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Become a Trainee Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner

female patient talks to a psychological wellbeing practitionerJoin a mental health training course with the improved access to psychological therapies training programme, and become a Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner

Psychological therapies services across London are recruiting trainee PWPs as part of the IAPT programme to deliver evidence based psychological therapies for people with anxiety and depression. PWPs provide brief structured supported treatments such as guided self-help.

PWP training is provided by University College London (UCL) and is full time. Trainees attend university one day a week and work in service the remaining 4 days a week. Trainees will be employed in an IAPT psychological treatment service. Training course fees on this programme are fully funded by the NHS. In addition, trainees will receive a salary from the London IAPT service where they undertake their 4-day a week placement over the year of the programme. In previous years, this has been a full-time employed position at NHS band 4.

This programme is an NHS-funded psychological professions training programme. It is a course condition that all students remain employed by an NHS Talking Therapies employer for the duration of the programme.
PWPs work with people across the adult age range.

We are keen to recruit a workforce that is representative of the diverse local London population.
Applicants should have experience of working with people with psychological, interpersonal or social problems; either through employed positions or formal volunteer roles.

The course is a postgraduate certificate and applicants are required to demonstrate aptitude to study at postgraduate level, either through degree level education or demonstration of academic equivalence.

As part of the application process trainees will be required to nominate two London IAPT services as their preference for training. All details about the application process are set out in the recruitment pack. This information is essential reading for successful applications.

Recruitment is via the UCL website ONLY at the following link:

Please do not apply via the NHS jobs website

Recruitment opens at 10am on Thursday 25th April and close at 10am on Monday 13th May. This is for intakes that will start at the beginning of October 2024.

For more information about the course see:

Read more about becoming a Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner or watch the video below:

Author: Stewart Gillespie
Category: Community Living Well, Talking Therapies
Posted on: 10th April 2024

Update: Self-Care service

KCSC have now received confirmation that funding for the Community Living Well Self-Care programme will not be continuing beyond the end of the current grant agreement. Unfortunately, KCSC need to close the Self-Care programme as a result. This only applies to the Self-Care programme managed by KCSC.

All Self-Care services overseen by KCSC will end on 31 March 2024. All referrals will be closed on 1 March. Several providers had already closed referrals for reasons of capacity. These will not re-open. Any clients already referred will continue to receive services until the end of March. KCSC will have very little day-to-day involvement with the wider Community Living Well programme after the end of March 2024.

All other Community Living Well services (Talking Therapies, Peer Support, Navigators and Employment Support) are still operating as normal.

If you need support with your mental health or mental wellbeing, you can refer yourself to Community Living Well quickly and easily by completing this form.

Author: Stewart Gillespie
Category: Community Living Well, Self-Care
Posted on: 13th March 2024

Talking Therapies: Myriam’s Story

Myriam was looking for on-going support to help manage her mental health following time spent under psychiatric care. She was referred to NHS Talking Therapies. We spoke to her about her experience and why she found the therapy helpful.

How did you hear about Talking Therapy? What made you seek support?

Well, my story with mental issues goes back to six years ago when I had a manic episode. I was sectioned into an NHS psychiatric ward, then transferred to a private hospital. After my episode I was really, really struggling emotionally and psychologically, so I went to stay with my family in France for a couple of years. I had suffered trauma and stress following a difficult divorce, and I would also suffer from paralysing anxiety attacks, usually around money worries.

When I came back to the UK in January 2020, I reached out to my GP and told them I would like some support as I was still very up and down. Of course, then the pandemic started, so I was offered online talking therapy sessions. I had my first series of sessions then, and I’ve since had another course of sessions. They were arranged online and over the telephone. I had 6-8 sessions I think, once a week to start with, or every other week if I couldn’t make it. They were flexible around me.

Can you talk me through how the sessions were run? What did they involve?

I was asked to answer a questionnaire before each session, so they could monitor if my mental state was better or worse than the previous session. It was structured well; the therapist was always asking me the same set of questions each time for consistency. Then we would go into whether something had happened since the last session.

I also remember that they provided links to further information or advice depending on what we had discussed in that session. For instance, I remember having issues with insomnia, so she was sending me ways of dealing with insomnia, or ways to manage alcohol, if that would be helpful. There were also links to things I could do to take care of my general wellbeing, like sport or art, things like that. I always had further links to things that might be helpful at the time.

