Good News Story – Support for those with emotional management issues on the Isle of Wight
Dr Billie Hunter operates a psychology service on the Isle of Wight that supports women and men with the management of their emotions, particularly anger. Dr. Hunter has worked closely with probation services for over 5 years accepting referrals from the Hampshire and Isle of Wight (HIOW) Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC) and more recently the National Probation Service (NPS). She works on a 1:1 basis with clients who have a criminal conviction with an index offence of violence or who have a history of aggressive behaviour. The desired outcome is to improve the men or women’s ability to cope with anxiety, depression and aggression by establishing what is triggering the anger and undesirable emotions before working with the individual to increase their self-esteem, build their confidence and suggest alternatives to deal with their issues without the need for violence.
The service was originally contracted to support women only, however, CRC Case Managers quickly realised the service was also relevant to men. In the past 3 years Dr. Billie Hunter has supported 75 women and men with the majority of these completing the required number of sessions with a marked improvement in their reported felt emotions and their ability to manage their anger. The service was seen to be so successful that the NPS started referring into it in May 2019.
In March 2020, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, following Government advice, the HIOW CRC informed its supply chain of support services to cease face to face engagement unless absolutely necessary. The change in practice impacted heavily on the majority of service suppliers but Dr. Billie Hunter accepted the challenge of a new way of working with her clients. She very quickly substituted her face to face sessions with a remote way of working via phone calls and Zoom (videolink) sessions. Further adaptations have had to be made such as; emailing clients handouts before the sessions and giving clients visual demonstrations of breathing techniques, relaxation strategies etc. via YouTube. Despite the initial difficulties involved in transforming her business, the new approach to Billie’s delivery has proved a great success and within the first month of lockdown she has delivered 14 sessions to an extremely vulnerable client group. There have been no failures to attend the sessions and all of the participants have fully engaged.
Dr Billie Hunter’s Psychology Services is a working example of how innovation and diversification during difficult times can ensure vulnerable members of our society are not left behind. Her ongoing work continues to reduce anxiety, desperation and violence for those who benefit from her expertise. The new remote way of working is still at an early phase but the evidence of success through client attendance and engagement does lead one to ask; why not expand the service to a wider audience?
Gareth Snaith, Contract Performance Manager, 3SC