Amy's story...

Year of Wellbeing blogger Amy has found sharing her story online has been the best route for her to care for her own wellbeing. She has also set up her own blogging space, where you can find out more about her interests and experience.

Read Amy's story here...

Gaynor's story...

Year of Wellbeing blogger Gaynor knew she needed to understand her condition. Now she has used her experience to help others understand the illness, too.

Read Gaynor's story here

Jess's story...

Jess shares how she has slowly but surely made changes to her life to help her to manage her mood and improve her life.

Read Jess's story...

Lisa's story...

Lisa has changed her life by changing her use of alcohol. Now she wants others to know they can make a change that suits them, too.

Read Lisa's story...

Amanda's story...

Amanda has found that her job means she is sat for long periods, which can be bad for her. But she has found ways to deal with this, including standing up for herself...

Read Amanda's story...

Jayne's story...

Jayne has been involved in Girl Guiding since she was 10. Now she finds volunteering is a great way to help look after herself, as well as helping other people.

Read Jayne's story here...

Alison's story...

Alison helped promote healthy living during Cycle to Work Week, and described the benefits for her of taking part in exercise regularly.

Read Alison's story here...

Lauren's story...

Lauren experienced crippling anxiety that resulted in her giving up her dream job as an events manager. She always enjoyed walking the family dogs, so her therapist actually advised her to ‘be more dog’! Now she is fighting back using the exercise, fresh air and pet therapy to help her. Now she is also getting back into events management again.

Read Lauren's story here...

John's story...

Everyone has their own story to share about ways they have found to care for their own wellbeing, and the wellbeing of other people.

A team of bloggers have agreed to describe their personal journey. We hope their stories help and inspire others during our Year of Wellbeing.

Read John's story here...



Michael's story...

There are 6.5 million people in the UK who are carers, looking after a family member or friend who has a disability, mental or physical illness or who needs extra help as they grow older. A new survey this year suggests one in three carers feel socially isolated, often feeling unable to talk to people around them about their caring responsibility.

Michael is a manager at the Carers’ Trust Heart of England, based in Coventry, and is a carer, too. But that’s not quite how he sees it…

Read Michael's blog here...



Hannah's story...

Hannah is a carer for her husband, who has dementia. She describes how it felt to discover her husband was unwell, and then to get a diagnosis that has helped them plan for the future together. Most of all, she explains that by seeking out the help available to her, she has been able to take better care of herself, as well as her husband.

Read Hannah's blog here.


Natasha's story...

year of wellbeing blogger RuthNatasha is now familiar with her depression, which she describes as wrapping itself around her like a scarf.

She has recognised that she might never be rid of it altogether, but that there are very practical things she can do to manage the impact it has on her life.

Read Natasha's blog here.





Danielle's story...

year of wellbeing blogger DanielleDanielle has found a new remedy that has helped her overcome a tough time at work that left her run down and depressed...mountain biking!

She has found that getting outdoors, being with others and focusing on mastering tough terrain has helped her put troubling thoughts into perspective.

Read Danielle's story.



Paul's story...

Year of wellbeing blogger PaulPaul found volunteering for Springfield Mind has helped him find a way to help others and help himself.

Giving his own time has helped him connect with others and has given him an interest that he would otherwise have lacked.

Read Paul's blog here.






Mel's story...

Year of wellbeing blogger Mel

Mel Barratt is a Paralympic Gold medal winning swimmer ​from Kenilworth, who is fundraising for British Blind Sports this year in the London Marathon - which will be her first ever marathon.

As she is registered blind she has a running partner - her husband Richard, and he hasn't run a marathon before either.

At school, Mel was never involved in sport. That all changed when British Blind Sports visited school and demonstrated how she could get involved.

Eventually, she became an international swimmer and won gold, silver and bronze medals for GB at Atlanta and Sydney, as well as carrying the Olympic torch in 2012.

She said: "There are a lot of children and adults isolated because of their visual impairment. I found there are social as well as health benefits to taking part in sport, and that was only possible for me because of British Blind Sports. I was so fortunate to have all the opportunities I did. I just think the more people hear about stories like mine thanks to initiatives like the Coventry and Warwickshire Year of Wellbeing, the better. The thing is, you never know what you can achieve until you give it a go."

Read Mel's blog here.


Sam's story...

Year of wellbeing blogger SamSam works for children's physical-activity charity Kids Run Free, an organisation supporting the Year of Wellbeing and helping to get children moving.

Sam is passionate about encouraging children to live active lifestyles but at the same time battles with her own demons, which she writes about in her honest blog post.

Perhaps Sam will inspire you to make your pledge for the year to take up more exercise. Or maybe you can encourage others to start!

Read Sam's blog here.


Jackie's story...

Year of Wellbeing blogger JackieJackie Skipp is the Wellbeing Co-ordinator for ConnectWELL. She has been employed by the organisation since April 2018; prior to this, she volunteered for ConnectWELL as an admin volunteer, and has volunteered for most of her life in many roles, predominantly for animal charities. Jackie has always lived in Rugby and although she harbours a deep yen to live near the sea, is worried she would miss Rugby too much. Her loves in life include family, live music and swimming, particularly outdoor swims.

Read Jackie's blog here.


Simon's story...

Year of wellbeing blogger simon‘You’ve got cancer.’

Do those chilling words mean your life is over? That’s the situation Simon found himself in. But with great determination, he has found a way to overcome enormous odds and a life-threatening condition.

