Thursday 6th February is Time to Talk Day 2020. Started by Time for Change, the day encourages the nation to get talking about our mental health, which is often considered a taboo or awkward topic of conversation. It is estimated that 1 in 6 people around the UK will have experienced a mental health issue at some point in the past week, with depression and anxiety being the most common issues ( Time to Talk want to break that stereotype and make it easier for mental health to be discussed.

Step Forward Tees Valley wants to encourage people in the Tees Valley to get chatting about their mental health. Our bespoke support can help people to overcome mental health barriers that may be preventing them from moving on with their lives. One of our participants has shared his story so that others who may be in a similar position can understand how SFTV can help.

One participant had become lonely and depressed due to the breakup of a long term relationship, and although he was working, he had got into the habit of having a drink once he got home from work. This escalated and he soon found himself drinking a bottle and a half of vodka each night, so was then unable to go into work. He would drink a bottle of vodka and then go to the shop on the morning and top up with another half bottle. This was draining his money and he found himself getting into debt and missing payments on several bills, and was making his mental health issues even worse. He was desperate and distraught that he had got into a situation that he did not know how to get out of. His initial meetings were very emotional with many shed tears, and he knew he really needed help to get his life back on track. 

The participant met with his navigator, Carol, and was then introduced to a member of Mental Health Concern, Lydia, who could help him further. As the weeks went on Lydia attended the GP with the participant for his depression and got him on some medication, then she attended CGL with him to support his alcohol addiction.  His family – his mum, sisters and nieces- are so proud of him and he said that they have mentioned that they cannot smell alcohol on him anymore. Carol has been able to sort out accumulated debts (with the help of Middlesbrough Citizens Advice) and the participant is now almost alcohol free- he is not dependent upon it now and feels much better in himself and clearer headed. He is enjoying life much more now, is coping with his mental health issues and would like to think that he can get back to work in the near future.

The participant said that he did not know how he would ever have got where he is without his Navigator and Health Link worker, and thanks them for their support. He also said how impressed he was with Caroline from Middlesbrough Citizens Advice- the participant said that he feels in a much different place now and would not be here if it wasn’t for Step Forward Tees Valley.

If you share a similar story to our participant and feel like Step Forward Tees Valley could help you or someone you know, please get in touch today- it’s #TimeToTalk.