After reaching out to her local Councillor L was recommended to our service after suffering two bereavements in the previous two years. Following these bereavements she had sought support from her GP who hadn’t offered any counselling, just medication.  L was currently off work due to health problems and was looking for some support with her mental health, counselling for bereaved families and health and well-being activities.  She had worked at St Anne’s and is familiar with mental health issues, having suffered severe depression but felt she was coming out other side now. Walking had help L manage her mental wellbeing but back problems had restricted how far she could walk.

L was invited by the Coordinator to came down to a Community Plus Connect Session at The Crescents ‘Wonderful Wednesdays’ in Batley. They spent the time, chatting in a small group, playing a conversational ice-breaker game and a game of bingo, accompanied by light refreshments. The Coordinator also arranged to meet at Peer Talk at the Jo Cox House in Batley, where L was introduced  to the leaders. She then stayed for the session. L had found both sessions really useful and that she wanted to go again. The Coordinator kept in touch with L and shared some useful resources found via CRUSE bereavement service in Kirklees. The Coordinator felt these helped to give L further support to manage her mental wellbeing.

The initial Connect Session gave L more confidence, as they were all so kind and friendly and made her very welcome. She has since attended the ‘Wonderful Wednesdays’ a number of times on her own. The sessions can vary a lot and are led by the people who attend, the Coordinator has met L there whilst a history group were presenting photos of the area. She enjoyed this as her parents grew up in Batley. Attending the Peer Talk sessions each week has not only given L a safe space to talk in but has given her a sense of not being alone. She has also formed friendships from a regular core of people who attend the group. They sometimes go for a coffee after the session or meet up at other times. They have now got a friend What’s App group, so they can support each other outside of the session times. L has been approached by the leaders of Peer Talk to become one of the volunteer leaders of the sessions. She shows great empathy and listening skills and is always trying to help people come up with a solution to their problems. She is kind and calm and softly spoken and has been told she would make a great Peer Talk leader. They’ve offered to provide her with some talk leader training and support her on an ongoing basis to be a volunteer. L is going to start training soon. L gained some useful advice and guidance from the CRUSE bereavement service in Kirklees. This gave her some much-needed professional support.

L has gone from strength to strength. She meets up to socialise with the people she originally met at Peer Talk, and she also attends choir weekly with some of them. They support each other and she says they are all amazing. As her confidence has grown, she has accessed courses at the Recovery College, the last one being meditation. L is on the waiting list to become a YCC befriender and is just waiting for an appropriate match. She is also awaiting the next round of training for Peer Talk.