I started volunteering for Glasgow City HSCP, NW locality in the year 2017. I had only just started on my journey to recovery and found it hard to believe that I would ever secure employment again. I was still suffering from low mood and panic attacks.
At the point of referral I really was at one of the lowest points in my life but in the last two years I’ve been given the tools to take far more control over my life.
I started out volunteering with the Smoke Free Services (SFS), supporting SFS practitioners assisting people to quit smoking. This was only for two hours a week but it really helped my confidence and eased some of my social anxiety. I later moved to support staff in the Health Improvement Team at Gartnavel Royal, West House in an administrative capacity. At first I was very nervous as it felt like a big leap from volunteering only two hours a week. However it was from here I was able to focus on my personal development and get involved in a number of other activities and duties.
I was being included in office life and was able to establish a meaningful role for myself, acquiring valuable skills.
Before I knew it was providing peer support to new volunteers, something I would definitely not have seen myself doing when I started volunteering. During this time I was also able to take full advantage of the NHS training opportunities allowing me to gain new skills which would be useful for the type of job that I wanted to do.
When I applied for a job I was offered a mock interview in the Health Improvement office…I now actually feel excited about the real thing!
The emotional support that I received from the Volunteer Co-ordinator, Health Improvement Occupational Therapist and the team was invaluable as well. It was not smooth sailing the entire time of my journey and there were many setbacks but each time I had one I received compassionate support free from judgement. I was also always given encouragement to pursue opportunities when I was not feeling self motivated for which I am very grateful for. The team also really went above and beyond helping me secure my own tenancy allowing me to have a more secure environment to live.
I am now working full time as a Peer Worker for a mental health charity and have my own tenancy. This is something I genuinely could not see myself doing 4 years ago. I really don’t think I could have done it without the support from the Volunteer Co-ordinator and everyone at the health improvement team at Gartnavel. For that I am very grateful.