Gavinder: “I would just like to thank CAPE for an outstanding service they provide for the community. CAPE helped me get my life back on track”
Douglas: “CAPE has provided me with a lifeline during a time of crisis”
I am a man in my late 50’s and have been coming to CAPE for almost a year now. I had to give up a job I loved shortly before I started coming to CAPE due to the impact my mental health issues were having on my work.
The CAPE service has provided me with a lifeline during a time of crisis. I come to the centre at least twice a week and feel part of the CAPE community. I am a regular attendee of Stuart’s Recovery Group and every week I do a stint as a volunteer helping out in the CAPE back office. I also work regularly in the CAPE café kitchen. The voluntary work that CAPE has provided for me has helped me to learn vital new skills as well as regain some of the self-confidence that I had lost as a result of my illness. It has made me realise that there is more to me than my mental illness diagnosis and that despite my challenges, I can feel a part of things and make a valuable contribution to something.
It is hard for me to imagine now what my week would be like without the structure that CAPE provides me with in terms of voluntary work and accessing its therapy groups. CAPE has become a regular fixture in my life. It encourages me and provides the support I need to get on with life and make the most of things despite the challenges that my mental health presents me with.
Sarah: “I have been reflecting on how much the support of CAPE has helped me in recent times”
I am a 56 year-old disabled woman who has been receiving outreach support from CAPE for the past 3 years. I have found the support of my CAPE outreach worker a lifeline in recent times as my mobility has rapidly reduced and this has impacted my self-esteem, something that is already severely compromised due to my recurrent depression.
I have been working with my current CAPE outreach worker for the past 18 months. During this time, my mental health has steadily improved to the point where I have regained some of the self-confidence I had lost in recent years and believe once again that my life has a valuable meaning and purpose. And all this has happened within a context where I have lost much of my physical independence.
Two years ago I was rocked by the death of my beloved pet dog who had been my soul-mate and loyal companion for the past 18 years. I quickly became something of a recluse as I retreated from the world in the aftermath of my loss. My CAPE outreach worker has worked steadily with me since then to help me process my grief and get me to the point where I feel I have a reason to get up in the morning, and I am enthusiastic about engaging with other people and making the most of what life has to offer me. I am getting out and about more than I used to and have been out on my own on various occasions, something I had not done for a long time. I have been meeting new people and I have been on a holiday for the first time in eight years.
Best of all, I have a new canine companion in my life. I took in a refuge dog a few months ago. As he and I are getting to know each other and building our new life together, I have been reflecting on how much the support of CAPE has helped me in recent times and how bereft I would have been without the organisation’s assistance.
Raja: “a year ago I would never have believed that I could be where I am now … I feel much happier and I am feeling hopeful for the future.”
I am a single man who recently turned 30 years old. I had been living with a severe mental health diagnosis since 2004. Despite having my family around me, I was living an isolated life. I was medicated in 2012, after which my confidence and self-esteem hit an all time low. I stopped taking care of my hygiene and spent all of my time in bed. My family became frustrated with me and I became further isolated from the world around me.
I was referred to CAPE in 2013 and was allocated an outreach worker. From here, things started to change. I started meeting my outreach worker on a weekly basis in a social environment, such as a coffee shop, which prompted me to shower, dress and get out of the house. During these sessions, I was supported to reflect on my feelings and to identify problems, as well as to come up with different ways to overcome them. Together, we started to establish goals and things started to become more hopeful. My confidence began to grow and I was really supported to challenge myself to overcome barriers and to achieve the goals that we had set out.
Within a year of being referred to CAPE, I was given the opportunity to fulfil a volunteering role at the service. I assisted in café duties, worked in the kitchen and helped out with administration duties. Volunteering gave me structure, routine and responsibility and subsequently my self-esteem and self-worth lifted significantly. I would definitively recommend volunteering to help in the recovery of anyone who has experienced setbacks as a consequence of mental health problems. From this point, I was supported to quit smoking, performed a piece of my own rap music on stage in Kings Cross, and I designed a brand logo and am exploring possibilities of developing a printed t-shirt sideline business.
I have attended college and will be working towards GSCE qualifications. I have also applied for a Teaching Assistant programme, with a view to working in schools one day as well as securing part-time employment in retail. I have been improving my health and wellbeing by monitoring my nutrition and incorporating regular exercise into my new lifestyle.
I credit my outreach worker for all of her help and encouragement. A year ago I would never have believed that I could be where I am now. Today, I feel much happier, my relationships with my family have improved and I am feeling hopeful for the future.
Alya: “my mental health issues still present me with daily battles but with [CAPE’s] support and encouragement, I have a positive outlook on life and am curious about what the future has in hold for me“
I am a single woman in her 40’s living on my own. I was a professional working-woman with a well-paid job with lots of responsibility before I began to suffer from severe mental health issues that eventually led me to stop working. I lost all my self-confidence and became completely isolated, a prisoner in my own home for several years, only ever leaving to attend hospital appointments or do grocery shopping.
My outreach worker has been visiting me for nearly a year now and has proved an indispensable ally on my road to mental health recovery. I really look forward to her visits. She has been instrumental in building my confidence and helping me believe that I can have a bright future and that I have what it takes to get better and get back into the world of work. When she visits, sometimes we stay indoors, cook something interesting and healthy together and have a chat about what’s been on my mind over the previous week or two. At other times, we may go to a shopping centre together or go for a long country walk, things I would previously have been far too nervous to do on my own. She has expanded my view of the local world around me and helped me to re-engage with it. In addition, I have undertaken the occasional shift in the CAPE café kitchen and worked in the Churchfield Road charity shop.
My mental health issues still present me with daily battles but with my outreach worker’s support and encouragement, I now have a positive outlook on life and am curious about what the future has in hold for me.