"I have not been left alone in the world"

About: Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust / Adult Mental Health Services - Community (City)

(as a volunteer/advocate),

I had a breakdown through work, and was introduced to the Social Inclusion and Wellbeing Service to help me get out of the flat. It was very scary, taking steps to get back outside. I was reassured as I knew they would come to the house if I was unable to get out.

There were lots of offers of things to do, but without the pressure. If it didn’t work out, it didn’t work out. I was offered things that had interested me in the past, but also things I hadn’t thought of before. Firstly, it was about socialising, joining groups. J went with me at first. It was vital she was there for the first 20 minutes, when I felt like running out. Then she would ask if I was ok and by that time, I was.

They listened so well and seemed to know things about me that I didn’t know myself, and just understood me. Because they were not a doctor, or a family member, they were a lot easier to talk to. As I have problems answering the phone, they found other ways to communicate with me, by text or email. Nothing phased my support worker, so I was confident to tell her more. I am now more able to open up when I am at the Women’s Group.

I was supported to keep appointments on the occasions when family were unable to attend with me. As there was no pressure to do things or to succeed, it made me want to do things. I went to college for sewing and photography. It got me out, talking to people and the activities helped to slow down my mind. I had to get over a massive fear of the outside world. I couldn’t do anything for myself, and had to learn to make lists and do a timetable. It was a very gentle, steady and consistent process, better than any medication.

Having the support of the SIWS, especially on bad days, has given me back the confidence in myself to carry on. J and S were there not to judge, just to listen and come up with ideas. If they did not have the answer, they would go away to find out, and I had the confidence that they would come back to me. At first, I never thought I do volunteering, as it was too close to work. I needed more time. Ideas were put forward, and then I could pick them up when I was ready. There were weird and wonderful things that I could do.

I now volunteer. The role has given me the opportunity to learn so much. Over the space of an hour every fortnight I assist in renewing and cleaning the vivariums. We check for adults, babies and eggs, counting the babies to monitor reproduction. All the time I am learning new information either from my co-workers or from the insects.

I had not had a good experience of groups, but Beeston Women’s Group was put over to me as a few people getting together to drink tea. I can just be me. It is so relaxed, I feel comfortable discussing things. There is responsibility without pressure. When it is a professional leading the group, it can feel overwhelming. I could meet in a coffee shop, Museum or at home. I have had 2 exhibitions. I have learnt how to share personal things without getting a reaction. I have not been left alone in the world of Doctors and hospitals. It’s quite scary to think where I would be without the SIWS.

Do you have a similar story to tell? Tell your story & make a difference ››


Response from Julie Swann, Team Leader, Social Inclusion and Well-being Service, Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust

Dear Lilly P,

Thank you for sharing your positive experience of the social inclusion service. I am delighted to learn that you found the approach of the service and the way the staff work very helpful in your recovery journey. Person centred approach and planning is the core value of our service and we aim to work with each person to achieve their goals and aspirations. Volunteering can be helpful in both learning and building confidence and I am glad to know that you are enjoying your experience. We wish you all the best from the social inclusion service and hope that you continue your journey in a way that fulfils your hopes and aspirations

Kind Regards

Julie Swann

Team Leader Social Inclusion Service

  • {{helpful}} {{helpful == 1 ? "person thinks" : "people think"}} this response is helpful