“Getting the support I needed was hard. I was diagnosed with PTSD, anxiety and depression; this diagnosis led me to get help from a support worker, who then directed me to Oakleaf. This has been challenging to deal with alongside my epilepsy since birth and type 2 diabetes for about five years now.
“I have been a client at Oakleaf for a number of years and their support is brilliant. I volunteer at their IT Department and choir, as well as attending weekly counselling sessions with their team. I find it hard to deal with new people, which is why Oakleaf is so unique. I also attend the Oakleaf choir which has allowed me to meet new people.
“I find filling in forms difficult, but I have had plenty of support from the Oakleaf client services team and found their help to be invaluable. Oakleaf is a safe zone for me; being attacked in the past has caused me to avoid going out as much, except for when I am going to Oakleaf or to a friends or family’s house. I used to have to use the bus before I started attending sessions at Oakleaf as before I would not go out at all on my own. I can now travel to familiar places like town and walk to Oakleaf as long as I have my headphones plugged in as a distraction from my anxiety and panic attacks.
“I get counselling once a week from Oakleaf which helps a lot to talk about what has been troubling me. This has been a big challenge, as meeting new people can be hard at times due to mental health problems, but having people that I know I can trust has made me feel safe, and I would not have been able to participate in any of their activities if it wasn’t for the continued support from all of the staff at Oakleaf. I know the people there now and that if I need help, there is always someone I can talk to.
“I definitely feel that there is still lots of stigma in the community surrounding mental health. When I mention my mental health issues to people, I feel as though they can sometimes look and react to me as though I am different. So, I believe it is incredibly important that we continue to raise awareness and reduce stigma as much as possible.”
– Current Oakleaf Client