About Essential Life Skills

Essential Life Skills offers a service to adults in South West Hertfordshire, UK.

Who are Essential Life Skills?

Essential Life Skills is a specialist support and training service set up to work with people with mental health needs.  The service is run by myself, Katherine Clark and I work with a wide variety of needs, from someone with low level mental health needs who may be interested in learning more about managing their stress levels and anxiety to enduring conditions such as schizophrenia, personality disorders and bi-polar affective disorder.  

I am an experienced mental health worker with 15 years experience working with young people and adults with complex and enduring mental health needs.  I set up Essential Life Skills because I passionately believe that with the right tools, training and support individuals can lead productive and meaningful lives which are not limited or defined by their mental ill health.  I want to support people in developing the tools to effectively manage their own health and build up their own resources so they can improve the overall quality of their life. 

I believe that people want to live as independently as they can and that reliance on services is often brought about through the threat of having support withdrawn before the person is ready.  I aim to put the individual in the driving seat and let them choose the frequency of the training sessions and the duration the support is required.  I am very happy to work with people on a regular basis or set up ad hoc sessions as the need arises. I am also able to deliver training to groups of up to 10 individuals. 

I have regular supervision, training and hold up to date insurance and a DBS check, which is available to view on request.

What Does the Service Offer?

The service offers practical support and one to one life skills training.  These skills have been broken down into 8 key areas. 
  1. Organising Paperwork - Help to create a filing system and means of dealing with incoming post, help sifting and disposing of unnecessary documents, support filing in paperwork and forms, support planning for appointments and interviews.
  2. Forming Healthy Habits & Routines - Building structure into your days and weeks so that your week has a good balance of meaningful activities and relaxation time, support to develop healthier sleep and waking routines, support accessing local health and social care services, support trying new leisure activities.
  3. Self Care Skills - Support and motivation to improve personal care habits, assistance to develop awareness of personal hygiene and support recognising when action is needed, support engaging with health services such as dental care and developing confidence using personal grooming services such as hairdressers/barbers, health centres and gyms.
  4. Home Care & Independent Living Skills - Support to improve homecare skills such as using a vacuum cleaner, washing machine/laundrette, training in basic cooking skills and basic kitchen hygiene, support engaging with tradespersons and support decluttering your living space.
  5. Budgeting Skills - Awareness raising of personal spending habits, support and signposting to specialist services where appropriate, support engaging with banks and building societies, support with food shopping, action planning to create strategies for curbing unhealthy spending habits.
  6. Asking for Help - Support identifying local services appropriate for your need, training in personal assertiveness and support to manage challenging situations and resolve conflict.
  7. Managing Stress & Mental Wellbeing - Support to identifying stress and potential triggers, support to develop a personal wellbeing plan, supportive action planning for times of stress, assistance to identify strategies for managing stress and help to create an emotional first aid kit.
  8. Confidence Building - Support to identify personal strengths as well as likes and dislikes, training in assertiveness and managing anxiety in stressful situations, action planning to build confidence in particular situations such as using public transport, shopping, attending appointments or accessing social and leisure facilities.

If you have a specific goal you would like support in achieving then please feel free to discuss this in your initial assessment or when making contact.  Please note that while I am able to provide support with personal grooming, this does not include personal care.  My role will be to offer support, honest feedback and guidance on improving your level of personal grooming.  I am also happy to support an individual registering with specialist services, such as dentist, doctor or booking appointments with hair salons.  The overall goal of the service is to enable the individual and equip them with the skills and confidence they need to improve the quality of their life.

Who is this Service For?

The service is targeted at individuals who have needs in the following areas:

- Adults with mental health needs
- Adults with a High Functioning ASD (Autistic Spectrum Disorders)/Aspergers
- Adults who are struggling with stress/stress related illnesses
- Students needing support to manage anxiety and exam nerves

How Can I Access This Support?

Either complete and return the referral form below or send me an email with some information about what kind of help you would need.  From this I will make contact and set up an initial meeting.  During this meeting I will carry out an initial assessment so as to establish the person's individual training needs.  This meeting will be informal and will usually take place at an outside venue, such as a coffee shop, and will last approximately 1.5 hours.

Once the training needs have been established I will then work with the individual to draw up a training program. This program is usually made up of a series of  hour long sessions.  The progress will be reviewed at an agreed interval and the individual can then decide whether they would like to book a further sessions.

Referral Form

Essential Life Skills accepts both self referrals and referrals from healthcare professionals.  When making a referral please complete the referral form below.  To download our referral form just click on the icon at the bottom of this page.  The form is available as either a Microsoft Word document or as a PDF.  If you do not have access to a printer or would just prefer a paper copy to complete then just send an email or phone and one can be sent out by post.

Referral Form 1.docx Referral Form 1.docx
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How Much Will This Service Cost?

Initial Assessment (approx 1.5hrs) - £15.00

One hour training sessions - £20.00

One hour Skype Session - £10.00

Sessions can also be prepaid in blocks of six and this plan comes at the discounted rate of £100.

I am also happy to accept referrals from individuals intending to use a personal budget or direct payment to pay for the service.  In these circumstances an initial assessment will be booked with both the individual and their care manager.  Once a training plan is agreed a costing schedule can be drawn up and the relevant service provider will be invoiced monthly for the duration of the training sessions.

A 15% discount is available to students who have an up to date student card.

Opening Hours

Mondays 10am - 4pm
Tuesday 10am - 4pm
Thursdays 10am - 4pm
Fridays 10am - 4pm

Training sessions will usually be booked within these hours but if there is a particular difficulty which is best addressed outside of these hours there maybe some flexibility. 

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