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Walks provide relief from isolation

Walks provide relief from isolation

Connecting with nature is said to be beneficial to mental wellbeing, and for one of Adullam’s service users in Derbyshire, regular walks by the river have played an important role in her recovery.

EB has struggled with her mental health since early childhood following the death of her mother, emotional and physical abuse, and lack of family support.

She has many unresolved issues, little understanding of the circumstances of her mother’s death and spent most of her teenage years in a psychiatric unit and residential care. She returned to the Bakewell area from another county to be closer to her family.

Until the first lock down in March 2020 EB seemed to be coping well, she had transferred to Derbyshire mental health services and had her first assessment at which she was allocated an Occupational Therapist. Sadly COVID-19 restrictions meant the service was inaccessible.

EB describes how she felt at that time. “March 2020: “I felt so hopeless, I was so isolated, I felt that no-one cared, it felt like groundhog, every day.

“I tried to reach out but couldn’t explain what was going on in my head I know I needed help but was unable to help myself, I got so wrapped up with my own thoughts I couldn’t focus on anything and lost all motivation to do even the most simple of tasks.

“Things started to build up. I felt so overwhelmed I lost confidence I was unable to go out alone my anxiety levels increased, the isolation was never ending and something I do not want to experience ever again.”

The only support available at the time was phone support, other than from Adullam’s Step Up service, which saw our My Life Coach organise COVID-compliant walks three times a week with EB. During the walks EB loved to take photos of the natural environment around her.

She explains how the walks helped her. “My support worker with Step Up came out to see me regularly. We met outside and went for social distance walks into Bakewell, mostly along the river. This got me out of the flat. I felt a bit better having some exercise, fresh air and someone to talk to.

Ducks by the river.

“Though not trained specifically with mental health, she would listen to all my problems in the best way she knew how, I felt validated and not crazy.

“She encouraged me to stop smoking weed as this was impacting on my mental health, I never felt judged for smoking it and was praised when I managed to quit. If I did not have this support through lockdown I do not know where I would be now.”

The support provided by Adullam focused on tenancy-related issues, Benefits, access to Mental Health Services and confidence-building.

As restrictions from the first lockdown started to lift, EB began to build a relationship with a neighbour. She began to go out socially which has been most beneficial as she now has a group of friends, a boyfriend and a network of support. All the young people living in her block are of a similar age and form part of her support bubble. Most were furloughed during the second lockdown so they could spend time together.

EB explains how she’s now feeling. “Things are much better now.  I have a good circle of friends who are very supportive and am in a relationship.

“I feel that I do have a future and have so much to look forward to, even though we are still in lockdown.”

Waterfall.

Step Up provides accommodation and support for 16 –24-year-olds in Derbyshire who are looked after children, care leavers and homeless young people under 21. It continues to provide floating support to EB and is immensely proud of the progress she has made, and of the My Life Coach who has worked with her.