How have the sessions helped you? Have you seen an improvement in your situation and feelings?

I’ve done a lot; I’ve taken on board yoga, meditation, mindfulness, breathing, discipline, so that’s what I carry on. The insomnia information was really helpful. Also, what helped a lot was planning my week. Sometimes it’s hard to plan my week because I’m quite impulsive, so it can be difficult. But basically, it’s about being very mindful of not taking on too much, saying ‘no’ to certain things, postponing certain things, being very aware of what makes me tired. Before, I could take on a full day and have zero space to recover, energy wise, so that really helped me make my own rules of doing things my way to pace myself.

You said you thought the therapist was very good during both sets of sessions. What makes you say that?

Obviously, you would expect them to be kind, but they were really very kind. They were also very good at explaining things, or providing an explanation for why they asked certain things or why we discussed certain things.

Also, the link between the practical part and the additional information was really helpful. They customised their links and advice to my story, it was a nice relationship.

Would you recommend talking therapy to other people?

Yes. Obviously since my episode, I’m even more interested in psychology, but I’ve started a deep personal development. I’m a real fan and believer of that; I think everyone should go to a therapist. We all have so many issues that we don’t even know, once you start uncovering it, then you realise then there’s even more.

Anxiety dealt with by yourself is like digging yourself into a hole, because you have no idea of how to come out of your own head. It’s like if you have fallen into a well and you’re trying to get out by yourself. You might get lucky and get out, but it takes a long time and is hard. But with help, you can climb out much faster.

What would you say to someone to encourage them to try talking therapy?

I always say ‘you don’t know what you don’t know’, so you should always try new things. Talking therapy should be part of an on-going regime.

For me, the recommendation came from a trustworthy source, which was my GP, so speak to them, find out more.

If you haven’t been diagnosed with something, or you don’t know the name of something, the jargon and language is too much. You have no idea if you are depressed, or if you have anxiety, bipolar, whatever. The line between them can be a bit blurred, and sometimes treatment is different, so it’s best to talk to someone.

Whether it’s talking therapy, whether it’s exercise, then this is what you want. Whatever it takes to feel better.

During her recovery, Myriam has rediscovered herself through art, which has led her to explore new opportunities in her career and her wellbeing…

When I had my episode and I was sectioned, I had also what I think was a spiritual awakening, an artistic calling. I now call it my artistic ‘coming out’, because I have no other way to describe it. I lived in an altered state of consciousness for about two weeks during my recovery, and it gave me this kind of vision. My family was completely panicked, but for me, I had the best time of my life there. Suddenly, I saw myself. My life’s purpose and mission was so clear. It was very deep, it was very transformational. It was awakening to myself. It’s only been six years, but it was a change of identity for me. It has been such a journey. I had this spiritual awakening. I knew I needed to seek ongoing support for my mental health, but I also knew I wanted to focus on my art and help myself heal through expressing myself creatively.

If you need support…

If anything in Myriam’s story sound familiar and you would like to try talking therapy, you can refer yourself quickly and easily online. You can use our helpful assistant, Wysa, who will guide you through the questions, or you can complete the standard form.  Once you’ve submitted your details, someone will contact you within 5 working days to have a chat and get you the help you need.

This story was originally published in issue 12 of Community Living Well magazine. It has been edited for website purposes. You can sign-up to our mailing list to receive the magazine directly into your inbox. 

Author: Stewart Gillespie
Category: Community Living Well, Talking Therapies
Posted on: 21st February 2024

How physical activity helps mental health

man using wheelchair takes physical activity in the park Taking regular exercise can have a huge positive impact on our mental health and wellbeing. We’ve highlighted some of the ways how physical activity helps mental health.

Recommended physical activity

The recommended amount of moderate physical activity we should be doing is two and half hours per week. This regular physical activity helps with many health benefits, hopefully leading us to live longer, healthier lives, which includes an improved mental health.

Don’t let the thought of exercise cause you additional worry and stress; it doesn’t mean you have to join a gym or complete a marathon! Exercise can be anything that gets us moving; from doing our weekly shop or cleaning the house, to dancing or going for a walk.

If you are living with a disability or you are not comfortable leaving the house, there are lots of suitable options available online. Disability charity, Scope, has information about exercising at home, or you can search for at-home workouts on YouTube.

