Sharing mental health journeys
Ajay [not his real name] is a man of Caribbean heritage in his late 30’s. After struggling with his mental health for some time and being frustrated with delays in accessing mental health services, which exacerbated a mistrust of the healthcare system, Ajay took the initiative to sign up for one of Vanclaron’s free interactive mental health support sessions. During this time, Ajay felt comfortable to disclose an attempt he had made at taking his life during his teenage years – something which he had not felt able to share with anybody prior to this. Ajay was able to describe the scenario and talk about what factors he found helpful or unhelpful. He was able to identify that isolating himself and not speaking to anybody impacted him negatively and felt comfortable to share with the group that he is now using prescribed antidepressants and has found this incredibly helpful.
Additionally, Ajay found it difficult at first to identify
self-management techniques for managing his mental health but was able to use the session content to identify helpful techniques such as listening to music and physical activity in outdoor spaces. Ajay shared this with the group and other attendees commented on how useful they found getting this insight from another service user who they find relatable and who has lived experience of the issues under discussion, rather than from professionals. Ajay also commented on how helpful he found identifying and disclosing the techniques during sessions, stating that his self-esteem benefitted from feeling able to be a champion for other people who are struggling with issues similar to his own.