Improving the mental health of people living with HIV is key to much of Eddystone’s work. According to a MIND survey; 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health issue in their lifetimes. According to Positively UK report in 2013; 3 out of 4 people with HIV have experienced a mental health issue including depression, anxiety, PTSD or ongoing mental health issues – this is as much as 7 out of 10 women living with HIV.

There is a limited provision of services to support the psychological health of people living with HIV in the South West. Services that are available are often oversubscribed and have long waiting lists. Services are also often costly with sessions costing up to £35 an hour. Most NHS services available through the GP tend to be time limited.

A.C.T. or Affecting Change Together is a pilot project offering Dramatherapy to clients who struggle to meet their everyday commitments due to depression, anxiety and other psychological impacts. These challenges are often rooted in unresolved or untreated historical issues or trauma. This project is free at the point of access and is available in Plymouth and shortly will be available across Devon, including Torbay.

Aims of the project

  • Affect change in attitudes, behaviours and thinking.
  • Reduce depression and anxiety
  • Improve coping mechanisms and resilience
  • Reduce dependency on services
  • Objectives of the project
  • Deliver a structured package of Dramatherapy sessions, both one to one and in group
  • Facilitate and support change using creative methods
  • Explore the past in order to resolve or make more bearable challenging issues in the present
  • Implement the use of DASS as a monitoring and evaluation tool

For more about Dramatherapy sessions and how it might benefit you or someone you know living with HIV, please contact Eddystone directly or Justin Ranger ([email protected]), who is available Mondays and Tuesdays.