People and Places
30/01/2020
‘Sensory toolkits’ for better mental health

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We can often find our senses overwhelming, particularly if we are experiencing symptoms of distress, anxiety or depression. Recently, St John of God Pinelodge Clinic introduced a ‘sensory modulation room’ to try to help patients take control of their senses and help them feel at ease in times of stress or anxiety without needing to resort to additional medications. 

Sensory modulation is a relatively new, research-backed method that encourages patients to develop ‘sensory toolkits for mental well-being’ that they can use to interrupt negative thoughts and anxiety by introducing a stimulus that they enjoy and find calming or relaxing. It can be as simple as a weighted blanket, aromatherapy candles or sweet and sour lollies.

According to nurse unit manager Meg Evans, patients are often uncomfortable with the level of medication they are taking and want to look at alternative strategies to manage their anxiety or distress. “We found that there was an alarming rate of patients who didn’t feel comfortable with their medication usage,” Meg said. “The sensory room was specifically designed to be a safe and supportive therapeutic space where our patients are given the opportunity to learn new skills to assist with their recovery post-discharge.”

In fact, the results have been incredibly positive — 82 per cent of patients who chose to utilise the sensory modulation room didn’t require any additional medication, and there was a sizeable reduction in the use of medications that treat sleeplessness, anxiety and pain.

ST JOHN OF GOD PINE LODGE CLINIC
A: 1480 Heatherton Rd, Dandenong
T: 8793 9444
W: www.sjog.org.au/pinelodge

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