Touchstone training personas

Persona 1: Gareth

Gareth is a 58 year old single man who experiences sudden intense bouts of high anxiety.  He was recently prescribed medication which he feels has massively helped.  Recently he had an anxiety attack whilst at the GP surgery, said something deemed threatening by staff and has been transferred to another surgery several miles away.  He is not allowed to repeat prescriptions over the phone, only online or in person.

Gareth has no transport.  He has arthritis in his hips, so walking to the surgery is a painful ordeal.  His anxiety flares on public transport so he now avoids buses altogether. He used to like going to the football but his health issues have stopped that, too.

Gareth prefers to stay home. He likes to spend his time keeping his garden tidy and has recently been pleased to see that some bluetits have nested in the birdbox he’s attached to his fence.

He doesn’t have wifi at home but he does have a smart phone with data. He avoids using his phone for anything but calls because he feels like he doesn’t know what he’s doing and he’s heard that people have been hacked before.

“They’re always saying “order online, order online!”  I can barely make a phone call on this flaming thing! I can’t cope anymore!  Just leave it: I’ll do without!”

Persona 2: Vikram

Vikram is a 45 year old man who has been struggling with suicidal thoughts after a recent marriage break down. His GP told him to ring Touchstone for a direct referral route to IAPT, but with the changes that have been made to the service he can no longer access a fast-track route. He can use a smartphone for a lot of things but doesn’t find it easy to fill in forms.  He has wifi at home but needs help getting online on the computer.

Vikram’s daughter and young granddaughter live a short bus-ride away but he’s not been able to see them whilst isolating. They speak on the phone sometimes but he misses them both and it’s not the same as seeing their faces.

Vikram has been trying to keep busy but often feels alone being in the family house by himself with nobody to talk to. He enjoys reading but with the local library closed he’s struggling to find things he wants to read. He’s liked going for walks when the weather is nice but is getting bored walking the same few routes he knows around his way.

“My GP told me to ring you because I need someone to talk to about everything that’s going on. I want to work on my mental health long term but I need immediate help first because I just can’t cope right now. My daughter sometimes helps me to use the internet but I find it confusing and overwhelming”

Persona 3: Caitlan

Caitlan is a 32 year old single mother of two who has been off work due to stress. She wants to get help with her mental health but doesn’t know where to start. She’s tried to have a look on the internet but there’s so much advice she finds it overwhelming and doesn’t know what to do for the best. Her GP had made a referral to the Touchstone direct referral route that has since been closed.

Caitlan uses a smart phone, mostly for Facebook and Whatsapp. Her friends keep sending her suggesting of how to de-stress but she’s not sure whose advice to follow. She’s had some email’s advertising stress treatments that look quite good but worries if he clicks on too many links she might get a virus.  The family do have tablet at home but the children use it more than her.

The Pandemic has made Caitlan more stressed than ever because there’s so much information about what to do and what not to do, then her friends all post their opinions on Facebook and seem to contradict each other. Her young sons are supposed to be going back to nursery soon but she doesn’t know if she should send them. She often feels loney and cooped up in the house but isn’t sure whether it’s safe to take the boys out or if she can see anyone socially. There’s so much to think about it’s keeping her awake at night.

“I really want to get some help because I’ve been so stressed I can’t go to work. I don’t know what help I can access or where to begin looking. Everything feels very confusing right now and I don’t know who to talk to about it.”

Persona 4: Jem

Jem is a 23 year old medical student who has been sleeping increasingly badly. Alongside studying they work part time at a bar but they have been furloughed for a few months now and it looks like the bar might not be able to reopen at all.

Jem has been increasingly worried about everything going on at the moment – health stuff, political stuff, and now worrying about money too – they’ve been drinking more heavily recently. They used to enjoy going to the gym but have lost the motivation to do any exercise. Their student services recommended Omnitherapy but Jem’s struggling to motivate themselves to engage with it. They were hoping to be able to speak to someone so feel a bit like they’ve been fobbed off.

Before the Covid-19 they enjoyed going to the cinema or a gig to decompress but they can’t do that at the minute. They are confident in using their smartphone and laptop.

“I’m finding it hard to cope with everything at the moment. My degree is really full on and I really struggle to chill out at the moment. I’d like to do stuff to improve my life but I don’t feel like I can. I feel like I’ve got no headspace. I should be making the most of my time whilst I’m not at work but somehow it feels like I’ve got less time than before? Things would be easier if I could just sleep a bit more; I’m always tired and don’t have any energy. At least if I drink I can actually get to sleep…”

Persona 5: Pyotr

Pyotr is a 25 year old Polish man.  He is feeling lonely and isolated since his best friend, Adrian, passed away.  He’s always found it hard to mix with people and is anxious in social settings, so he cherished his regular meet-ups with Adrian, where they would go fishing and talk.  His English is good though he struggles at times, and sometimes he worries about what people will think about his accent.

Pyotr has a tablet and a smart phone which he uses to regularly video-chat with friends and family in Poland but he would really like to make some new friends more nearby. He’s feeling it even more at the moment since he knows he’s unlikely to be able to visit Poland any time soon.

Pyotr really enjoys making art and has found that painting has helped him manage his wellbeing during lockdown. He thinks he might like to branch out in to sculpture or pottery but sure how to go about it. He likes creative writing, too, and is quite proud of some of his poems – he would have loved to have shared them with Adrian.

“My family say that I’ll make new friends but it’s hard.  I miss Adrian.  I miss our days out.  Now I’m on my own too much.  It’s no good.”

Persona 6: Karen

Karen is a 67 year old mother of 2, and a grandmother to 5.  Recently, she has become increasingly worried about germs all around her.  Even before the Pandemic illness was a worry but with things the way they are she’s more concerned than ever. Even though she’s not yet 70 and doesn’t think she has any underlying health conditions, she’s feels safer at home and has chosen to shield. Better safe than sorry! Although she misses her family very much she won’t let them come round, even to sit in the garden, in case they spread germs and everyone gets seriously ill. She’s aware she’s moving less since they’re not going out for the long walks they used to enjoy, but she’d rather not take the risk.

Karen feels like she is cleaning all the time to keep her and her family safe. Her husband is doing the food shopping but Karen only lets him buy things that are sealed in plastic and she washes everything with bleach before she puts it in the kitchen. She has set timers to go off every hour to remind her to wash her hands and makes sure to scrub for the full 20 seconds every time.

Her husband keeps telling her she’s being stupid and needs to relax. Now lockdown is easing he says she needs to start getting out of the house. He doesn’t understand her when she tried to explain, and he just gets frustrated with her when she gets upset.

Karen is comfortable using her laptop but doesn’t have much use for it. Her literacy skills are excellent.

“I just want us all to be safe.  Of course I miss my family and the ladies at my knitting group… I feel like a prisoner in my own home sometimes… but it’s better than the alternative…”