North-east charity offers support to patients through online mindfulness course
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North-east charity Friends of ANCHOR is encouraging oncology and haematology patients to sign up to its latest intake for its fully-funded mindfulness course.
The sessions, which will be held over eight weeks, begin on Wednesday, April 14, and are completely free for ANCHOR patients who are currently undergoing treatment or have had treatment in the past.
Delivered online through live, tutored sessions, the lessons are designed to provide a safe space for patients to help them reduce and manage the feelings of anxiety and worry that can come hand in hand with a diagnosis.
Mindfulness professional and course tutor Louise Martin said: “Each hour-long session will focus on a new meditation technique to equip patients with the practical tools and mechanisms to better understand their diagnosis or the uncertainty of undergoing treatment.
“Studies conducted over the past decade into the effects of mindfulness in cancer management have found that those who regularly practice and incorporate it into their daily routines have experienced profound benefits and felt an improvement in their quality of life.”
Everyone who takes part will receive additional support and guidance to encourage them to keep their practice up.
The course has been praised highly by a previous participant, John Greensmyth, who said: “I found it very interesting and learned a lot from it.
"Louise is very competent and knows her subject thoroughly. Her voice and pace are calming and the sessions are delivered in a very caring and inclusive way.
“I didn’t know what to expect but the course exceeded all my expectations. I have already recommended it to others and really would encourage any other ANCHOR patients to think about taking part.”
Initially launched as a way to support patients virtually, the course has become a staple service in the charity’s patient wellbeing programme.
The upcoming course will the fourth that Friends of ANCHOR has offered since May 2020.
Vicki Youngson, head of wellbeing at Friends of ANCHOR said: “What we’ve heard from previous participants really highlights the positive impact this course has had on their mental health – it’s been a brilliant addition to our virtual services and we’re delighted to be able to offer it as part of our long-term wellbeing commitment.”
In addition to the course for patients, the tutor Louise will also be leading a similar eight-week course for NHS staff working within the ANCHOR Unit. As with the patient course, these sessions will be fully funded by the charity.
Within its patient wellbeing programme, Friends of ANCHOR has a range of offerings that have been designed and tailored with the needs of patients in mind, including virtual one-to-one wellbeing appointments and online coffee mornings, as well as numerous practical provisions which are freely available to patients at home and in the ANCHOR Unit.
Mrs Youngson added: “The past year has been extremely difficult for everyone, with many people feeling the effects of physical isolation, but for those dealing with cancer the emotional isolation that they can endure, particularly whilst shielding, can be detrimental and the services we offer via our online patient community can be used to help combat that.”
The mindfulness course begins on Wednesday, April 14, and Friends of ANCHOR is welcoming any north-east oncology and haematology patient currently receiving treatment who is interested to pre-book now.
Patients requiring more information, or who wish to reserve a free space for this intake or any future one, can contact firstname.lastname@example.org