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Making a Difference to my Mental Health

For Mental Health Awareness Week 2021 we are delighted to feature articles by a member of our community mental health hub in Watford, Carole. Carole writes about about mental health and related issues, to raise awareness and reduce stigma about mental health conditions. She is a published author of two books on schizophrenia and a collection of poetry.

For the first article this week, Carole explains how she came to Henry Smith House and the difference the it makes to her life.

My journey to Henry Smith House

It is well documented that people are suffering from mental health issues more than ever before and, as anyone who has sought treatment can tell you, mental health services are woefully underfunded with patients facing long waiting lists for NHS services.  This is why charities are literally a lifeline for many people with mental health issues and organisations such as Guideposts at Henry Smith House (HSH) provide critical and practical support to those who need it.

In 2019, I was diagnosed with cancer and I knew that having cancer on top of having a mental health condition was going to be no easy challenge.  I had the year before been signed off the community mental health service and I was referred to a charity for support but the activity I was doing was stopped due to lack of funding.  In October of that year, I had a relapse which lasted well into December.  My friends tried to get me help but because I had been signed off the mental health service‚Äôs books they were told to phone the police who in my opinion are not the relevant agency to deal with my diagnosis of schizophrenia. 

My GP made a referral and I did eventually see a social worker and I asked to be referred to Guideposts HSH as my friend Jean Nice had been a client there for many years and had benefited from the activities.

Yoga, Relaxation and Hearing Voices groups have helped me

I was delighted on joining Guideposts to learn that there were yoga classes available, a hearing voices support group and relaxation sessions. Yoga has helped me maintain a healthy lifestyle as the power of yoga breathing and postures significantly benefit mental and physical wellbeing.  Relaxation meditation sessions are a beautiful pathway to calm and destressing.  And importantly, the hearing voices group which is run by the clients themselves, allows the unloading of stress in a confidential and open way.

Since the advent of the pandemic, I have been participating in sessions on zoom and I have enjoyed greatly being a part of Guideposts HSH on-line community.  I live on my own so this contact ensures I am not totally isolated.

If I was to sum up my experience of Guideposts, the word I would use is kindness.  The community workers, the clients and volunteers all contribute to an amazing human spirit.

How to join the service?

You can apply to join our Community Mental Health Services through self-referral or through HPFT community mental health and other health & social care professionals. Please contact hsh@guideposts.org.uk for more information.

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