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