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Innovation Award final...

Innovation Award finalist 2023 - Headway Southampton Main Image

Innovation Award finalist 2023 - Headway Southampton

Thu 09 Nov 2023

DIRECT Service

A service offering one to one and group support to aid understanding of brain injury and to combat isolation

The new DIRECT service is a service that has sought to take the lessons from lockdown support and use it to be able to reach and support brain injury survivors and their families, especially those that live in rural settings and can often feel isolated.

This has taken the form of digital training in both groups and one to one settings, working with local libraries to provide digital access and five regular weekly zoom sessions to develop an online sense of community. These can range from fun sessions through to cognitive workshops and support groups, linking to hospital and rehab units. It also provides online counselling for service users, their families as well as Headway staff, one to one support with Headway staff who have been trained in mental health support and care support groups helping care givers connect.

What’s the impact?

Over the year, the service has provided 178 one to one mentoring sessions that have helped service users claim benefits, as well as fill out forms, sign post to other services, helped to set up online banking and shopping facilities, helped with financial budgeting and legal enquiries as well as family liaison activities. It has also helped to connect service users and carers with other people in similar positions to create peer to peer support.

Over the year, the service has provided 146 Digital Awareness Training sessions, helping service users connect to the digital world as well as take part in safety training around online activity. This has included using digital support to negate the effects of a brain injury, including using Alexa devices to help remember appointments and when to take medication. Libraries in isolated locations have also been contacted and given equipment and training to help service users in that area get to the online activities.

The service has hosted 245 zoom sessions attended by 946 people over the year. These have helped to build and develop online support communities as well as peer to peer friendships. These have included sessions that have been accessed by neurological wards at Southampton General hospital where patients have been able to interact with survivors who are further along the recovery pathway. It has also helped service users to connect outside of the service and build friendships.

Over the year 114 counselling sessions have been provided to service users, their families and also staff at Headway who are having to deal with difficult situations while at work. This has helped with families who are having to deal with a family member with a new ABI, as well as survivors who are coming to terms with their injury. Staff have also accessed the service to help them deal with traumatic events including the death of a much-loved service user, as well as the effects of working with and emotionally supporting survivors who are going through very difficult events.

"The service has helped me gain the confidence to engage with the world around me. I no longer feel isolated and alone."
"I find it awkward to ask friends to help on a regular basis, and some of them don't understand what's going on. DIRECT helps me to understand things better and make me feel comfortable about asking for help. This is really important for me, and I appreciate it so much".
"You've transformed this Headway group”

Find out more about Headway Southampton on their website.


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Headway - the brain injury association is registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales (Charity no. 1025852) and the Office of the Scottish Regulator (Charity no. SC 039992). Headway is a company limited by guarantee, registered in England no. 2346893.

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