“I was in a storm and Action Mental Health was the port which sheltered me”

My name is Colin.  I was first introduced to AMH in 2016 due to suffering from depression…

Colin is pictured in the middle with Stephanie AMH Employment Officer and Keith AMH Skills Coach – Horticulture

Let me tell you a little about me……  I was a married man with 4 children and worked in various catering roles as a chef.  I worked endless hours to provide for my family.  My marriage however ended  and I found myself having to rebuild my life.  I continued to work as a chef and found my life starting to improve.

In 2016 a tragedy struck my family when I lost my brother to suicide.  This caused a major set back for me in terms of my mental health.  I struggled to come to terms with this and found myself feeling angry with life in general.   I found myself unemployed and alone and falling deeper into depression.

On one of my many visits to my GP, the subject of Action Mental Health was raised.  I was reluctant to go as this meant I had to admit to having a mental health problem.  I was met by Joanna (Client Development Co-ordinator – AMH New Horizons Downpatrick) who made me feel welcome and introduced me to all the staff members.  I remember going to the garden centre and spoke with Keith and thought “I could do this”.

Before I knew it I was attending AMH garden centre 3 days per week.  I found that it was very beneficial as I was able to work on my own (if I wanted), I was getting fresh air and also learning new skills as well as meeting new people.  I also engaged in the WRAP programme, First Aid, ECDL basics and finally NVQ Level 1 Horticulture.

In 2018 I had another set back as I suffered a heart attack.  After a few months I returned to AMH who were supportive in helping me get my routine and structure back on track. 

In 2019 I decided that I would like to return to catering.  I found a job in Tels Coffee Shop which was close to home.  I enjoy going to work each day and I work with a fantastic team of people.  Stephanie the Employment Officer continued to support me to help me settle in until I found my confidence again.  I found this support to be beneficial and comforting knowing I had help when I needed it.

So to sum it all up….  I was in a storm and Action Mental Health was the port which sheltered me.  The staff were amazing and always took the time to speak to you.  AMH give me a sense of security and I enjoyed attending week to week.  A great bunch of people who will go over and beyond to help you in any way.   I truly believe “AMH saved my life”.

Thanks to Colin for sharing his story. Colin took part in the Working it Out Project with is part-funded by the Northern Ireland European Social Fund Programme 2014-2020 and the Department for the Economy.

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Step inside Action Mental Health and you'll find talented people working together to improve the lives of everyone living with mental health needs.

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