I came across The Mary Frances Trust after I had a relapse in my mental health back in August 2021. I went to various drop-in groups and found these extremely helpful. Their Virtual Delivery Coordinator was very helpful and very welcoming. He was able to pinpoint me to some other practical things that The Mary Frances Trust could help me with too.
During my time with The Mary Frances Trust, I also heard about The Richmond Fellowship and attended a course that Angie ran and I found this extremely beneficial in relation to my mental health and it gave me some very good coping strategies. After meeting Angie, I found the Richmond Fellowship and The Mary Frances Trust groups memorable, and they helped me to get through a bad period in my life in August 2021. I stopped the groups for a while until my major relapse in February 2022.
In February 2022, I was sectioned under the mental health act and had a short stay on a psychiatric ward in Farnham Road Hospital, Guildford. During my time there, as part of my recovery, I started attending more and more of the support groups, courses, and drop-in groups. I found the courses run by Angie to be most helpful and they helped me to build my confidence and improved my self-esteem.
I returned home to a toxic environment but through doing the many courses at The Mary Frances Trust, I gained enough confidence to leave this toxic environment and fully concentrate on my mental health recovery. The Mary Frances Trust and the Richmond Fellowship groups were a crucial part of that recovery in many ways. Some of these ways are as follows:
· They gave me structure to my week
· They gave me a sense of belonging to a community which has become my ‘tribe’
· They enabled me to not feel so isolated
· They gave me coping strategies and a better outlook on life
· They gave me an open period of time, to open up with regards to how I was feeling, and I felt like I always had someone who would listen to how I was feeling and try and help
· They helped me to progress in my recovery quicker by providing courses that made my whole outlook on life change and they empowered me to make the change I needed to make
· They gave me a voice and listening ears when I thought no one was hearing me
· They gave me a safe haven during the week that really helped me to not feel so alone
Angie became a real support to me and kept me involved in the groups even though I was going through such a difficult time in my personal life. She would help me to remember what courses I was down to attend and would send me reminders if I forgot any. She could see I was struggling and really helped me to stay focused on my recovery. She really went above and beyond for me, and I will always appreciate all the time and effort she spent on me during such a challenging time in my life.
Through using the Mary Frances Trust and Richmond Fellowship well-being courses and support groups I have felt like my recovery has happened quicker than it would have done if I didn’t have them to attend. I really feel I have made some ‘virtual’ friends who I know understand what it is like to have to pull yourself up from your rock bottom – mine being ending up on a psychiatric ward under section and having all my freedom taken away.
These groups have really changed my life and I will forever be truly thankful for them. I will continue to attend them as long as I am allowed to and will always recommend them to anyone who has or is going through what I have been through with their mental health.
Contributed by Charlotte