"By speaking to someone else I could get everything out, it felt really good."

After losing her partner, 24-year-old Alice suffered from postnatal depression and grief.

But she found that support and kindess from her family and practitioner led to her improved health.

Now Alice, who lives in Sherborne, is speaking out about her experience in a bid to encourage others to seek the help they need this Mental Health Awareness Week.

“One month after my first child was born I started to suffer with depression and anxiety. I spoke to my GP about it and they suggested I use the Steps2Wellbeing Service to receive support.

“I was receiving Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) over the phone at first for around seven months as logistically it suited me. I had a bit of anxiety over leaving my kids to attend appointments and I was able to stay at home with them and speak to someone over the phone. Later I had face to face sessions as my mum helped baby sit, the service worked around my childcare needs and even offered for me to bring my youngest in with me if I needed to.”

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is a goal-oriented psychotherapy treatment that takes a hands-on, practical approach to problem-solving. Its goal is to change patterns of thinking or behaviour that are behind people's difficulties, and so change the way they feel.

“In January last year my husband had a car accident and passed away in February of that year. I went back to see someone in May to continue my CBT and they recommended that I work with a counsellor and that’s when I started IAPT therapy.”

Dorset Society:

 

Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services provide evidence-based psychological therapies for people with anxiety disorders and depression.

“The counselling after my husband died really helped, it was good to have an outsider to speak to that wasn’t a friend or family member. I was reluctant to tell family everything I was thinking and feeling as I didn’t want to burden them, they were going through the same thing.

“It was reassuring to know that I could speak to Brenda once a week and have that support at the end of the phone as I am unable to see my mum or anyone in lockdown.”

Steps2Wellbeing support is available during lockdown via Attend Anywhere video consultations: https://www.steps2wellbeing.co.uk/do/digital_therapy_options/.

“Brenda from Steps2Wellbeing has been a huge support and really kind to me. Last week was my last session and she told me that she was proud of me that was really nice. I felt a massive sense of achievement that I am not the same person as when I started receiving support and that’s all because of the work we did together.

“I would say to any one that might be going through anything such as depression after having a baby or losing a loved one, don’t be scared, speak to your GP about how you are feeling and take the support. Once I admitted there was something wrong, it was a weight lifted, there is nothing to be ashamed of.”

 

Dorset HealthCare offers a range of mental health services. Find out more at https://www.dorsethealthcare.nhs.uk/health-visiting