BLOG: Steve’s Story

BLOG: Steve’s Story

Steve with the chair he upholstered

At Oakleaf, we are always encouraging people to share their stories and experiences in the hope it will encourage others to do the same. We feel it is so important to normalise those conversations surrounding mental health to help reduce stigma within our communities. 

We are therefore delighted to share Steve’s story with you all:

Steve has faced various challenges throughout his life but always found it difficult to ask for help. During the pandemic, he caught Covid, badly affecting his physical health. He then lost his job and that alongside growing health concerns and a serious heart problem, meant his mental health suffered even more.

After taking steps to get help, he found clinical support ineffective, and didn’t feel comfortable taking his prescribed medication due to side effects. He ended up being passed from place to place, felt like a ‘problem’, and didn’t trust anyone. No one was willing to fully listen or seemed to understand what he was going through, and he was at a very low place in life. He felt hopeless and couldn’t see any reason to carry on. His confidence was at an all-time low and he felt useless.

Steve was eventually referred to Oakleaf as a client and found the Upholstery course. He says, “Coming to Oakleaf has given me my self-respect back. It has saved my life”.

He looks forward to coming to Oakleaf every Tuesday to be creative, learn new skills and remember what he is capable of: “It is a time for learning but also laughter, friendship and fun; time to forget about the difficult things”.

He is gradually getting his confidence back and feels really proud of what he has achieved: “’Oakleaf has helped me beyond words. It has made me feel more human again”.

Steve also had kind words to say about Oakleaf’s Upholstery Trainer, Sarah: “Sarah is an excellent craftsperson but also really understanding, sympathetic and non-judgemental. When I talk to her it feels more like I am talking to a friend than a course leader. She gives me genuinely good advice and makes me feel safe and comfortable. I feel like one of the team!”

Steve is a little worried about ‘next steps’ once he has finished his course. However, Sarah has reassured him that if he is still in need of support, he can remain a client and access any of the other programmes we offer. He knows that being at Oakleaf keeps him well and hopes to join some of the activities available, ensuring Oakleaf remains part of his life, as long as he needs it.

We can’t thank Steve enough for sharing his story.

If you can donate to Oakleaf, you will be helping people like Steve access mental health, wellbeing and employment support. A donation of any amount makes a difference:

If you or someone you know is struggling with their mental health, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Help is always available. For more information about our Upholstery offering, please visit: and for general information about Oakleaf, visit: 

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