East Dunbartonshire Connections Service: Frequently Asked Questions

Why do we ask for a risk assessment?

It is The Richmond Fellowship Scotland policy to seek risk assessment information for anyone wishing to access one of their services.  We usually ask your GP as they are the most likely person to hold details of the information needed. 

Giving your consent for us to contact your GP (or other professional) does NOT grant us access to your medical file.  We ask the GP to disclose any information which may have some impact or could affect the type of support we provide.  For example physical or psychological difficulties which we would need to take into consideration prior to commencing support.

We do this to ensure your health and safety (as far as practicable) whilst you are accessing the service.  This is not used to exclude anyone from the service. 

If you have any concerns or queries regarding this, please do not hesitate to contact us.

What can you offer me?

One to one support-

If you choose one to one support, you will be allocated a key-worker. They can assist you in choosing which support is most appropriate for your specific needs.

Within one to one support we offer the following:

Practical - Support with life skills (e.g. budget plans, planning activities).

Social -Support to relieve social isolation and loneliness, reduce social exclusion, build confidence and increase social skills.

Educational - Support to gain information and advice on areas of interest, increasing awareness of resources within the community. Identify opportunities for learning or employment.

Emotional - The opportunity to share your feelings in a safe and confidential environment and build on life and coping skills.

Self help - using structured programmes to understand and challenge anxiety, depression, and other common emotional difficulties. Support to work through self-help with your key-worker if you wish.

Groups- An opportunity to experience educational and recreational groupwork to reduce stress, meet new people and have fun. When we experience anxiety or depression it can affect our confidence, and mixing with others can be difficult. We offer the chance to meet other people in a relaxed, supportive environment. These are not support groups where people are encouraged to talk about difficulties. We try to ensure the groups are fairly light-hearted and enjoyable. You will not be expected to talk if you aren’t comfortable doing so. Just come along and take part. You can be confident that everyone else in the group is experiencing similar issues to yourself. Realising you’re not alone in your feelings can be comforting when you’re feeling distressed.  Experiencing  new things is good for our confidence and can make a big difference in how we feel about ourselves and others.

Examples of groups that may be offered include:

  • Relaxation group.
  • Drumming group.
  • Walking group.
  • Confidence building through Drama group.
  • T'ai Chi group
  • Yoga group
  • Stress & Wellbeing class

These groups may be subject to change depending on availability.

We also offer four appointments of Reiki with a qualified practitioner. 

Reiki is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing. It is not massage nor is it based on belief or suggestion. The session is performed by a Reiki Practitioner, with the goal of improving the flow of energy in a person. During a Reiki session, the client is fully clothed while comfortably reclining on a massage table or seated in a chair. Reiki is offered through light, non-invasive touch with the practitioners hands placed on or over a series of locations on the head and front and back of the torso. Reiki may be experienced as a flow of energy, mild tingling, warmth, coolness, other sensations or nothing at all. A Reiki session can aid in stress reduction and it is almost always a very relaxing experience. 

How long does support last?

For one to one support you will be offered twelve appointments which will be structured towards a specific personalised goal. Each appointment is usually an hour long but these can be longer if necessary. We will work with you to tailor the support to your needs. Groups last between 4 and 8 weeks.

Will anyone else know if I’ve been getting help from you?

No, not unless you want to tell people. Support is completely confidential. With your consent we will  write a brief letter to your G.P. and/ or other referrer to inform them support has started, and again when support is concluded.

Are you part of the NHS?

No. Our service is part of The Richmond Fellowship Scotland, one of the largest social care providers in Scotland and a registered charity. However, we do work with NHS East Dunbartonshire Primary Care Mental Health Team.

How many people use the service?

You’d be surprised! “Common” mental health problems are far more common than many people realise. Most people will experience some sort of mental health difficulty at some point in their life.

Is it free?

Yes, it is absolutely free to use our service. We are funded by East Dunbartonshire Council.

What have people you’ve helped said? 

“A most excellent service. The team have done a brill job with me and I am moving on in life and back to work etc so a success all round.”

“Really impressed with the range of services offered. I thought I needed a boost to my self-confidence and that is exactly what I have received. Can’t recommend the service highly enough.”

“It was very helpful to be able to discuss my feelings with an independent non-judgemental person. The encouragement I was given was very helpful.”

“My visits to your office opened up a whole new range of activities for me to pursue. Many thanks to my support worker for all their efforts on my behalf.”

"I feel it has certainly helped in getting me back to feeling good about things again whilst dealing with what I saw as a major change in my life.”

"Very grateful for support during a difficult time, particularly from a patient and understanding support worker who helped me keep my problems in perspective.”

“This excellent service has allowed me to gain confidence in myself and begin to interact with other people and the outside environment. I wish all concerned in this service to carry on with their wonderful work.”

“I have really gained from learning the relaxation techniques. I am more confident. I make time for myself now.”

“I found the service a great help and it has helped me in my work and personal life."

“I think I am looking forward to my future more.”

“In my view this service has been key to helping myself recover, deal with and build my life back together. I feel I still have a bit of work to do to fully recover, however to come how far I have in the space of a short time is remarkable.”

“Connections was an absolute lifesaver for me. All staff members were extremely friendly, helpful & knowledgeable. I felt able to be open about my difficulties and wasn’t judged. All the groups I attended helped me step by step to regain some degree of control over my mental health and wellbeing."

"Connections service kept me alive through a particularly difficult period in my life. This is not an understatement. I believe if it had not been for the whole team I would have become isolated, reclusive and increasingly depressed to the point of removing myself from this life. I felt able to liaise with the individual members of the team at the groups I attended and all were able and willing to offer me support even although I wasn’t their client as such."

"You have opened my mind to try things that are different e.g. drama, drumming & now attend a choir. This is something I would never have tried before.”

“I was recommended to get in touch and I’m glad I did because I needed to get out and about and someone to talk to and also the information they can supply about different help and groups out there.”

“I think it’s a fantastic service! I would strongly recommend it to anyone who asked my opinion on it now that I’ve been”.

And from professionals:

"Connections is such a beneficial service that offers a variety of interventions for common mental health problems.  The team are helpful and approachable and are an asset to the local community and Primary Care Mental Health Team" - Carol Livingston. Mental Health Practitioner, Primary Care Mental Health Team.

“This is a high performing service which puts service users at the heart of practice and adapts support around the individual needs of each service user. The long-term staff team work effectively together to provide the best outcomes for people supported including supporting people to develop social support networks and learn about opportunities available to them in their local community and beyond.” Care Inspectorate report. March 2016. Connections service was awarded a 6 (excellent) grading.

How do I access your service?

You can contact us directly by phone, letter or e-mail. Alternatively, you can call into our office for an informal chat.

You can also be referred by you Doctor, other professional, family member etc with your consent.

What happens after you receive my referral form?

We will arrange to meet with you to discuss your support needs in more detail and give you more information about our service. In the event that Connections is not able to meet your requirements we will do all we can to help you arrange for support elsewhere.

Why is support short-term?

People we support have the type of issues that can usually be helped with a brief period of help. The supports offered are suitable for people with mild to moderate depression/ anxiety and are aimed at helping you recover and get on with your life. Because support is short-term we do not have a waiting list and you can be seen almost immediately.