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Practitioner Stories

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Hi there, my names Pat McKinnon and I work with veteran’s programme here at the Thistle Foundation. I’ve worked here for a wee while now and we’ve built up the service over the course of five years. The courses are really for anyone that’s struggling with mental health or with physical disability or anything that they’re finding basically just tough to deal with. We hope that we’re welcoming and that you don’t have to have any particular condition to engage. We like people just to work together and get the most from the group and it’s all about helping people to move on with their lives but that’s not to say that we neglect what’s going on with you. If you’re having a problematic time or complexity you know it’s a space that you can talk about things like that but also focussing on the future and focussing on what you want to get from your life if it’s feeling a bit messy or a bit chaotic.

So sometimes people when they actually come to Thistle they don’t actually really know what it is they’re looking for you know they may be in a dark difficult place that they cannot see the way forward so it’s an opportunity to explore that. You may feel that your life’s in chaos and that your housing’s not sorted, your finances are out of kilter, so we would do our best to signpost you or to support you to get the help that you need. But also we would be offering to work with you to help you get the confidence to be able to assert what it is that you need.


Hello, my name’s Mandy. I’m part of the Thistle Foundation working in the Health and Wellbeing team and I’m helping to support people who have a long term health condition, just going through a difficult time and need a little bit extra support with which direction they want to go in.

After you’ve been referred to the Thistle, you’d meet with myself or one of the other practitioners in the team. It gives us a good space and time to have a chat around what kind of things you might be hoping for, what you want life to look like and start to move towards that direction.

So we would meet up and have a chat and explore some options; different courses you might like to go on to try, working around lifestyle, having a little bit more one to one support. Whatever really would be helpful for you.

A part from the one to ones, I also deliver on our lifestyle management course and also our nutrition course. So the nutrition course is fairly new to the Thistle, helping people to work towards a healthy balanced diet, helping them to identify some barriers that’s in the way of getting towards that healthy balanced diet at the moment and working towards making some changes.

With the lifestyle management course we look at some different options that might be helpful for you to explore making, small realistic changes towards where you want to be and we reflect back each week to see how you’re doing with things.

So during the courses as well we find quite a lot that if people don’t want to share if they’re just more comfortable listening. Listening’s a really big part of the course and the support that we provide so there’s no obligation to talk about anything that you don’t feel comfortable talking about. Just sharing whatever you feel comfortable that you think that’s going to help yourself or even supporting other people as well sometimes by sharing in a group some things that you don’t think is relevant can be really supportive for other people to get some new ideas on things, on how to better manage, towards self-management.

If you don’t feel comfortable coming along to Thistle with it being somewhere new that you’ve not been before out with your familiarity comfort zone. We are more than happy, the practitioners, to come and  meet you somewhere that’s more comfortable, in the community, or at home even.  Just to get that initial chat going so that we can start to get to know you a bit better and to know what’s important to you.

If you would like to come up along to Thistle with someone whether it be a close friend or family or support worker they are welcome to come with you, of course, the door’s open to everyone.

Whatever’s going to be most helpful for you is the kind of way that we would like to work with you.

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