Mood Boost

Studies show that physical activity has a positive effect on our mood. Any form of physical activity can help us to feel calmer and content. The benefits are more noticeable when our mood is lower than usual, so if you are living with depression, anxiety or stress, you are likely to feel an improvement in your mood if you take some form of exercise.

Reduce Stress

Stress affects us all at some point. Research shows that physical activity can be effective at relieving stress, and those who are more active tend to be less stressed than those who are less active.

Boost Self-Esteem

Taking regular exercise can help to make us feel good about ourselves. Once you’ve completed some form of physical activity, you will feel a sense of achievement, which makes us feel good. It can also help our physical health and appearance by keeping fit.

Increase Energy Levels

Regular exercise can increase our energy levels throughout the day and even enhance our ability to learn and memorise new things.

If you need additional support…

The Community Living Well Peer Support service arranges group walks in local parks, which is a great opportunity for you to take some exercise, get some fresh air and meet with people who may have similar experiences. You can refer yourself to the Peer Support service by completing this online form.

One You Kensington & Chelsea and One You Westminster also provide useful information, advice and opportunities to introduce physical activity into your daily routine.


Author: Stewart Gillespie
Category: Community Living Well, Peer Support
Posted on: 5th February 2024

New! Community Workshops

A man jogging through the park - Our Community Workshops aim to promote evidence-based knowledge and support a healthier lifestyle and general wellbeing.

Join us for our FREE NHS Community Workshops

Open to all aged 16+

Our Community Workshops aim to promote evidence-based knowledge and support a healthier lifestyle and general wellbeing.

Each session includes a light physical activity, suitable for ALL abilities.

Information stalls with free resources also available!

Our current timetable of Community Workshops has now finished. Check back for more soon! 

To find out more about Community Living Well services, including how to refer yourself, see How we can help

Author: Stewart Gillespie
Category: Community Living Well
Posted on: 9th January 2024

Christmas Opening Hours

Here are the festive season opening hours for Community Living Well Talking Therapies:

Mon 18th Dec – Friday 22nd Dec:

Usual hours (Mon – Thurs 8am-8pm, Fri 8am-5pm)

Mon 25th and Tues 26th Dec:

CLOSED – Bank Holiday

Wed 27th – Fri 29th Dec

Gertrude Street – CLOSED

St Charles – Open 9am-5pm only

Mon 1st Jan

CLOSED – Bank Holiday

Tues 2nd Jan

Gertrude Street – CLOSED

St Charles – Open as usual (8am-8pm)

Wed 3rd Jan onwards

Usual hours at St Charles and Gertrude Street (Mon – Thurs 8am-8pm Fri 8am-5pm)


Community Living Well Peer Support are running activities during the festive season. Please see all groups and activities on our events calendar.


Our partners, SMART, have some activities over the festive period, including on Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve. Visit their website for details or click to view the poster:


Tips and Advice

Take time for yourself

– pay attention to how you are feeling. Track your mood and look after your emotional health. Mind has information on how to identify what you’re feeling and ways to try and manage these feelings.

– focus on what you enjoy. It could be doing something creative, watching your favourite film or TV show, or spending time outdoors.

– take a break from social media and the internet in general, like reading the news. Take part in an activity like we mentioned above and have a break from your phone.

– it’s ok to say ‘no’. If it’s difficult for you to take part in something or you’re invited to an event or meet-up that you don’t want to go to, then politely decline. You don’t need any additional worry.

Connect with others

If you are feeling up to it, connecting with other people can help boost our mood.

– arrange to talk to people over the phone or via video call if you don’t want to go outside. This might be a trusted friend or family member who you’re comfortable opening up to.

– go online and connect with other people who might be spending Christmas alone. You could try Mind’s online community, Side by Side.

– engage with your local community. Some local events might not be happening, but you may be able to find virtual events to join. Take a look at the Community Living Well events calendar and see if there are activities you’d like to try.

Choose to not celebrate, if that feels easier

– tell others about your plans so they know whether or not to mention Christmas.

– exchange any gifts in advance.

– stay off social media and try to avoid festive adverts on TV or online.

– eat the same foods and do the same activities as you would any other day.

For more information and tips, visit the Mind website.


If you need additional support, you can refer to the Community Living Well service here.

If you need urgent help with a mental health crisis, see our list of contacts.




