Hi I’m Sophie, I’m 19 and I live in Stroud with my mum and my two sisters.

I’ve struggled with my mental health for as long as I can remember. What with my parent’s divorce, and mum struggling to get work, life at home wasn’t so easy. We often relied on the Foodbank to eat, and I never really had the things that ‘normal’ teenagers have. No mobile phone, no new clothes, no going out with friends to the cinema.

Over time somehow I got it into my head that the other people at school didn’t really like me, not just that I wasn’t cool enough to join their groups but that I wasn’t a person worth spending time with.

When school finished, I was left to my own devices with no real support system or plan for the future. I started spending all my time at home, in my bedroom, on my own. Everyone else was too busy with their own stuff to notice that I wasn’t really around.

After a while, I started to feel really isolated and lonely. One day I managed to get up the courage to talk to my sisters about how I was feeling. They managed to persuade me to arrange to speak to someone professional about it all.

We didn’t really know where to start so I made an appointment with my GP, a doctor seemed like the right kind of person to ask to help with how I was feeling.

They suggested I try some mental health support from the NHS but to do that I  needed a phone, which I didn’t have.

I thought that was the end of it but they didn’t give up. Instead, they put me in touch with a lady who worked as something called a Social Prescriber. She sat me down with a cup of tea and talked about lots of different support options local to me. That’s when I chose The Door.

The first time I met with Mike at The Door I knew I had picked the right place. He was so friendly and caring. We talked about what was going on at home, how I was feeling and what was stopping me from getting on with my life.

To start with we met in person and Mike started helping me find my feet in the world again. He helped make arrangements for me to get my own phone so that I could have a telephone mentor from The Door.

I was so excited when I got my new phone (I may have screamed a little) and my new mentor called me for the first time that evening.

15 minutes a week doesn’t sound much but the mentoring calls were so useful. It gave me the space and time to talk things through, to understand my feelings and to learn to control them. Over time my mentor helped me find the strategies and tools I needed to deal with the challenges around me.

Mike was still helping me too.  He helped me get some ID and open my own bank account. Then we filled in paperwork together to get me some benefits that I was entitled to which meant I could help Mum with some of the food shopping and have a bit of money to buy my own clothes.

I felt so much more confident than before and I started going out and about in town again.

Because of the support from The Door, my mental health is so much better. It’s like I’m a brand new person, in a good way! I’m even taking steps towards creating a career for myself. I want to do something that will make other people feel happy. I never could of imagined how well I could be doing and I couldn’t be more grateful to The Door for everything they have done.

This December please consider making a donation to The Door’s Christmas Challenge appeal, where until 12pm on Tuesday 5th December your donation will be doubled by a local business or trust, meaning every pound will go twice as far. Find out more and donate today at thedoor.org.uk/christmas and help #KeepTheDoorOpen for young people like Sophie.

Sophie’s Story – Christmas Challenge 2023

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