Run by Patients for Patients

Suffolk Wellbeing – your wellbeing in mind by Veronica 22.11.13


The Suffolk Wellbeing Service is a service designed to enable people in Suffolk to experience improved emotional wellbeing  and promote early recovery from emotional health problems e.g. low mood, stress and anxiety.  Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) has now become Suffolk Wellbeing. The service also includes Norfolk & Suffolk Foundation Trust Clinical Link Workers and is joined by partner organisations from the third sector (voluntary and charitable organisations).

 Mentis Tree CIC, The Shaw Trust, VoiceAbility, Mind, Big White Wall, Suffolk Family Carers and 4YP who altogether will provide a support for people in Suffolk who want to experience improved emotional wellbeing.`


The service Wellbeing Service offers a range of services, resources, support and brief intervention to people who feel ready to make change to improve their emotional wellbeing and learn to manage stress, anxiety and depression. You will receive support that is right for you i.e. brief therapy groups, peer support and friendship schemes, one-to-one support and access to other specialist services.  Find out more information and access to services at or ring -0300 123 1781.


For most of us there are times in our lives when we feel stressed, anxious and depressed and find it difficult to cope, sometimes these feelings become overwhelming that they affect our daily lives and prevent us from doing the things we enjoy. You might think that nobody understands you and that nothing can be done, but if you are ready to change the Wellbeing Service can help you to cope through a range of different support options appropriate to your needs. If you feel you are suffering from anxiety depression or any other mental health problem, you can self-refer to the IAPT team in your area on 0300 123 1781.Find out more at  Early support will enable you to understand why you feel like you do, discover what it is you would like to change and take steps to manage your own emotional wellbeing.


Good physical health is essential to mental wellbeing. The term ‘holistic’ care refers to caring for the whole person in terms of their physical, psychological, social and spiritual needs.

On Friday 22nd November Veronica , a Wellbeing Co-ordinator gave a presentation to the group of The Wellbeing Service and explained that:-

·         This is a Primary Care service for people experiencing mild to moderate symptoms of many mental health problems including anxiety, depression and phobias.


·         There are Wellbeing Workshops which include wellbeing, healthy living, sleep, problem solving, relaxation, motivation, happiness, creative workshop.  These are one off pyscho- educational sessions and open to anyone aged 17 and above.


·         Available Interventions include (step 2) Stress control classes, long term conditions groups, guided self-help, anxiety management groups, behavioural activation groups (step 3) mindfulness groups, short term face to face CBT, CAT, brief counselling sessions, CBT groups.


This is an overview of the relaxation workshop                                                            

What happens after referral

·         Assessment completed by phone or face to face

·         Outcome of assessment and recommended options discussed with you

·         Treatment commences, advised if on waiting list

·         If your needs cannot be met by the service you may be transferred to other mental health service or partner organisation

·         The referrer will be informed in writing as to the outcome and what is planned and also when the case is closed.




       To understand the links between our thinking, behaviour, feelings and body

To normalise and gain a better understanding of stress

To learn and practice tried and tested techniques for relaxation.

Fight or Flight response

Eyes – pupils dilate

Lungs – quick, deep breathing occurs

Bowel – food movement slows down

Blood vessels – blood pressure increases as major vessels dilate

Muscles – become more tense: trembling can occur

Stomach – output of digestive enzymes decreases

Heart – beats faster and harder

Skin – blood vessels constrict: chills and sweating

Saliva – flow decreases

Vicious Cycle of Stress

Thoughts – I can’t cope, I don’t have enough time, I’ll never finish, I must get this done

Emotions – Stress, anxiety, anger

Physical Response – Tense, headache, can’t concentrate, forgetful, breathing faster, bladder/bowel problems

Behaviour – More demands on me and my time, rushing about, arguing, crying, sleep disturbances.

Why do we Experience Stress

To behave effectively, you need a certain amount of information about the world. If you have not acquired enough information from your past experiences, or if you cannot access this information, you may be stuck and not know how to act. This is when some of us freeze when having to deal with computers or when confronted with death.

Too much information can have the same effect especially in modern societies flooded by information from all directions, bits of information; conversations, news, social media, adverts and messages. We have not learned where to slot all of this information and therefore this can lead to feeling helpless and overwhelmed.


It is important to be able to recognise when you are tense and/or stressed

Close your eyes, and try to identify areas of your body where you feel tension.




Recognising Stress

Body language: clenching/teeth grinding, hunched/tensed shoulders, holding things too tightly/fiddling with things

Physical symptoms:  over-breathing, heart racing, muscle pain, tension headaches, sweating, difficulty swallowing, faintness, dizziness


Relaxation Response

What happens when the relaxation response is activated?

Muscles relax = brain releases endorphins

Decreased blood pressure

Decreased breathing rate

Increased body temperature (esp. extremities such as hands and feet)

Decreased muscle tension

How Relaxation can help

Reduces tiredness

Improves performance

Reduces pain – pain can occur as a result of tension e.g. headaches and backache. Relaxation can help you to cope with this better

Coping with stress – helps you breathe effectively

Improves sleep – allowing you to be calm and peaceful

Improves self-confidence – increases self-awareness and ability to cope with daily life

Improves personal relationships – easier to relate well to other people when relaxed and self-confident.

Abdominal Breathing

When anxious we all breathe faster with shorter breaths to get more oxygen – fight/flight response

Over- breathing disrupts the oxygen-carbon dioxide balance in the bloodstream causing unpleasant physical symptoms such as light-headedness and dizziness. Our chests may feel tight

Abdominal breathing can help develop a habit of breathing gently and evenly through the nose, fliling the lungs completely and exhaling fully.

Guided Imagery

Visualisation technique to help your body get into a relaxed state

May be useful to distract from pain

Imagery is considered to be more effective when we are feeling relaxed

Mainly involves imagining a peaceful scene where you feel safe and rested.




Progressive Muscle Relation

Involves alternately tensing and relaxing muscle groups to achieve a greater state of relaxation than would be achieved by relaxation alone

Useful in anxiety disorders, sleep problems, muscle tension and stress

Caution: If your muscles are sore or if you have an injury to any body part or experience pain, stop and consult your doctor.


Means paying attention in a particular way: On purpose; In the present moment; Non –judgmentally

E.g. Noticing sensations, textures, smell from outside and within us. Mindful walking, mindful breathing and mindful emotions.

Increases our awareness, clarity and acceptance of our present-moment reality.

Smart Goals

       Specific (e.g. do it at a certain time or place)

Measurable (e.g. see how you feel before and after relaxation)

Achievable (e.g. ensure that your current frustrations have been worked out before attempting the relaxation methods)

Realistic (e.g. keep in mind time constraints, lifestyle, health, etc.)

Time structured (e.g. 3 times a week for 20 minutes)

At the end of the presentation Veronica did a taster relaxation session about an ‘Old Cherokee teaching his grandson about life’ (see copy attached + some relaxation tips) Hand-outs on the full workshop, which this is an overview of, were available for people to take away.

Veronica thanks the group for the invitation and for being welcoming, listening so attentively and participating fully in the relaxation exercise.


If anyone is interested in booking a place ring 01284 733100 and ask for Rob or Bryony (West Suffolk) or 01473 296110 and ask for Veronica (East Suffolk).













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