Alex* has been involved in many aspects of our work here at Trauma Healing Together and has both contributed and benefited considerably. She initially engaged with our charity by volunteering to be a member of our Perth and Kinross Mental Health and Wellbeing strategic planning group. This role involved using her lived experience to shape and develop the festival to ensure that it was designed in such a way that it would indeed bring benefit to people struggling with their mental health.
When asked what Alex enjoyed most about being involved in the planning of the festival, she said that she
‘enjoyed being able to put ideas across that I have found useful to help with my poor mental health, as they may be helpful for others’. Over the weekend, she ran a stall which provided personally designed resources, which could be used to support people to manage their mental health and feel more positive about themselves. As a result of being involved she became ‘more confident around people’ and found that she was to give her ‘opinion regarding different issues more easily’
Following this, Alex self-referred herself to Resilience Project which involves 24 weeks of trauma focused therapy and 16 weeks of group wellbeing sessions. Over the course of the project, she found it incredibly useful and said the following about it:
“It has helped me to try different things that push me out my comfort zone, and the counselling is helping me deal with my different traumas, so it affects my day-to-day life less. It has helped me to be able to deal with my feelings and emotions better, so I am less likely to attempt suicide”
Alex also found that as a charity we demonstrated that we valued her thoughts and opinions while accessing our services.
“They have asked me to be involved in the meetings for the organisation of the festival. They have also asked for feedback on the Resilience project and any improvements that could be made. They always make you feel involved in the charity.”
Now that she has completed the Wellbeing sessions and is coming to an end with her therapy, she has expressed an interest in training to become a group facilitator for the Resilience Project. When asked why she wanted to take part she said:
“I feel that as I’ve done the resilience project, I will have a better understanding of how everyone is feeling that first week. I will hopefully reassure individuals doing the project as I’ve been there. On a personal level I will be learning new skills and it will build my confidence and improve my self-esteem.”
To sum up her experience of her involvement with the charity:
“the charity does amazing work to help individuals and everyone is friendly, helpful, understanding and supportive. …. they have helped me a great deal."
*Names have been changed for confidentiality purposes