pass-it-on Project is building on this guide by developing mental health training for people with learning disabilities. The training will be developed in partnership with, and then delivered by, people with learning disabilities.

The aim of the ‘Pass-it-on’ project is to increase knowledge about mental health for people with learning disabilities and those who work with and care for them. We are developing a sustainable mental health training programme that will teach people with learning disabilities all about mental health and train them to pass this knowledge on to other people with learning disabilities through Peer Support Groups.

View a stage plan for how the project will work

What is a peer support group?

Peer support groups are groups of people who gather to share common problems and experiences. In a support group people can talk to people like themselves, people who understand what they’re going through and who can provide support and practical insights from their own experience.

When people experience problems with their mental health peer support groups can be a really good way to help them to understand why they may feel a certain way. The people in the group may talk about how they coped when they were in the same position and you may be able to learn from their experiences.

Example

Michelle has been feeling anxious for some time. She attends a mental health peer support group which gives her the opportunity to talk to people who understand how she feels. She hears from members of the group how they manage their own anxiety and she is able to talk about her own difficulties with anxiety.

Brian mentions that he uses breathing exercises to help him calm down, while Tracy talks about how she uses talking therapy to help her to challenge the way she thinks and behaves. Michelle tries these suggestions which help to reduce her anxiety.

Why do we need this project?

Mental health issues are very common. Lots of people will find that at some point in their lives they have problems with their mental health.

  • One in four people will have an issue with their mental health at some point in their life.
  • People with learning disabilities are even more likely to develop poor mental health due to social, economic, psychological and emotional factors. Between 25% and 40% of people with learning disabilities have mental health problems.

Some people with learning disabilities have very little knowledge and understanding about mental health or find that they have not developed the skills to help them cope. This can mean that they don’t know how, or where, to get help. In addition, many people that work in healthcare or in mental health often do not properly understand how mental health issues can affect people with learning disabilities.

The Pass-it-on Project will help people with learning disabilities to better understand what mental health is, how they can stay mentally well, and how they can get support. The project will also help those that work in mental health or with people with learning disabilities to better understand how mental health affects people with learning disabilities, and how they can provide even better support.

How can you get involved?

The training is free and is open to people with learning disabilities, their carers and supporters. The training is also open to anyone studying a subject with links to learning disabilities (such as nursing or social care) at London South Bank University. Training will take place at London South Bank University (close to Elephant & Castle tube station). If you’d like to attend, we’d love to hear from you (contact details below). Dates for training will be added soon.

Who are we working with?

The Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities (part of the Mental Health Foundation) is co-producing the project with people with learning disabilities and with a number of organisations with expertise of training, education and learning disabilities.

London South Bank University – London South Bank University is one of London’s largest and oldest universities. Founded in 1862 it provides vocationally relevant and professionally recognised education. www.lsbu.ac.uk

Choice Support – Choice Support is a national charity supporting people with autism, learning disabilities and mental health needs. www.choicesupport.org.uk

McIntyre – MacIntyre is a national charity that provides support and care for more than 1,500 children, young people and adults who have learning disabilities and/or autism, at more than 150 services across England and Wales. www.macintyrecharity.org

Vibrance – Vibrance is a charity that provides a range of services to adults with a disability across London and the south-east of England. Vibrance currently supports 450 people within their residential, short-breaks, outreach and day services and a further 2,000 people who receive a personal budget. www.vibrance.org.uk

Lewisham Speaking Up – Lewisham Speaking Up is an independent charity for people with learning disabilities that helps people with learning disabilities to get their voice heard. www.lsup.org.uk

Find out more

If you would like more information, please contact David Mahon at [email protected] or on 0207 803 1144.