Our participant ‘feels like who she’s meant to be’
Our participant was with the HeadsUp programme for several months during 2020/21. At the time she enrolled she was at a particularly difficult period in her life experiencing depression and with no friends or family around her, she was desperate for support.
Having previously worked and lived in her own flat in London, she had moved to a new town 3 years beforehand to join her partner. Her plan had been to find a job and meet new people establishing a new life but unfortunately things didn’t work out like that. In 2020 she was very depressed, out of work and in a relationship that had become extremely unhealthy. She felt alone and had no hope. This situation resulted in her attempting to take her own life.
She felt that her Dad and Nan must have been watching over her that night as she survived, and she feels that they were trying to make her see that it wasn’t her time. She says that she took that moment as her ‘wakeup call’, that she had to take a breath and do something to get out of the situation she had found herself in.
Having called 111 and been put in touch with a Mental Health Crisis team, she spoke to the people there about how she needed to remove herself from her current situation, find work and earn money to support that move. They told her about HeadsUp, and she quickly got in touch.
She first met with someone from the project in a local Costa Coffee, it was just for a chat about what the project could offer in the first instance. She was hoping to get help focusing on the steps she needed to make changes in her life, and knew that she needed someone to listen to her and talk her through the steps she needed to take to be able to work and become independent again. She felt that she would be more comfortable talking about everything that she had gone through with a stranger.
She immediately got on with the person she met, who subsequently became her Peer Support Worker (PSW). Having someone to talk to, who listened with no judgment was a turning point for her. The fact that she genuinely got on with her PSW was an added bonus, but she really felt like she was on her side and understood some of the stuff she had experienced. They met (or post Covid talked on the phone) and talked about what she wanted to achieve and what she needed to do to get there, and made a ‘plan of action’ which is exactly what she wanted!
Along with emotional and listening support her PSW also helped with practical job seeking tasks such as reviewing her CV, physically helping her to job search and talking through the pros and cons of opportunities that arose. She tried out in a couple of roles that unfortunately didn’t work out but with her PSW’s help she didn’t let this get her down and kept looking forwards.
At the same time as job searching our participant was looking at options of where to live as she knew she needed to leave what had become an unhealthy relationship with her partner, she wanted to put herself first. This was something that she needed to work through herself, but she valued her PSW’s encouragement to take time to think about her options and what made her happy.
Even with so much going on she has still made really good progress with her desire to get back to work. She has a great CV and knows how to use it, so is always job searching and looking into her options. She now has the confidence to do this independently having had several months of support from her PSW. She has moved to East London where she is determined to find a job and a flat and most importantly be happy, but she’s realistic that this will still be a step at a time. She says she feels “100% better, more me, more alive” and even her family have said to her that she sounds so much happier.
There is no doubt that our participant has completely turned her life around, from the very dark place she was in on joining the project to now, where she is taking charge of her life and what happens next, it’s such a fantastic achievement.
She’s thinking about perhaps doing a college course to upskill and give herself the potential to earn more, she considering the benefits of volunteering to get more hands on experience – essentially she is considering all options as she now feels able to look forwards. She said,
“I should be myself, be me. I feel like a confident woman, I’m not shy and I don’t want to worry about things that I can’t do anything about”
She reflects on the support from her PSW with great positivity both for the practical job seeking advice and the emotional and listening support. She felt that whilst her PSW listened and gave advice just as important was the sense that she was someone who was ‘on her side’ and didn’t judge her. In our participants words
“anyone who has [my PSW] is in very good hands”
“if it wasn’t for [my PSW] I wouldn’t be where I am now”
About the project as a whole she says,
“Everyone she has spoken to in HeadsUp has supported her and made her feel like who she’s meant to be”