“I had given up hope of enjoying life until I came here”

How a mental health project commissioned by MHCC has helped changed one person’s life.  Told in his words, John describes what the Moodswings Recovery and Isolation project has done for him.

John was keen to be as well as possible and to reach his aim of leading what he referred to as a ‘normal life’. John joined the Moodswings Recovery and Isolation project on the recommendation of his GP as he had struggled with severe depression for many years, and had recently been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. For him, a normal life meant becoming part of the community again as his severe mental health problems had meant he had become isolated for a number of years and had not worked or socialised.  John lacked confidence in his ability to make friends or relate to other people and had spent almost six months in hospital around the time of his diagnosis.

Moodswings works with people experiencing severe and enduring mental health problems, and this project specifically aimed to tackle isolation and increase independence.

John benefited from one to one support and gradually became confident enough to join the litter picking group. He enjoyed being outdoors but was finding it hard to mix in a group.  He also then gained hugely from a social skills course which gave him the confidence to talk to others.  During this, John met Ben who has been in recovery for a number of years and as one of the newly trained volunteers, was able to support John and encourage him in his own recovery journey.

John also took part in the gardening group, tree planting, and the walk and talk group.  He was also able to take part in a Moodswings mental health awareness course, talking about his own experiences of mental health in order to reduce stigma and ignorance.

Over the course of the project, Moodswings have brought independence and a role in the community to at least 200 people who described themselves as isolated and dependant. They have also trained 70 people in social and life skills, and confidence building, and supported 50 people in returning to work or volunteering. Closer links have been made with the local community including the Friends of Angel Meadow group who have allowed Moodswings to create a planting area.

John’s confidence has improved a great deal. He now socialises, is more active and has taken up a voluntary role in Manchester while he works towards entering the workplace once again.  The project has given John the confidence to feel that he can aim for a life which he once thought was no longer within his reach.

Moodswings has shown me how to manage my symptoms, like myself, and find friends who like me too. I know that I will soon feel ready for work again and the future seems full of possibilities. I had given up hope of enjoying life until I came here” John

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