As part of the MIND Side by Side peer support project, we will be featuring case studies and blogs about the role that peer support plays in helping people with their mental health. If you would like to send us your story, we would love to share it. We can do so anonymously if you do not want to be identified. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01752 512280. Find out more, by visiting our Side by Side page.
Here is Sofia’s story…
I am 36 years of age and I have been in and out of services most of my adult life because of my mental health issues.
I have moved around the UK since I was 17 as I thought that each new move, new city, new people would help me to leave my crippling depression and anxiety behind. I moved to Plymouth 5 years ago with my new boyfriend at the time, and after a promising start, the old cycle began again. Soon, my boyfriend was gone, my ‘new friends’ had all disappeared, and I was alone again with only my self-destructive thoughts to keep me company. About 2 years ago, I was encouraged by a very supportive GP to access services at Plymouth Mind.
I wasn’t interested to be honest, because by now I had resigned myself to a lonely life where I felt no-one could ever help me.
Through Plymouth Mind I accessed support groups that were facilitated by a member of staff. Slowly I began to open up and share. For the first time, I had met ‘people like me’. As part of this new project, Olivia encouraged me to get involved with a new peer support group that was starting up. She felt ‘I should give it a go’ because she knew I loved arts and crafts, and this group had decided to get together, chat, and make some jewellery at the same time.
I’ve been involved with the group since October 2015 and I feel I have arrived!
I have made some really great new friends, and while we all came together because of our mental health problems, the glue that keeps us together is our love of arts and crafts. We feel safe to share when we have had a terrible week, and the other members of the group are so supportive of each other.
It’s been such a wonderful experience after such a long time in the darkness.