Dealing with stress is something Temi Oni, a Mental Health Practitioner who supports long term unemployed people through Central London Works Work and Health Programme, does on an almost daily basis. But it's her clients who are experiencing stress and it's advice and guidance from Temi that has helped hundreds of people in Central London deal with the issues that are causing them stress.

Telling the story of one of the people she has recently worked with, Temi says: “A client presented with mental health concerns aggravated by current life challenges and struggles - juggling the stresses of being a single parent and supporting their own relatives as well as being out of work. The main challenge this client faced was acknowledging and accepting the need for help, being a person who was used to providing support for others."

Taking time to understand her client and the issues behind her feelings of stress, Temi started to support by listening to what her client was experiencing. "During our initial health support call they were tearful," says Temi, who acknowledges that it is always an amazing feeling to see a client trust who trusts you enough to show their full emotions. After the initial call, Temi worked with her client to help her understand more about the reasons why we experience stress and the impact it can have on our mental and physical health, as well as what her particular concerns were.

Temi continued to support her client through using SMART goals and action planning sessions to plan a way to address the issues that were causing her stress and she also supported client to self-refer to local IAPT psychological services to access help at the right time. Gradually, the life challenges begun to reduce by working on self-help tools for better self-care.

"On our final appointment, this client presented with bright mood and mentally stability and had recently started applying for Manager roles," says Temi. "They were eager and ready to return back to work. A complete contrast to their initial presentation." 

Central London Works health practitioners measure the impact of their support through systems such as PHQ-9, which is a measurement for depression and GAD-7 anxiety disorder measurement. This client indicated a significant reduction in anxiety and depression as well as a PHQ-9 depression score which dropped from 24 to 7 and GAD-7 measurement from 18 to 4 over the 4 months.