Describe the client e.g. age, gender, ethnicity, special needs etc. and how this person was referred.

The client is a white, British man, 23 years of age. He was a client of the Mental Health services and had self-referred.

Why was this client referred?

The client wanted support with diet, weight loss and exercise.

How did you help this person and what worked well?

It was important from the start for the client to prioritise the issues so that we could set an achievable action plan with realistic goals. First priority, as identified by the client, was to start to eat more healthily and to lose weight. Filling in a food diary and recording his daily alcohol intake allowed him to see his consumption and make changes. The client then wore a pedometer to increase his exercise and encourage weight loss.

What difficulties did you have and how did you overcome them?

It became apparent that lack of confidence, family and money issues had in the past prevented the client achieving his aims. Money was an issue for going to the gym but he was eligible to claim Passport to Leisure and did so. Alcohol and recreational drugs affected his judgement around food (both parents are alcoholics) so I referred him into an alcohol support service. We looked at calories in food and drink and explored new recipes. He was never up in a morning to have breakfast or have healthy lunches, owing to excessive alcohol consumption the night before, so these were tackled next, building up over the weeks to three healthy meals a day. Money was in short supply so it was necessary to eat healthily but cheaply e.g. batch cooking, planning week’s menus in advance etc. We worked out a budget and the client found the assertiveness to refuse to lend his food money to family which in the past had always left him short. His confidence grew with each achievement and he responded well to praise and encouragement. The client identified that his efforts were sabotaged by family members so the client’s next goal was to find ways to deal with this and we looked at phrases he could use and how not to respond. As he was the sole carer for his Grandma he looked at ways of getting help with that, and so allowing free time to have activities outside the home. These included training as a walk leader, cook and eat sessions and volunteering (with support from the Volunteer Mentoring Service) at a community centre.

What did this person achieve, including changes to their lifestyle?

  • Total weight loss of 2st 10 lbs (which has been maintained for the last 8 months)
  • A routine of regular exercise
  • How to eat healthily
  • Alcohol consumption at a safe level and nil drug use
  • How to do a general budget
  • Confidence to refute negative comments from family
  • Has conveyed what he has learned to his parents
  • Improved relationship within family
  • Client now out of debt
  • Volunteering with confidence at Community Centre
  • Recognition that he is in control of his own life

What did you learn from helping this person? What would you do differently next time?

I learned that issues are often inter-linked and resolving one issue can depend on tackling another. Some clients need a lot of time to achieve their ultimate goal so small goals are essential to build up confidence

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