Ever had more than just ‘one of those days’?
It’s easy to ignore our mental health – but it’s a big mistake to do so; which is why the Trust is working with counsellor Diane Stevens to make ‘talking therapies’ available to beneficiaries throughout the country. Read about how counselling helps.
Diane will be helping us set up a bank of qualified counsellors that you can talk to when times are tough.
How I got into counselling
Getting into counselling and psychotherapy opened up a rewarding career for me, after the birth of my daughters, but it nearly didn’t happen!
After a break from the world of accounts, I wanted to use the skills I’d learnt as part of my psychology degree so decided to volunteer for the newly founded Childline. Sadly, I didn’t live close enough to the place I’d need to cover, so I couldn’t get involved.
It felt a bit like that was that, but, as fate would have it, soon after this disappointment I met a lady in the gym who was on her second week of a counselling course at a women’s college in Washington, Tyne and Wear, and loving it. ‘There are still places available’ she said, ‘why not give it a go?’.
So I did.
When the 12-week course ended I carried on studying for four years and ended up on a placement in a young people’s charity – Aich– staying on after I’d qualified to eventually become Director. It was there that I met Cheryl Pinkney, who now works at the Trust.
Working with the Thalidomide Trust
When lack of funding caused the charity to close Cheryl and I went our separate ways but still kept in touch. I went into private practice and gradually expanded the business in Cambridgeshire and London, providing counselling to all kinds of people with all kinds of issues.
When the Thalidomide Trust consulted with beneficiaries about their mental health, providing access to counselling came up so Cheryl got in touch and asked if I would help.
So I did! I’ll be sourcing counsellors across the country to meet beneficiaries’ needs – doing all the necessary groundwork, like ensuring their premises have disabled access, that they are easy to get to (not everyone drives) and, most importantly, that they are fully qualified to help.
I was born in 1965 so was not threatened by thalidomide, but my brother, born in 1961, was. My mum took the drug for morning sickness but was so sick she couldn’t keep it down, and stopped. We’re very aware how lucky we’ve been so I’m very happy to be helping people who’ve had to face issues my brother could’ve faced.
Mental health is so important
Why else am I doing this?
It’s so important to look after our mental health, especially as life is so stressful these days. Children as young as seven are facing targets and deadlines at school; life isn’t as simple as it used to be.
Poor mental health can affect every aspect of our lives – our ability to enjoy ourselves, how and what we eat, our sleep, our ability to work and our relationships (it’s not easy being around someone who is down or depressed and tired all the time) – and ultimately it can lead to isolation.
It’s important, also, to notice how you’re feeling – are you always tired? Low? Do you find yourself withdrawing?
Our bank of counsellors will be able to help you with all your emotional and mental health issues. I can’t wait to get started.
Find out more