Mental Health Awareness Week – Wendy’s Story

Mental Health Awareness Week – Wendy’s Story


The 18th-24th May is #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek for 2020. This year’s theme is kindness.

Many of us are worried about Coronavirus and how it will affect us and those we love. That’s why, this #MHAW, we encourage you to share your stories so others can see that they’re not alone in the challenges they’re facing.

We want to share with you Wendy’s story:

“When I first started attending Oakleaf I was in a deep depression, with high anxiety and strong feelings of isolation. So much so, I only left my flat to attend my part time job in a small shop.

That was until I was offered a place on Oakleaf’s watercolour painting class. When I arrived I was so anxious I just stood there until the art teacher told me where to sit. Within a few minutes of starting the carefully guided activity, I became so focused on it that all the chaos in my head drifted away, and I experienced some calmness for the first time in a long time. I gradually grew in confidence until I was helping the other students.

I later joined the yoga class, and began chatting with more people after the session. As I tackled my social anxiety, I started volunteering with a local organisation, helping to teach classes for people with mental health conditions, and I even enrolled on a counselling skills course.

When I learned that I would soon be made redundant, I asked to join the IT courses, where I was able to brush up on my out of date computer skills, and learn new ones, gaining OCR level 1 and 2 certification in IT user skills. One of the Oakleaf team helped me to write a CV (something I hadn’t done for more than 15 years), which helped me gain an interview for a wonderful job. I had needed to produce a PowerPoint presentation for the interview, which is something I had learned during the IT course.

I now have an exciting new career working in mental health, with the aim of helping and supporting other people the same way that Oakleaf helped me.”

In these times of uncertainty and isolation, community and kindness are needed more than ever.

Simply getting involved in the conversation surrounding mental health online can make all the difference. 

#BeKind #KindnessMatters #MentalHealthMatters

If you are able to donate to Oakleaf and help us provide much-needed support as funding sources vanish, we would be incredibly grateful! Donate to our Emergency Appeal here.

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