DCSIMG

All it takes is the right support to get on track

Picture: Getty

Picture: Getty

  • by DIANA NOEL-PATON
 

There are almost two million people in Scotland currently living with a long-term condition like asthma, cancer, ME or depression.

Without the right support, things can quickly spiral out of control. But often it doesn’t take much more than helping people manage their condition to get life back on track.

That’s where we come in.

When Fiona was rushed to hospital with an infected and swelling cut on her ear, she could not have realised the devastating impact it would have on her life.

After severe complications, she was pumped with antibiotics which affected her memory, causing anxiety and depression.

This was compounded by a fall from her loft which left her unable to walk and depressed.

For five years she took a concoction of pills. She says she lived in darkness.

After trying different therapies and drugs, Fiona was referred to Thistle by her GP.

She attended one of our Lifestyle Management Courses and it changed her life.

It helped her take control back. She came off anti-depressants and now she hardly sees her doctor. She is also back to work full time.

This is what self management means – it’s more than coping. It’s about taking control of your life.

To mark Self Management Week, run by the Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland (the ALLIANCE) we released research showing that 78 per cent of people who have, or live, with someone who has a long-term health condition feel unable to live the life they want because of that condition.

Around 300 people attend our free courses each year. We need to make people aware that self management works – and that support is out there.

The Self Management IMPACT fund – administered by the ALLIANCE and funded by The Scottish Government is helping to fund that support.

Thanks to this funding we will continue to invest in self management support that makes a real difference.

Self management empowers people. It’s about knowing what you need to help you live the kind of life you want.

Ultimately, it means the illness doesn’t control life. Instead, you are in the driving seat.

• Diana Noel-Paton is chief executive of the Thistle Foundation

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