Ruth Melling, Social Prescribing Link Worker at Care Merseyside, tells us what its really like to be a Link Worker

TO CELEBRATE #LINKWORKERDAY2020, WE’VE BEEN ASKING LINK WORKERS ALL AROUND THE UK AND IRELAND, WHAT IT’S LIKE TO BE A LINK WORKER AND WHY THEY LOVE THEIR JOB. IN TODAY’S BLOG, RUTH MELLING, SOCIAL PRESCRIBING LINK WORKER AT CARE MERSEYSIDE SHINES A LIGHT ON WHAT’S ITS REALLY LIKE.

Being a Social Prescribing Link Worker is honestly one of the most rewarding jobs I have ever had. I feel so very proud of every single one of our clients.

Taking the first step in recognising that you want to make a change to your life is often the hardest step to make. Asking for help can be so very difficult and when I speak with clients who are in a dark place, I feel an amazing sense of pride knowing that they have come to look for help and want to change their lives.

Life is so very busy at this time and we all have so many pressures both internal and external and it can become so stressful. When our body and mind takes as much as we can take, we need a release, we need support and we need kindness. I often use the Jug analogy, if we imagine all of the daily pressures and tasks that we internally process are a gush of water filling the jug, it wouldn’t take long for the jug to fill. Without effective coping mechanisms and ways of expelling thoughts/ pressure, the jug will over fill. Leaving you feeling overwhelmed and unable to cope and unable to know where to turn first.

As a social prescriber, we are able to offer a level of clarity, due to our insight into the local support networks. In collaboration with the client we are able to create a support plan that aims to meet their needs. Helping a client build coping mechanisms is essential in improving a person’s self awareness and self management of their perceived problems. Through prescribed activity and support we can build those coping strategies – whether that be talking, breathing techniques, relaxation, art, drama or singing.

The client’s needs are at the forefront of all that we do…finding out what is meaningful and important to a client means we can select appropriate activities and support services. This is actually my favourite part of my role. Chatting to clients about their lives, finding out what makes them tick, finding out what they do, or do not like – building a therapeutic relationship that often feels more like friendship.

The most rewarding thing about being a link worker is seeing the change in people after a few weeks/months of intervention. Obviously with the current COVID restrictions, we have been unable to see people face to face but even over the phone I can feel and listen to the positive change. Change that seemed impossible to the person when we first made contact.

Knowing that we can help anyone who comes to us – connecting them with specialist services and activities – really does make link working an invaluable tool with helping people feel better about life.

I feel so very privileged and lucky to be a link worker and in particular a link worker for a wonderful charity, Care Merseyside, who’s main aim is to improve the quality of life of those within the local community.

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Jennifer and Leeann

Someone’s health and wellbeing can be affected by where they live, what they do for a living, their income or their early childhood background experiences. This in turn leads to some stark, and often avoidable health differences.

We founded Elemental to play an active part in halting health inequalities through the social prescribing movement. Our technology helps communities to be better connected, build resilience and bring real precision to the measurement of the impact of community investment.

We work with organisations that want to continue to invest in their communities but want to be much better at measuring impact and outcomes.

We believe this is a powerful route out of health inequality.

CEO & Co-Founder, Jennifer Neff
COO & Co-Founder, Leeann Monk-Ozgul

Jennifer and Leeann

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