Having experience of mental or physical health problems is tough, but it doesn’t have to define who we are. Our friends at Alliance Scotland are running Self- management week from 29th September to 3rd to celebrate the people who are finding ways to manage their own lives and take control of their health problems.
This year’s theme is volunteering. We couldn’t agree more that volunteering can be an important part of improving physical and mental wellbeing- just ask our community correspondents! If you volunteer to self manage or have volunteers who are part of your self management work, why not take a photo about what volunteering means to you and share it on Twitter using the #selfmanagement hash tag? Here’s Lisa’s story of self-management to give you some inspiration.
‘Volunteering has made me a braver person and has allowed me to own my illness rather than seeing it as a flaw……’ Lisa Cameron
Lisa lives with depression and anxiety, which have been present for nearly twenty years and has been diagnosed for thirteen. Pre diagnosis Lisa lived poorly and very unhealthily, trying to keep her symptoms undisclosed but after the birth of her first child she was no longer able to continue concealing her condition. The diagnosis was the start of Lisa’s recovery.
Lisa’s condition was initially controlled with medication and aided by family support. One year into recovery she was practising a good routine with her anti-depressants and started to attend counselling. Lisa now had an appetite to learn as much as she could about her condition and attended night classes- gaining two counselling qualifications and studied for a higher in Mental Health Care before ‘finding’ the Hope Cafe.
What self management means for Lisa
Lisa thought she was living well and self managing until she completed the WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Planning) training. Despite her keenness to learn more about her condition it was this training that really gave her the power to take control and to learn how to help others.
Lisa came across the Hope Cafe through a friend, who knew the project was coming to a supermarket in Hamilton to raise awareness. Lisa has experience of support work but after meeting the project she knew helping other people with mental health conditions was her passion, so began to complete the training enabling her to provide peer support. Lisa has completed WRAP, ASSIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training), Safe Talk and SMHFA (Scotland’s Mental Health First Aid Training). Volunteering has allowed Lisa to experience first-hand the positive consequences of sharing and listening to others. Equally, Lisa too has felt the positive effects of volunteering and believes ‘doing good, does me good.’
Lisa believes that volunteering with the Hope Cafe has really helped her recovery as she always knew this was something she wanted to do but just didn’t know how to go about it. She is learning so much and believes her new skills make her so much more informed and has gave her the confidence to speak out and tell people about her story. Furthermore this confidence she has gained through undertaking training opportunities at the Hope Café led to Lisa being successful in securing a job with LAMH (Lanarkshire Association for Mental Health)
Lisa has plans to continue with more training and aspires to be a Safe Talk trainer in the future. She looks forward to the day when the Hope Cafe accomplishes their goal of achieving their own premises and would love to see the project reach Stonehouse (where she lives).