Our next story this Mental Health Awareness Week comes from Elle who was suffering with PTSD; in her own words she tells us how the Wellbeing Programme helped her “stand on her own two feet again”.

Elle's story: The Wellbeing Programme – a critical 'stepping stone'

I am incredibly grateful that I was referred onto the Wiltshire Wildlife Wellbeing Programme. Before joining, my mental health had been very poor, as I had been suffering from PTSD for almost a year. I felt very lost and fragile. 

The programme gave me something to look forward to. After a 'getting to know you' meeting with some of the team leaders, I was excited and hopeful, for the first time in months, at the thought of the upcoming activities (wearing waders and repairing a local river, helping in a garden, forest and nature reserve). It was incredibly helpful for me to have some purpose and structure in the week again. Even when I was feeling awful I remembered that I had an activity to look forward to, with people who understood how I was feeling, all in a safe, interesting, different place.

Being outdoors, trying new things, having small achievable goals, being able to chat with others if I wanted to, having the space to be quiet if I wanted to, contributing to helping wildlife and other people, feeling safe and getting to know new people, all made a huge difference to my recovery and mental health. 

My close friends and family noticed a significant difference in me after I'd been going to the activities for a few weeks.

The confidence and growing energy that I gained from the Wellbeing Programme, led to me applying to be a volunteer at a local National Trust garden. For a few weeks I did both activities once a week, and then felt I had even more energy so started volunteering at my local shop, and started looking for paid work again. At this point I felt that the Wellbeing Programme had been a critical 'stepping stone' for me to be able to stand on my own two feet again, and that I was ready to finish with the programme and make a space for someone else to join, who really needed it. 

I am genuinely eternally grateful for the programme and all of the benefits that I've gained from being a part of it. I hope that it can continue for a long time to come, as it definitely works and is exactly what I needed to improve and help stabilise my mental health and overall wellbeing.

Name has been changed.

Get in touch

If you feel you would benefit from joining the programme, or know someone who might benefit, please get in touch with us. We run groups in Wiltshire and Swindon. Call the office on 01380 736098 or email us for more information.