Our Blackburn with Darwen Community Mental Health Teams is trying to ensure none of their service users are without a present on Christmas morning with the help of their ‘Giving Tree’.  

The Community Mental Health Team (CMHT) based in Blackburn with Darwen have all worked together this December to donate gifts to service users, who due to the lack of a support network and social isolation faced the risk of receiving no gifts this Christmas. 

The CMHT team support adults who require a multi-disciplinary approach to their mental health care under the Care Programme Approach. The team is made up of a variety of roles including registered mental health nurses, social workers, psychologists, occupational therapists, healthcare assistants and support time and recovery workers.

The team recognise the importance of wellbeing and the negative impact the feeling of loneliness can have on mental health. They wanted to reassure service users they aren’t alone and are being thought of by others at this often difficult time of year.

Care coordinators put names forward of those in need and added personalised gift ideas. Each name was put on a gift tag and placed on the ‘Giving Tree’. Staff were then able to choose a gift tag and purchase a present. After all the gifts were purchased they were placed under the tree and staff have been out delivering to the individuals homes throughout this Christmas week.

Laura, Occupational Therapy Specialist, BWD Community Mental Health Team said:

“The idea started as we have previously coordinated something similar for local charities but Abbie, a member of the team, suggested we should make our own tree for our own service users. All the team were so enthusiastic and really got behind the idea, we quickly realised how many of our service users don’t have a strong support network so Christmas can be very isolating for them.

It has been wonderful this week to share some Christmas joy. It’s felt amazing to arrive at their door with a present they weren’t expecting and to see genuine smiles on faces. This wouldn’t have worked without the dedication of our incredible team, so a huge thank you to everyone who got involved.”

The team have seen the benefits this year so now want to make this a yearly tradition.