Members of the community mental health charity Quing have shared their experiences of the support it has given them and how it helped them to help themselves and others. All stories have been anonymised.

My background is massively chaotic, with mental health problems, addiction, homelessness, isolation. I am sure that all of it was due to being sexually, physically, and emotionally abused as a child. I drifted from place to place and sought help time and time again.

I dealt with a lot of the trauma and got to a place where I was drink and drug free. Yet totally isolated from society. I often used professional services as a way of having human contact and meaningful conversation. Rather than sit in my flat and with my head spinning and go back into chaos. I tried by myself but soon realised I needed help, The GP just wanted to medicate me, there was a two year waiting list with mental health and I started to go down hill.

This year has been really tough, Covid brought home how isolated you can become, and since lockdown lifted finding work has been hard. Everything going online has been stressful and the pressure to get a job even when it has been really hard to get one has had a profound effect on my mental health. The online stuff just isn’t enough for me. Unless you can get motivated or have networking opportunities there isn’t a chance of getting work. It is getting harder and harder to find a job though coming to Quing and talking to other people in a similar situation makes it easier to cope with.

I felt welcome and supported from the first time I walked through the door. The change in my life has been truly amazing in such a short time. I am far less angry, in fact, I am calm and more confident and can meet the challenges of life. I am a better parent and partner. I can step back and support my children and partner rather than get sucked into the drama. Work-wise I have had the confidence to change my job which has radically improved the quality of my life.

If it wasn’t for Quing I am utterly convinced my mental health would have utterly collapsed and I am aware that there would have been a high likelihood that I would have relapsed back into the chaos of my old life. Losing everything.

It feels that I have finally realised that I have been stuck going for thirty years on meds and my life has been lived in ever decreasing circles. It is time to grow up, mature, and make progress in every area of my life. I am hopefully about to start a part-time paid job for the first time in decades.