Mental Health and Diabetes – Can Technology Help?


It is widely known that people with severe mental health illnesses have a higher probability of developing diabetes. Also they are about 2 or 3 times more likely to die from diabetes than the general population. Finding ways to reduce the risks associated with diabetes in people with mental health illnesses is crucial. This is an area where technology can help. With the combination of the internet, wireless gadgets and the internet, health tech has become a growth area that is helping to improve people’s quality of life. One of such innovations in the area of diabetes is the Diabetes Patch. I first saw the pacth being used by a work colleague a couple of days before I was due to deliver a short training session on (you guessed it!) diabetes and mental health illness. The colleague told me how she uses the patch to monitor her blood sugar level. I designed to do a google serach to learn more about the patch and found a daily mail article that explains how the patch works.

diabetes tech

The patch includes a sensor which reads data on blood sugar levels from cells just below the skin. The data can then be collected by swiping the sensor with a wireless digital reader using oyster-cardlike technology. You can read the full article here. What if we could use this technology for people with mental health illnesses to support them to track their blood sugar levels in an easier way and more frequently. I think it would certainly be preferable to using needles to draw blood for testing. While this technology might not work for everyone, for those it can work for, it will be a worthwhile investment.



Food and Mental Health

Supporting people with their nutrition is one of the most important nonclinical aspects of mental health support, but that support can only happen if we know enough about nutrition in the first place and how it relates to mental health. The Mental Health Foundation has puttogether a brilliant guide titled, Food for thought: mental health and nutrition briefing.

In this guide you will read about:

  • the relationship between nutrition and mental health,
  • dietary recommendations,
  • protective factors for mental health,
  • risk factors for mental health,
  • the role of food in preventing mental health problems,
  • and  more.

The information in this guide is simple and straightforward and I will love to use it to design a simple 2 to 3 hour training course, so look out for that. But if you are a team or person supporting people with mental health conditions in a nonclinical capacity then you should get and read this guide. You can download a copy from the mental Health Foundation’s website here.

Larry Does Learning – Brian I Got The Job! Part 1

This is the first post for Larry, a fictional learning and development manager who just started working at Ace Care, a health and social care organisation that supports people with mental health support needs.

Larry punched Brian’s number into his phone. When he heard, ‘hello’ on the other end, he screamed into the phone, ‘Brian I got the job, I got the job!’ ‘I’m glad to hear, that’s really good news. Well done.’ Replied Brian. He asked, ‘when do you start?’ ‘You won’t believe it, I start this coming Monday,’ ‘Why so quick?’ asked Brian. ‘The company wanted someone as soon as possible and since I still have four weeks annual leave, I decided to use it as my leaving notice period.’ ‘Smart one Larry, you get paid two salaries in one month.’ Larry laughed at Brian’s comment and said, ‘we need to meet and celebrate and I need to thank you for prompting me to go for the job and coaching me through the interview process. Can we meet this Friday?’ ‘Hmmm, I don’t think so. I’ve got a couple of meetings with customers and tight deadlines to meet, but I can see you next Wednesday. Is that okay?’ ‘Sure Brian, it’s Wednesday then.’ They both said good bye to each other and dropped their phones. When Larry came off the phone he had a smile on his face. He was glad that he’d finally landed a learning and development manager job. He started out as a training administrator, then a trainer which was followed by three learning and development advisor roles and now he was going to be a manager. While he was excited at this new prospect, he was also quite scared. He had done a bit of team leading, but nothing close to the management responsibilities on this new job. He will be needing Brian’s help a lot.

The depression quiz

Depression quiz

At last month’s team meeting Ola told his team they will be focusing on depression during the next two meetings. While the learning activity for this meeting will be done through a quiz, the one for next month’s meeting will be a word-search activity. Ola also introduced an extra twist to the learning sessions which is an element of gamification. Ola has created two small groups which will compete against each other on the challenges. The group that scores more on the activity will get a prize and he has created a leaderboard to monitor each group’s performance. Continue reading

Gamifying micro-team learning


Ola has been developing his team for a while using short activities during team meetings and this has been successful because the activities are short, engaging and include an element of competition. To implement the activities Ola will usually split his team of six people into two smaller groups and get them to work on a learning activity and then give feedback. He’s decided to introduce an extra challenge. From now on the team that does better on the learning activity will get a prize. Continue reading

What Type of Schizophrenia

yosh-ginsu-146177If you’ve read the previous posts you might remember Ola, a Supported-Living Manager at Exeter House. Ola manages a team of care and support-related workers who support a number of people with schizophrenia and other mental health conditions. Ola is very keen to ensure his team have good knowledge of mental health as he believes it will help them engage better and consequently support the people they work with more effectively. He has started running bite-sized training sessions with his team and the topic he’s been focusing on is schizophrenia. His first session involved a quiz which was used to give his team a greater awareness of schizophrenia. You can read about that session here. Continue reading

The Ten Components of Recovery

10 components

I’ve been working on designing a short training session on recovery-focused communication for support-related workers who work with people in mostly supported living accommodation. While doing my research I came across a useful documents which highlights the ten components of recovery. The resource is bite-sized covering all ten components in just two pages. The ten components of recovery listed are:

  1. Self-direction
  2. Individualized and person-centered
  3. Empowerment
  4. Holistic
  5. Non-linear
  6. Strength-based
  7. Peer support
  8. Respect
  9. Responsibility
  10. Hope

Click here to access the resource.

Bipolar Quiz


Soji works with a team of carers who support people that have various types of mental health conditions. The people being supported live with the carers. The carers do a great job of integrating the people they support into their own families and help them to live a better life with the aim of preventing them from going back to hospital and preparing them to be independent to live on their own. But the carers also need more support. Most of them don’t know enough about mental health and they are not given enough training either. Soji has decided to provide some support to them around mental health awareness in bite-size chunks. Continue reading

Reading Up On Motivational Interviewing


Earlier on when I started working as a learning and development advisor in a health and social care organisation supporting people with with mental health illnesses I attended a training course to learn about a recovery focused tool called recovery star. To implement the recovery star effectively we were also taken through what motivational interviewing (MI) is and how to use it with people. The group of us who attended the training were managers and people who would be involved in delivering training. Continue reading

Why Mental Health Support Related Staff Need Good Medication Awareness


Ahmed lives in supported living accommodation because he has a diagnosis of bipolar. He uses a combination of Lithium and Valproate medication which works for him, but he has to constantly monitor his blood to ensure that he has the right balance of the medicine in his body so as to manage any possible side-effects.

Angela his key worker can’t understand what all the fuss about monitoring Ahmed’s medication is about. As far as she is concerned, he must comply with his medication to keep him well and attend his blood checks as required. Ahmed knows that Angela doesn’t really understand his medication and wished that sometimes he could talk with Angela about the challenges he has with medication. That would be very helpful for him. Continue reading