Published on: 25th August 2023
Kate Bellamy, peer support worker in our Stockport community mental health teams, has shared the story behind why she took up the opportunity to join us and how she found that being around people with shared experiences really helped her own mental health recovery.
“In my own recovery, I found a lot of healing in a recovery college rather than in my consultant appointments. I think the reason for finding this sense of recovery is because I was surrounded by people like me, experiencing similar things who got where I was coming from. It gave a sense of community and a feeling of not being alone anymore.
“It made me think of my experiences not as something that has held me back, but something that could become a bit of a superpower. People with lived experience shaping what a health service does is really valuable because we are experts by experience and that helps those we care for feel heard.
“This makes the interventions we offer more effective and more efficient as we’re giving care which we’ve also been on the receiving end of. We bring a different perspective on what it’s like to be cared for which helps the care be more person-centred, it should be nothing about us without us.
“On a personal level, the experience has given me the chance to meet people and understand where they’re at and what makes life meaningful for them. Although we’ve all shared similar experiences, we’re all different people and our lives are unique, yet we all want the same thing – for life to be fulfilling.
“I love that we help people take steps towards achieving that. I’ve set up a weekly support group so there’s a safe space for people to come and talk about how they’re feeling, it’s been a really useful forum to find out what works best, what doesn’t and more in a non-clinical setting. We’ve become a real community.”