Shirley’s Mental Health Blog – March 2021

Read here for Shirley’s March Mental Health blog

Hi Everyone,

Throughout March, people we support and staff teams alike will be raising awareness about self-harm, and ‘making a change’. We have produced some resources and tips on how to deal with the very important topic of self-injury and self-harm.

Self-Injury resources:
• Watch the #NoHarmDone Things can change video here.
• Read Young Minds Self Harm blog here.
• Visit the Minds website here.
• Read the Mental Health Organisations self-harm booklet here.

Nola O’Connor from our Health and Wellbeing team introduces some handy tips on how we can make a change in this video.   The video involves people we support with lived experience of self-harm, as well as those who work closely with people that self-harm.
If you are interested in getting involved, please contact: Nola.O’

Personal Story
This month I would like to introduce you to Oliver. Oliver works in the Independence Planning Team (IPT) at Achieve together, and has very kindly agreed to share his own personal experience with mental health with what he calls ‘My story’. He says:

“Back in March 2019, I applied for a new job but was struggling with completing my 4-weeks notice at my existing job. I started becoming very low and depressed. I started showing behaviours, sometimes ripping out handover books due to them not being in the correct order or, putting dirty dishes in the correct order in the dish washer. I thought I had all sorts of different illnesses.

“I have always lacked in concentration, I have even crashed all of my cars! So, I began to seek reassurance, I started double checking everything and distracting myself doing in-depth cleaning on my days off. It got so bad that I had to take myself off to the cinema to stop cleaning due to finding it hard to relax. I had also become very irritable with my wife and we fell out of love. I felt very low due to friends not wanting to visit or spend time with me at work.

“I decided to stay with Achieve together and asked not to work in a couple of homes due to them making me feel lower. One thing I didn’t feel was suicidal, which I am happy to say is due to a loving family.

“I rang ‘Positive Steps’ which was a free service to help me with stress, low self-esteem and dealing with worry. It taught me a lot about CBT therapy. I really enjoyed my group therapy here.

“Once I completed all my therapy I broke down and cried, and told my teacher I was getting a divorce. I signed up to New Dawn Therapy 1-1 sessions, which has helped me very much. Around October time I had a family holiday which bought my wife and I back to true love again. We had missed out on quality time together for too long. After the holiday our relationship is getting stronger and stronger. I stopped my 1-1 in Feb 2020 and have not been back since.

“I now use audio books to support me, and Ant Middleton has been amazing in helping me build the confidence to learn about myself, control my emotions instead of letting them control me, and to take leadership over myself. Due to this in the homes I am now more confident, and a more confident person generally. I now use any of my negativity as fuel to gain confidence in the situation and talk to myself to help build this confidence.

“I have recently been approved to adopt a child, which I went to a panel of 14 and showed no negativity. I am now on a hunt to find our final piece of the puzzle to complete our family. I have realised its ok to have a bad day and to use tomorrow to make a better day. During my preparation of adoption I had to bring up about my dad where he abused my mum when I was still in my mum’s tummy. It was hard to bring it up but I remained confident all the way through.
Overall I am now a better person, and controlled by meds.”

Well done and thank you so much Oliver – for being brave enough to share this with us. You’ve come a long way and you should be really proud of your achievements. It is brave people like yourself that are willing to talk about their experiences that truly help break down the stigma and discrimination that many experience when they suffer with mental illness. I wish you luck and happiness in finding the missing puzzle for your family.

It’s wonderful to see that the ‘Health & Wellbeing Team’ have launched ‘A Time to Talk’.  This welcomes anyone who wishes to join every Wednesday, to chat informally, safely, and confidentially about feelings and thoughts of people we have lost.

See zoom meeting details below:
Wednesdays 2-3pm
Join Zoom meeting:
Meeting ID: 969 2597 9834

The first week of March is also ‘Eating Disorders Awareness week’ which is an international awareness event, fighting the myths and misunderstandings that surround eating disorders. Awareness is raised to spotlight the impact eating disorders can have on an individual and highlight what individuals, colleagues and employers can do to support someone’s recovery.

If you would like to get involved or find out more information about this here’s the link:

If you would like to contribute to the blog in any way, I am always happy to hear from you either by directly responding to the blog, or by e-mailing

Have a great March, and stay safe,