Amy has been working with Brighter Futures throughout COVID-19. She has a long history of mental health issues and this became difficult to manage when the country entered lockdown in March.
The decision meant the organisation, which offers support for mental health, homelessness, and complex needs in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire moved some of its services online. For Amy, this experience has helped her keep her mental health on track.
Every week she takes part in wellbeing sessions and peers support groups. With the help of these – and the trust she is developed with support workers – she has found the structure and a routine.
“I have always struggled with my mental health, managing it and maintaining my recovery,” she said.
“Trying to manage normal day-to-day life was hard enough, but with everything else on top, it became unbearable. My support worker was brilliant, I didn’t have to put a mask on and say I was fine – I could be me. I worked through lockdown as well as home-schooling my kids. My mental health took a big dip.”
“My support worker was brilliant; the weekly support calls were something I started to look forward to. They introduced me to an online art group that was being done over Microsoft Teams. I am no artist, but she assured me there was no pressure and to give it a go. The art support worker was brilliant – he guided us through the whole session and broke it down into easily manageable parts.
“As things progressed, I attended a social session every day and my confidence built back up. Bingo and pet socials (I loved this one because I love my cats). I cannot thank the whole Clubhouse Team for the chats, the giggles, and the support they have given me enough chats, giggles, and the support they have given me. They have restored my confidence and belief in myself that I can do things.
“I’m not quite there yet but I am in a lot better place. During COVID I gave up my job and am now considering a college course in mental health. I do not think that it would have even entered my head if it hadn’t been for the support, I am determined to give something back.”
Brighter Futures Clubhouse Network offers support to anyone who has experience with mental health problems, providing social and leisure opportunities in a safe and welcoming environment.
A referral isn’t needed, and someone can call, pop in, or come along with a friend or someone who supports them to find out more.
For more information – visit www.brighter-futures.org.uk.