I had been going through a rough patch for the last few years and was diagnosed with depression. I hadn’t actually believed that mental health issues were real in the past until I experienced them for myself. My GP had prescribed two different types of medication to help me manage things better but for various reasons I didn’t get on with either of them very well. It was affecting all aspects of my life. I was not working and just felt desperate to get back on my feet and to be my old self again.
My GP referred me to the Social Prescribing project to see if they could help and I went into it 100% blind with no idea what to expect. But from my first meeting with my health and well-being coach I was immediately put at ease. We chatted about what had led to my diagnosis, completed some questionnaires together and then focused on what I could do.
We went through lots of options and things I could work on but she was very good at letting me decide what to do and going at my pace.
She sign-posted me to various things, including the gym; that was daunting as I hadn’t done anything like that for such a long time. Although I was nervous I gave it a go and it was great. It got me back to exercising again which helped me to feel better in myself. She also referred me to another agency to see a job coach which was a something of a turning point for me. The coach was very experienced and took her time to get to know me. It felt like I had someone on my side. Both my health and well-being coach and my job coach were excellent. They provided me with the right support and it was much better than going to somewhere like a job centre.
"They listened to me as a person, helped me to access different resources and supported me every step of the way."
Social Prescribing Impact
All of this has led to some really positive outcomes for me. Having got my confidence back I was able to secure a job and, amazingly, I am also managing my mental health without any medication.
Although I still have good days and bad days I have developed a much better understanding of myself and my mental health and certainly see the GP a lot less than I did.
I used to be quite harsh towards other people who said they had mental health problems. But now I have a much better understanding of mental health and of the impact it can have.
It’s hard to tell what I would have happened without the Social Prescribing project. I guess I may have got a job eventually but it would definitely have been a much slower process. On the other side of things, we were starting to run out of options for medication to it’s been great that I can now manage without them.
"I have come out of it in a much better position and feel a lot stronger. I can’t praise them enough. It was amazing to have someone really fighting my corner with me and genuinely trying to help."