Author: Stewart Gillespie
Category: Community Living Well, Peer Support, Talking Therapies
Posted on: 20th December 2023

Out now! Community Living Well Magazine Issue 14

We are pleased to share the latest edition of Community Living Well magazine.

Featured articles include:

  • Looking after your wellbeing during winter
  • How to be a good colleague
  • Stay informed: Benefits changes
  • Habits to boost your happiness in 2024

Plus, we hear about a recent experience of talking therapy and learn more about a therapeutic gardening group.

There’s also book reviews, information on peer support groups, and a directory of other local resources.

We hope you enjoy reading this issue. If you have any suggestions or feedback about the magazine, please contact [email protected]

To sign-up to receive the Community Living Well magazine direct to your inbox, complete this form

Author: Stewart Gillespie
Category: Community Living Well
Posted on: 11th December 2023

Looking after your wellbeing in winter

woman looks cosy in her winter jumper looking after her wellbeing in winterThe winter months can make it difficult for many of us to manage our mental health. The colder temperatures and shorter days could mean we feel the need to withdraw from things we normally enjoy. Here are some tips of what to do to manage your wellbeing in winter.

Identify what you struggle with during these months

Triggers and situations that we struggle with can be different for everyone. It may be a stressful day at work, worrying about your finances, a difficult conversation with someone or the bus is running late. By being aware of what you find difficult, it is easier to make plans to manage when these difficult situations happen. For example, when you have experienced a stressful day at work, after work you could plan to go for a jog, enjoy a home comfort meal or spend time with loved ones. If you’re struggling to work out what makes you feel overwhelmed, keep a diary and see if there are any links between what you do and how it makes you feel.

Keep a routine

In the winter months, it can be hard to feel as motivated to go outside and do things like you would in the summer months. Try and keep as much of a routine like the summer months as possible. Humans love routine so doing similar activities can boost your mood. It can be hard to sometimes do things so plan using a SMART goal. This stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-Focused. For example, next Monday at 6pm for 15 minutes I will do yoga at home. This gives us a set-target whilst keeping it realistic.

Spend time in nature

Being in nature whatever time of year can do wonders for our happiness. The weather in the winter months can mean that we don’t feel as motivated to go outside. However, being in nature can improve our mood by being in a
different environment. Why not have a go at going to a local park and come prepared with a coat, scarf and umbrella!

Always have a plan B if you’re doing a weather dependent activity

It can be demoralising when a plan gets cancelled because of bad weather. When making plans, have a backup option if the weather is unkind. For example, if your walk with friends gets cancelled, you could meet at a museum, café or someone’s home instead. This means you still get to feel connected with others despite the initial plan no longer being possible.

Create healthy habits at home

In the winter months, it can be natural for our motivation to take a dip and we can reduce time we spend doing things we’d normally enjoy. We can overcome this by starting healthy habits at home. This could be something like cooking a meal, having a self-care evening (watching a film, taking a bath, reading a book), exercising or choosing to put your needs first. If you struggle with staying up too late, try one night where you start your wind down routine earlier.

Talk to someone

Sometimes things feel just too much, especially during the darker months of the year. It can feel hard to reach out and you can feel alone with your feelings. Know that you are not alone and many other people feel this way.

If you feel comfortable to, speak with a loved one or someone you trust. Speaking about our difficulties can give us a sense of relief. If you don’t feel comfortable to speak with someone you know, you can try other services such as a
peer support or befriending services.

Also, you can reach out to a professional such as a GP or therapist. You can discuss your difficulties with your local Talking Therapies service who may be able to support you to find the best service for your needs.

You can refer yourself for talking therapy by completing this simple online form.

This article was originally published in issue 12 of Community Living Well magazine. You can read past issues of our magazine or sign up to our mailing list for all the latest from Community Living Well. 



Author: Stewart Gillespie
Category: Community Living Well
Posted on: 20th November 2023

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

When the days get shorter, darker and colder, you may feel a dip in your mood. It’s common to feel affected by changes in the weather and seasons – we all have certain times of year that we enjoy more or less than others, for a variety of reasons. You might find your mood changes when the weather gets colder or warmer, or notice changes in your energy levels, sleeping patterns or eating habits. If these feelings are interfering with your day-to-day life, it could be a sign that you have depression. And if they keep coming back at the same time of the year, it might be a sign that you have seasonal affective disorder (SAD) otherwise known as ‘seasonal depression’.

