Orbit has been awarded £50,000 in National Lottery funding to support its work with customers who are experiencing difficulties with their mental health, which has seen demand soar during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Orbit has used the money to enhance its Breathing Space service, which offers free confidential mental health support and guidance to customers by phone, text, or digitally.
Breathing Space aims to prevent mental health problems occurring, or worsening, by tackling the causes rather than dealing with the consequences.
Orbit’s goal is to support its customers to be in control of their lives and feel empowered to contribute to their local community and wider society.
The new National Lottery Community Fund, which distributes money raised by National Lottery players for good causes and is the largest community funder in the UK, expanded the capabilities of Orbit’s existing Breathing Space programme, with increased demand for mental health professionals to deal with a surge in referrals throughout the pandemic.
Between October and March 2021, the National Lottery Community Fund helped support 99 customers to improve their mental wellbeing through the Breathing Space programme.
Anyone can refer an Orbit customer to this service, with their consent, and customers can also self-refer.
Trudy O’Brien, Mental Health Programme lead at Orbit, said: “We are delighted that the National Lottery Community Fund has recognised the work we are doing to support our customers.
“This £50,000 will allow us to grow the capacity of our service ensuring our customers and communities are supported and can improve their mental wellbeing.
“This investment will reduce waiting times for customers and help tackle mental health issues in our communities.”
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Sarah was referred to the Breathing Space service after struggling to cope with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
She said: “When I first talked to the Breathing Space team, I was struggling really badly with anxiety and depression and my panic attacks were so bad – I was in and out of hospital.
“Since accessing the Breathing Space service, I am no longer having to go to hospital for my mental health. I am taking my medication properly and I have techniques to use.
“It’s not just my mental health – I am more inclined to take a shower or bath and I am eating better. I am even going to the shop and think I will go out more in the summer.
“Breathing Space are always there to listen and give coping strategies; they know a lot about how to tackle anxiety.”
Image: KATTY ELIZAROVA/Shutterstock
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