At university, Sophie was struggling to see where she fit in and how to cope with all the changes with her new circumstances. She was not a party person, and her introversion started to develop into anxiety which later led to her catastrophizing issues regularly, causing repeated panic attacks.
Sophie didn’t recognise that these issues were having such an impact on her until she spoke to someone at university and was advised to see her GP. She was then referred to our Richmond Wellbeing Service and received support to work through her issues and develop her own support plan to manage them. At the end of her treatment, she decided that she wanted to give back to others for the support she had received.
When she saw we were advertising for volunteer Youth Wellbeing Trainers, Sophie was excited. She felt that becoming a volunteer would be a challenge for her, but also a positive step in her recovery. Sophie was a perfect candidate to be a volunteer, as she had lived experience of mental ill health, and was keen to share her story to give hope and inspiration to others. She went on to complete her youth wellbeing training with us, developing her skills in delivering presentations, working with children and supporting vulnerable groups.
Sophie’s journey is particularly inspiring, as with her social anxiety she wouldn’t have dreamt that she would be able to talk to others about her problems, but now she feels amazing sharing her personal story widely with large groups of young people, to support and encourage them to look after their own wellbeing. She also now supports delivery of our youth peer group at a local university. As this was where she started to have problems herself, this is a particularly empowering way for Sophie to support others. Through her volunteer experience Sophie has developed new skills, and increased her confidence and self-esteem. She is now engaging regularly with other avenues of support that RB Mind offer and studying for her MA.