In this story: Mental health / Community Links Practitioners /

Denis tells of the vital support he's received from ALLIANCE Community Links Practitioner, before and during lockdown.

“I’ve got 13 different diagnoses. Chronic lung problems due to being exposed to asbestos for years. Physical injury due to industrial accidents. I take medication to help keep me breathing.

Linked to these are depression, anxiety, mood swings. I am someone who’s used to structure, working, routine. I worked since I left school. I struggle without that. From being fit to where I am now puts you in a very depressive place.

I started working with Emer this year. It’s a breath of fresh air, gets me up and going again. I was getting back out and about doing things. She linked me into a local garden project and took me along to a repair café. I have skills I can pass on from years working as a joiner and specialist furniture restorer – something to look forward to that will help me get back to my old self. She also sorted out renewal of my bus pass.

Just as I was starting to get things in place, coronavirus hit. It freaked me out at first. I went from getting out and about to nothing for three weeks. Phone calls from Emer since, have been vital in getting me through this.

I find it difficult to get to know people. I know when people aren’t right. From day one Emer has been amazing, very hard working, a godsend, the natural way she is with people. I never thought I could do it but she’s got me to open up.

Thank God my practice brought this in, they’ve been needing this for years.

What Emer does is a specialised thing. If she hadn’t been there I’d be seriously troubled now.

Working with her, the things we’ve put in place, has brought me to a place where I am optimistic, I’m actually buzzing! I can’t wait to start the garden project and repair café as soon as it’s safe to do so again.

That I can speak in sharing this story is due to the support you’ve given me and the ways yous are, without it I’d have been putting defences up.”

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