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Ann Marie’s Story: Annual Review 2021 – 2022

Ann Marie Seasalt and national Mind partnership photoshoot

Peer Support has been an increasingly important service across our adult and young people’s services. It is a way of ensuring that lived experience is valued and can be used to support others. Our groups during this period have gone from strength to strength with 136 sessions being delivered over the course of the year.

Ann Marie describes her experience

This is my story.

“I have suffered with my mental health for years. Things came to a head in early 2020, when after a long period of depression, I took an overdose of my antidepressants. I ended up being sectioned for 5.5 weeks on a mental health unit where I was subject to physical and mental abuse and neglect from the staff.

I have recently been diagnosed with PTSD as a result of my experiences whilst sectioned, I have also recently been diagnosed with Bipolar – which explains a lot!

I have reached out for support in the past and have completed Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and 5 sessions of talking therapy, which did appear to help at the time, but I found myself desperate for help whilst having a manic episode in February this year and I reached out to Manchester Mind.

I had heard about Manchester Mind in other mental health online forums – people had shared their experiences with them, so I reached out and in June this year I began attending peer group sessions.

I only attended two sessions then I had another low Bipolar episode and I stopped attending. I was going through a really hard time but I didn’t feel confident enough to come back to the group and my mental health spiralled. My psychiatrist increased my medications and I began to improve but I still wasn’t confident enough to return to the group. It was only after a lovely message from our group leader asking how I was and that the group were there for me that I gained enough strength to get back on my laptop and join the group again.

That was six weeks ago, and again one of the best decisions I have ever made. This group is my lifeline, a safe space where I can discuss my feelings, problems and mental health and know I will be heard with no judgements. The group has helped me through some very dark days, and I will be forever grateful.

The problems and advice shared in the group have given me tools to better my mental health – so along with my therapy tools I am becoming better at managing my mental health and feel able to reach out more when I am suffering. I believe the mental health system needs vast improvements. I have had little or no support from my local authority and this needs to change – NOW!

Manchester Mind and other charities do vital work and offer support that the mentally ill need and deserve and they should be commended”

Find out more about our peer support groups for adults and also young people (18-24).


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