For him, it’s been about being active and taking control. He completed the London Marathon just 18 months after a bone marrow transplant, and has represented his country in international sports competition.

Simon hasn’t let a diagnosis and serious illness define who he is, and his story is inspirational. He found a way to make a change in his life. Maybe you can make a change in yours?

Read part one of Simon's blog here.

Read part two of Simon's blog here.

Read about Simon representing Team GB.


Jade's story...
Year of wellbeing blogger Jade

Jade was a university student when she was struck by a debilitating eating disorder that threatened not just her health, but her very existence.

The decisive moment in her wellbeing journey came only when she realised that the illness that hold of her was going to finish her unless she did something about it. She took control – and found that she could overcome the odds and beat anorexia nervosa.

Then her younger sister Amba was cruelly affected by the same illness. Crucially, the sisters and their mum have been able to support one another through this traumatic experience.

They’ve all also been able to rely on their furry friend, too, as Jade explains: “I liked dogs, but I wasn’t fanatical about them. But our dog Gizmo has been a godsend to us all. Dogs truly are man’s best friend!”

Read Jade's blog here.


Tracy's story...

Year of wellbeing - coventry and warwickshireTracy Southam works as business development and contracts manager at Warwickshire Community and Voluntary Action.

She sought help from her GP when she found she was experiencing acute pain in her head, down one side of her face and her back.

“I actually thought I was having a stroke,” she said. “It was a very scary experience.”

Four days of medical tests later, and Tracy was diagnosed with a neurological condition called idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH).

Her doctor referred her to Slimming World and with their help, and the help of her employer, Tracy has been able to make a huge change to her lifestyle.

“I’ve lost almost four stone, and by keeping a healthy diet now have more of a happy medium in my life. I am a lot more aware of balancing life and work, and people here have been so helpful allowing me to work at home when I needed it and attend appointments in work time when I am less tired than in the evenings.”


Ade's story...

Year of wellbeing coventry and warwickshire Ade

Ade has found as much as he can about the condition that threatens to disable him most of every day.

By talking and listening to others with similar experiences, by getting specialist medical help and by joining local groups, he has been able to help himself and others, too.

Ade has psychosis, often described as ‘an impaired relationship with reality’. For him, this means he hears voices of people criticising him. These are puzzling and frightening experiences related to trauma from his childhood and resulting depression and anxiety. He works hard to manage the condition.

He explained: “Managing these voices drains every bit of energy you have. I maybe feel fully in control for about four hours each day. But knowledge and understanding is what works for me.”

He helps run research and development courses for the Recovery Academy, and shares his experience by helping teach an Understanding Psychosis course. He reads about his condition, and uses different ways of keeping well.

He said: “I’ve always been determined to overcome the nausea I feel just going outside, but if I can help just one other person who feels this way, it will have been worthwhile.”

Read Ade's blog here.


Leanne's story...

Year of wellbeing coventry and warwickshire Leanne

Leanne had never experienced any mental health difficulties before but following her son’s birth in 2016 she was engulfed by mental distress and suicidal thoughts. Now she works with local services and has started a service user forum and peer support service to help other local mums and families.

“When I became ill I found it difficult to accept help. I knew something wasn’t right. I just felt so low and the longer it went on the worse it got. Eventually I became suicidal. I received help from the NHS perinatal mental health team and with their support and the aid of anti-depressants I got my life back. I became a happy and confident mum who loved life again.

“Now I run a support group for new mums. I know it doesn’t need to escalate to that stage, and it helps so much to talk about how you feel. I find people will talk to me because I have been through it. They will really open up and it makes such a difference.

“We assist the perinatal mental health team with our lived experience and also offer peer support to local parents experiencing perinatal mental health difficulties. It’s grown so much in the last year and we even have a stay and play event, every Monday in Warwick!”

Read Leanne's blog here.



Karen's story...

Year of wellbeing blogger KarenKaren’s own mental breakdown was triggered by her father’s death by suicide in the 1990s, when she was aged just 19.

She explained: “It came as such a huge shock to us all. A lot of people didn’t know he had been suffering from depression. People didn’t talk about mental health then.”

About dealing with her father’s death, she added: “It’s hard to explain how it feels. It is very isolating. It’s as if I had switched off.”

Her mum helped get her through the painful experience, and more recently Karen has taken up running as a way to help her manage the stresses of everyday life.

She joined running group Run Like a Girl, ran the Liverpool Marathon in support of Mind, and became a mental health ambassador for UK Athletics.

Now she is determined to help others overcome their mental health issues and has started up a local group herself, Mental Health Together.

“It really makes me feel a lot better. And I know if my dad could have had these opportunities then maybe he could have opened up about the way he was feeling.”

Read Karen's blog here (November 2018).

Read Karen's second blog here (April 2019).


Rishard's story...

Year of wellbeing coventry and warwickshire RishardI needed help from so many people! I have Down’s Syndrome and some other things, so there were all these professionals trying to figure out how to treat me, doctors, social workers, therapists…but I still had times when I wasn’t doing so good.

When things were really bad my mum was really stressed that I might hurt myself, or other people…I was worried too. It just wasn’t working out. Then I got the chance to hire a dance teacher, paid for by the people who had been trying to help. This was a way for me to express what was going on, to get it all out there.

I love dance and music so it really helped and was just what I needed. Since then I have got into lots more physical activity…I go to the gym lots and it helps me feel really good. I am an actor too, a really good one. Making that change helped so much.

Now I’ve got lots of things opening up, thanks to a little help from the people around me.



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