I am hopeful for my future. I love being out of hospital, I love meeting my friends.

open palms with yellow flower in the middle

Mental health problems affect 1 in 4 people every year. With the help of our residents, we are hoping to break down the misconceptions surrounding mental health, autism and learning disabilities and help people to access the support they need. One of our residents from Merchants House wanted to share their mental health journey. Here is OA’s story and his advice to anyone who might be struggling:

What really helps me when I am struggling

Talking to staff, talking to friends and family, having a joke, being polite with people.

My advice to someone struggling with their mental health would be

It will get better. Use relaxation and coping mechanisms if you have them. Listen to music or do things you enjoy like playing on the computer, watching TV etc. See people and do activities to help you.

How I would like people to treat me and others with mental health conditions

With respect. Be polite. Give people space if they need it. Be understanding and talk to people who are struggling, try and cheer them up.

My goals for the future

To have my own place. I have passed my CBT motorbike course and I would like to get a voluntary job. I am hopeful for my future. This is the first time I have been in the community, I love being out of hospital, I love meeting my friends.

My journey to Northern Healthcare

I had a 12 week transition period from hospital which helped me get to know the staff, the building and the local area. I liked this, I would have got lost otherwise and it was better for me to do this transition period. I was nervous when I first moved in especially with meeting new people. I started to build trust and get to know people and this helped. I get to do lots of things myself and I am getting there now.

How I feel when I am treated differently

When I was younger, there was a lot of racism and this made me angry. I didn’t have many friends, it was hard for me. I missed a lot of school and people didn’t understand me.

I first realised I had difficulties with my learning and anxiety when

I was 14 years old. I struggled with reading and writing and met bad people. When I turned 18, things turned around. I did anger management and stress management work. I built up my education when I was in hospital. I wouldn’t be where I am now if I hadn’t been given these opportunities.

If someone asked me for help, this is what I would say

Speak to your social worker and ask for advice. People can give you advice and be there for you but at the end of the day, it’s your choice and up to you to make that decision. I used to not want to ask for help, I didn’t want support at first and thought it would stop me moving forward, but it’s actually really helped me and it means I can do the things I want to do. I no longer need my medication due to doing the work and learning my coping skills. I keep myself busy and have people who I can have a conversation with if I am struggling.

My message to people who may be having difficulties with their mental health

Ask for help. You might think this is a bad thing but it isn’t. It is better having the help and there is a lot of support out there if you need it. With the support, things get better and you won’t always need it.




Photo by Lina Trochez on Unsplash

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