GLOWPeople living with mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety and personality disorders in southwest London are set to benefit from a project that aims to help them to enjoy greater involvement in everyday life.

Occupational therapists at South West London and St George's Mental Health NHS Trust (SWLSTG) have been awarded a £75,000 grant from the Health Foundation, an independent healthcare charity, to look into ways service users can be supported to regain their independence. 

The therapy, called GLOW (Graduating Life Skills Outside the Ward), is a means of focusing occupational therapists’ work more effectively so that service users need to make less use of crisis services.

Mary Morley, SWLSTG director of occupational therapy, said: “We are really pleased that this project has received a grant as we believe it will make a real difference to service users after their discharge from hospital.”

She added that it will initially be tested in Richmond and Kingston, but could be rolled out across the Trust. This will be the first area because personality and affective disorders are particularly prevalent there. Hospital admission rates are high for both groups, which indicates that patients find it difficult to live independently, struggle to establish positive daily routines and often relapse.

GLOW places emphasis on the service user being involved in all stages of their own care, and it helps people to learn skills such as shopping, cooking and using public transport in order to take greater control over their lives.

The occupational therapist uses a graded approach to build skills and confidence. Initially sessions are very frequent, but decrease over time as the service user becomes more able to take control.