What is SAD?

Seasonal affective disorder is a type of depression that comes and goes in a seasonal pattern. SAD is sometimes known as ‘winter depression’ or ‘winter blues’ because the symptoms are usually more apparent and severe during the winter. Some people with SAD may have symptoms during the summer and feel better during the winter.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of SAD can include:

• a persistent low mood

• a loss of pleasure or interest in everyday activities

• irritability

• feelings of despair, guilt and worthlessness

• feeling lethargic (lacking in energy) and sleepy during the day

• sleeping for longer than normal and finding it hard to get up in the morning

• craving carbohydrates and gaining weight

For some people, these symptoms can have a significant impact on their day-to-day activities.

How can I treat the symptoms?

There are some things you can do yourself to improve your mood during winter SAD.

Get natural sunlight. Get outside in the natural light as much as possible as it can help boost your mood or sit next to the window to let sunlight in.

Stay active. Regular exercise can help with symptoms of low mood and depression as it releases serotonin and endorphins.

Connect with others. Winter can make us feel more isolated than usual so make time to connect with others through a phone call, email, text or meet up face-to-face.

Have things to look forward to. Whether it’s a coffee with a friend, or the thought of spring coming, try to keep positive by having something to look forward to.

Pick up a new hobby. If winter means you tend to stay indoors more, keeping busy with new hobbies can help keep your mind active. Why not pick up a book and read or learn how to knit?

Get cosy. Embrace the cold by getting into warm, comfy PJs and enjoying a hot cuppa and take in the warmth. Remember, the cold won’t last forever!

What causes SAD?

Causes of SAD isn’t fully understood however it’s often linked to reduced exposure to sunlight during the shorter autumn and winter days. There is some evidence to suggest the following:

• increase in the body’s level of melatonin, a hormone that regulates the sleepwake cycle. This makes people feel sleepier and more lethargic.

• irregular production of serotonin, the neurotransmitter that influences mood and,

• less production of Vitamin D, which is needed for the production of serotonin.

If it doesn’t get better…

You should consider seeing your GP if you’re struggling to cope. Your GP will carry out an assessment by asking you questions about your mood, lifestyle, eating habits and sleeping patterns, plus any changes in your thoughts and behaviours. After the assessment, your GP will recommend the most suitable treatment programme for you.

The main types of treatments are:

Lifestyle measures – including getting as much natural sunlight as possible such as a brief lunchtime walk, exercising regularly and managing your stress levels

Light therapy – using a special lamp called a light box, which gives off a strong white or blue light, this simulates exposure to sunlight.

Antidepressant medication

Talking therapies – such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) or counselling.

For additional support with your mental health, you can refer to the Community Living Well service here.

Author: Michelle Jackson
Category: Community Living Well
Posted on: 18th October 2023

World Mental Health Day 2023

Today (Tuesday 10 October 2023) is World Mental Health Day and the theme for this year is ‘Mental health is a universal human right’. World Mental Health Day is observed every year, with the overall objective of raising awareness and breaking down the stigma of mental health issues around the world.

The stigma and discrimination experienced by people who experience mental ill health not only affects that person’s physical and mental health, stigma also affects their educational opportunities, current and future earning and job prospects, and also affects their families and loved ones. (Source: World Federation for Mental Health [WFMH])

Take a look at our social media channels for posts throughout the day: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and TikTok.

Prioritise your mental health

Your mental health should be your priority because it impacts our whole life. We want to raise as much awareness as possible on this World Mental Health Day, and to remind you that Community Living Well is here for you.

We offer the following services:

  • Talking Therapies – Short-term support for when you experience difficult emotions, such as, low mood, worry, stress and anxiety.
  • Peer Support – Wellbeing workshops, one-to-one peer support, peer support groups, social activities and peer support training with other people who have had similar experiences to you.
  • Employment – Advice and support to gain and retain paid employment, improve your employability skills and know your rights in the workplace.
  • Navigators – Practical support with a range of issues including benefits, debt, housing options, access to health and social care services and support to access specialist advice and information.
  • Self-Care – Support and activities that help you to take care of your own mental, emotional and physical wellbeing.

You can refer yourself to the Community Living Well service here

These local organisations also offer crucial support. 

Author: Stewart Gillespie
Category: Community Living Well
Posted on: 10th October 2023

SMART St Mary Abbots Rehabilitation and Training
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