Emma Hayhoe is a well-being coach at our Basingstoke well-being centre, supporting local people with mental-ill health

‘I work with a range of people on a 1-1 basis at the well-being centre, from those with anxiety and depression, to people diagnosed with personality disorders or schizophrenia – supporting them on their road to recovery. I’ve always been interested in mental health and helping people, so working as a well-being coach is the perfect fit.’

Having someone removed from the situation can make a real difference

‘Many people going through a crisis find it easier speaking to someone neutral about it, especially if they feel concerned about telling family members. Despite mental health being talked about much more openly these days, it unfortunately can still be a taboo for some people, making it harder for someone who’s struggling to know who to turn to. At the well-being centre, we offer a friendly and non-judgemental space where people can come and be open about anything they’re going though.’

We have lots going on at the well-being centre

‘As well as 1-1 sessions, we facilitate a variety of groups that I help to run. Mindfulness is a big focus at the centre, our creative writing group, for example, enables service users to use writing as an outlet to help with their recovery, and we have emotional support groups too where people can come and share how they’re feeling and how their week is going. We make sure everyone feels supported and encouraged.’

The more people talk about mental health, the better

‘Our outreach sessions are great – drop in sessions run locally in various public places such as the community centre and libraries. Anyone can come along to hear us talk and receive information and advice on mental health. With 1 in 4 people struggling with mental illness, it’s so important to get the message out there and talk about it, breaking down those taboos and letting people know that seeking support can be the first step in their recovery.’

Seeing people improve is so worthwhile

‘When I first talk with someone 1-1 who is so down and depressed that they can’t even contemplate joining a group session, to then, after working with them for some time, witness them gradually come out of their shell and build up their confidence – it’s amazing. Knowing I played a part in someone’s recovery is really special, it’s such a great part of the job.’

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