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.

I am a man with a huge history of drink and drug problems. I had tried all the other third sector organisations on Island and just could not engage with them. The label said one thing but what I found inside was completely different. My experience on island was completely different from any meeting I have been across in the UK. It was toxic and I just stopped going.

AA has been really good and truly helped, I have run meetings and have been the secretary. I got clean and dry through this. One of my friends at AA suggested I come down to Quing and I have been amazed by the synergy between the two systems. Even though they hold opposite ethos; private versus open and welcome

Why do I struggle to engage with organisations like this and the institutional world? Let me go back to my childhood, I was taken into care when I was small and then Children and Families sent me back to my mother. I was then abused in every way and things I said to one person was taken out of context used against me by another. I just don’t trust professionals or the government.

Quing is very much about having a voice, no restrictions, less structure, you are met as a person not a problem, it is friendly, easy-going, and welcoming.

It has worked for me because it helped me with my own issues by seeing the issues in others. By having people at different stages of the journey and just having a social space to talk, it reminds me of my own path.

If I had not found Quing I would be either in jail or dead. I would have gone back to my old ways of drug violence and gang membership. But I did find Quing, I am holding down a job, buying a house, and the most important part: I am being the best Dad I can be!

It is refreshing that Quing members are not siloed by diagnosis, you are just a community member. This allows everyone to mix and friendships to form. What I have found is I now have a social life again and a place to belong. I really enjoy coming to safe and normal things.