I was first referred to Westbank by my Doctor after saying how isolated I was following graduating university and unable to find work. I had lost contact with all my friends, was unsupported by family, lost all confidence and motivation/self-worth to carry on, and decided that I would commit suicide after my sister had graduated university the following July. I was on a form of anti-depressant that I didn’t think was working, but I didn’t feel it was worth going back to my Doctor to try a different kind.

I was assigned a mentor through Westbank, who I felt listened to me and made more of an effort to understand what I was going through than I had experienced with GPs and therapists who I found condescending.

A few months into supporting me, my Mentor helped me find a volunteering opportunity with the charity. Volunteering gave me a reason to leave my house and actual work experience, which I could reflect on when writing a CV. It also forced me to interact with new people, which helped because my social skills had deteriorated after not being used and the issues I was having with my self-esteem making me feel that no one cared about what I had to say.

My Mentor also helped me contact an organisation that helps unemployed people find work. I worked with them to improve my CV and gain some interview experience. With their help, support from my Mentor, and the experience from volunteering, I gained employment.

Since graduating, and when I was first referred to Westbank, I had been very isolated. After finding employment, I had disposable income, which I could use to engage in hobbies that encouraged social interaction. I am now a member of several hobby-related groups, and although the COVID19 situation has meant we haven’t been able to meet face to face for some time, it is something I can look forward to.

While I’m not entirely through my mental health issues and am still taking anti-depressants, I am now in a better place than I was when first referred to the program, and I know that there is still support for me at Westbank and with my Mentor.