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Amy’s story

Founded in 2020, our Riverside Sanctuary mental health service has grown rapidly to support those in our communities whose lives are impacted by mental health struggles.

Amy is just one of many people who we are thankful for being able to support…

Amy came to her first meeting with our mental health service team with her mum. She had enjoyed school, and college, but now aged 18, she was struggling with anxiety and feeling isolated. She is autistic and lives with an obsessive-compulsive disorder. After arriving at our appointment, initially Amy wanted her mum to speak for her, but gradually began to talk for herself, explaining how she was feeling.

Amy is passionate about animals and her family and would like to eventually work in the animal care sector but was feeling anxious about doing things independently. It was agreed that we would meet Amy at her house for our second meeting so she was in a setting where she felt most relaxed. Amy said that she felt much more positive at our second meeting and happy that she had been heard, understood and not passed to another professional.

Together we discussed the situations that make Amy feel anxious and made a list of some of the feelings that she experiences in those situations. By making a visual list, Amy began to see how some of those feelings triggered others and became a chain reaction. Together, we were able to come up with methods Amy felt she could use to stay calm and distract from her anxiety. So helpful was it, that Amy was happy to take charge of the list and said she would add other strategies to it before we met next.

Our third meet-up was at a local animal centre where Amy was able to hold a guinea pig while we talked through the ideas she had added to the board. Amy was animated but showed no signs of agitation as she talked about how she had used some of the techniques we had come up with the previous week. She was particularly pleased with the strategies that she said were invisible and had meant she could stick in a situation that previously she would have felt compelled to leave. We talked about some volunteering opportunities that were available at the animal centre, and Amy was excited to find out more, saying that she hoped she would be able to take up one of the places. We will continue to meet up with Amy, but even after three sessions, Amy and her family say that they can see a positive difference.

If you know others in similar circumstances please consider our mental health service and get in touch for a no obligation chat.

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