Breaking the cycle of loneliness for Mental Health Awareness Week
A mental health peer support worker from Dorset is urging people not to suffer in silence after opening up about her own struggles with isolation and anxiety.
This year’s Mental Health Awareness week (9-15 May) will highlight the ever-increasing problem of loneliness, and how it can damage our overall mental health.
More people than ever in the UK are experiencing loneliness and isolation. Feeling that we don’t have the connections we need or anyone to talk to when we are struggling is detrimental to our mental – and sometimes physical – wellbeing.
However, help is on hand. Dorset HealthCare provides free, confidential mental health support through services like Steps2Wellbeing which offers talking therapy, courses, and webinars to adults in Dorset and the Southampton City area – and they’re all easy to access online.
Steps2Wellbeing peer support worker Louise Deeprose felt she had no one to turn to when struggling with her mental health. But after a family member recommended Steps2Wellbeing, she was able to take control of her feelings and get the help she needed.
She said: “Growing up, I had times where I felt so down and had thoughts that I didn’t want to be alive anymore. I tried to tell adults that I was struggling and wanted help. Some didn’t know how to get me help or told me that they didn’t want to hear any more of it. I felt alone, like I was being dramatic, and that my feelings weren’t real.”
Louise kept her problems to herself and began to experience the physical symptoms of anxiety. She explained:
“I began to experience shortness of breath, racing heart and severe sweating. I withdrew from friends and family. Negative thoughts about myself and what others thought of me were becoming more intense.
“Sometime later, a family member suggested that I make a referral to Steps2Wellbeing. I never thought I was ‘bad enough’ or that my problems were worthy of a professional’s time.
“But finally, someone listened. My feelings were validated and I was relieved to know that they were real.”
After completing a quick and easy Steps2Wellbeing referral form online, Louise was able to explore her feelings with a professional therapist and learn strategies to manage her feelings.
She said: “The service has helped me change my life; I spoke about my experiences, and everything just began to make more sense – I felt like I could begin to understand myself better.”
Louise now shares her experiences and what she has learned to help others who use the service. A video clip of Louise sharing her story can be viewed here below.
To find out more about Steps2Wellbeing and access the support it offers, go to www.steps2wellbeing.co.uk