Self-soothe sensory boxes, Silverdale

In 2023, Newcastle West Community Treatment Team received funding from SHINE to support work the team are doing with patients around distraction, sensory and self-sooth techniques.

The team provides an assessment and treatment service for people over the age of 18 who are experiencing difficulty with their mental health. With the funding, the team were able to provide patients with two boxes of items such as a weighted blanket, a galaxy room projector, worry stones, plush toys, stress relief balls, a puzzle book, scented markers, therapy putty, postcards from around the world, scrapbooks and aromatherapy roller balls.

Two boxes containing sensory items such as puzzle books, scented markets, plush toys and more

The team hope that by providing these items that patients can touch and try out in a safe environment with guidance and support, it will help to reduce incidents of self-harm and promote wellbeing. The service also hopes the boxes can be used to help patients feel more comfortable in attending appointments and improving engagement and effectiveness of treatment.

I think it would also be good for those who may have heard about self-soothe boxes but never tried one because they think it won’t make a difference and clinicians can gently challenge this with having the items there to try.

Sinead McGowanCommunity Practitioner

The items are available for all clinicians in the team to use with patients, and staff plan for the items to be used in group sessions too. Other services in Silverdale such as the Step-up Hub and Homelessness team will also have access to the boxes to use with their patients.

Scrapbook pages decorated with quotes and sequins

Feedback from patients:

“Writing in my nurse Sinead’s scrapbook was very therapeutic and very soothing I really enjoyed writing inspirational quotes and seeing all the post cards from different places around the world it was like a mini journey to all the different countries and definitely a way to help me recover in the future. Thank you for your kindness and support; you really help make a difference!”

“Personally, today was very enjoyable. The day was creative as well as therapeutic.”