Here we will be gathering together some of your feedback about your experiences of visiting the Well Centre and how the service has helped you.
Thank You, Merci, Danke, Grazie, Obrigado, Gracias
Most recently, our young people told us:
‘I liked how most sessions just started with being asked about how my day was or my mood since they’re easy questions that get the session going. All the information and advice given about what to do in my spare time for instance was all helpful.’
‘The sessions I had with my HWP were really helpful and I was really able to progress towards the goals we had set for me. The things I liked the most were the techniques I was introduced to and being able to feel safe to talk about my feelings with a practitioner.’
‘My sessions definitely helped me a lot and I have left feeling a lot more confident for my future. I most liked the flexibility in sessions and the homework like being given tasks to think about or do for next time. Everyone is very lovely and friendly, I felt very welcomed at the Well Centre.’
‘I feel better now than when I started but I still feel down and unhappy sometimes. Overall, I’d say the Well Centre did the most they could to help. It’s up to me now to act on the advice I have been given and make better life/health choices. I made some progress in terms of self-esteem and confidence. I haven’t made much progress in terms of fitness and completely fixing my sleep schedule. What I liked most about my sessions was being able to talk openly and easily. It was nice to speak to a specialist about what I was going through, it felt like talking to one of my friends. I found it useful when my HWP would send me material such as documents on mental activities, YouTube videos and apps to use for helping me with my anxiety.’
‘I learnt quite a few techniques and things to help me in the long term. I quite liked the worksheets that were either given to me or made with me because they were nice to do and read. I liked being able to make a schedule and other things for myself because they helped with my time management and how I cope with some things.’
A sincere ‘Thank you’
You may not remember me, but I’ll never forget you. Before the Well Centre I was shy, really shy, I couldn’t maintain conversations with people, I couldn’t ask simple questions to people, it might sound daft but I wasn’t able to order food at a restaurant, in fact, I didn’t even like sitting in the waiting room of the Well Centre, I honestly didn’t know how I was going to function in life if I always tried to avoid human interaction, I mean I knew it was bad to keep running away from my problems yet I still did it, I would sometimes ask myself why am I doing this?
Now this is where you guys came in, well, actually my doctor who referred me to the Well Centre (aha, I said Doctor Who), and instinctively I was reluctant to go, my mum said it would be beneficial but in my mind, “How can talking help me if I hate talking.” Eventually I caved in and went but it was only down to the fact that my mum stayed with me throughout the entire first visit, (but enough about her, this letter is about you).
Firstly, I want to say a huge thank you to Natalia (I may have got the name wrong but forgive me, it’s been over seven months), although I only saw her once and that was on the mandatory check-up by the doctor, she made me feel as though I was welcome and though I could talk to someone without feeling pressurised to maintain a fluent conversation, I have to say, she did a really good job of staying supportive of me even though I did not say one sentence, seriously, everything I said was a shy one word answer with no eye contact. Overall I feel as though if she was not as positive I probably wouldn’t have come back to the Well Centre as from my point of view, the waiting room was just too much for me to handle.
Now onto Tom, where do I start… no where can I start? Seriously, if it is Tom who reads this, words can not begin to describe how thankful I am for everything you’ve done for me, it could be the small things like waving to me in the waiting room or the big things such as our long conversations where we discussed what the problems were and the potential solutions, I know there are probably a lot of letters that get sent in but the
difference is, I’m not writing this because I have to, or because it is the respectful thing to do, I’m writing this because I want to, I want you to know how much you mean to me and also to tell you to keep doing what you’re doing, the world is a better place with people like you on it, and I really hope that you can reach out and pull others out of the dark place the same way you did to me.
I’ve just recently finished the first of four drama performances in my GCSE Drama course, I got a B which is considered good for the first performance, and it goes without saying, if I had not come to the Well Centre I wouldn’t have got a B… actually, I probably wouldn’t have even picked Drama so I really thank you guys, you’ll always be a part of my life, whether I like it or not, every time I order food, I think of you, when I meet someone new, I think of you. Before I wrap things up, I just want to say how my experience with Tom has really opened up my eyes about the importance of mental health problems and how easily they can be overlooked, I didn’t tell anyone about my time at the Well Centre and they never suspected a thing, it makes me wonder how many people I know or just randomly see in the street are suffering with a mental health problem yet they are forced to put on a happy face as society doesn’t deem mental health issues as “important”, I consider myself lucky as I had a relatively small case of social anxiety but I can’t begin to imagine the pain that someone who suffers depression has to go through, hopefully I never have to experience that but if I do, I know where to come. Right so to wrap up, thank you to Natalia, Big thank you to Tom and a thank you to everyone at the Well Centre that I don’t know just offering such a vital service for the young people of this area.
Sincerely… No, that sounds way to formal, Yours truly… nope, still too formal
Thank you for everything,
[A Well Centre visitor]
P.S. Apologies if there are any grammatical errors or anything similar, I’m not the best academically when it comes to English, but as long as you can understand it, I’m happy.
A Young Person’s Story of Support From The Well Centre
When I was recommended to visit the Well Centre, I was only able to visit my doctors or mentors at school. I have anxiety and it use to be very bad. I use to get so anxious that I would be physically sick or have panic attacks.
Visiting the Well Centre has helped with my self-confidence and the way I think about how I handle my feelings. I was able to feel comfortable with how I feel and be able to tell someone everything without feeling judged.
My home relations weren’t very happy and healthy. I would not get on well with my brother and I would feel my feelings weren’t taken seriously. Eventually from the help of the Well Centre I now know how to properly manage my home life.
I can now recognise how I can be in the wrong and how I can be in the right. I wish I had gone to the Well Centre earlier as I would’ve been so much more happier in secondary school.
“I finally feel ‘normal’ again”
Before starting my sessions at Herne hill wellness centre, my mental health was extremely low. I was really struggling with anxiety and a manifestation of anxiety known as depersonalisation. Both of these really affected my day to day life, I would constantly feel as if I was in some sort of dream , that my thoughts and body weren’t mine and feeling like my whole situation was hopeless; I would be stuck this way forever. Depersonalisation is a common form of anxiety, however it is rarely spoken about, and as a result of this, I didn’t know anybody who had experienced what I was going through. I would try to explain to others , but they would rarely understand, as it is really hard to understand something that you’ve
never encountered .This made me feel constantly alone and isolated from everybody else, and further deteriorated my mental health. I finally contacted my doctor for help because I couldn’t cope with it anymore, and they signed me up for the wellness centre. Joining the wellness centre was definitely the best decision I could have made. Thanks to their support, I am now equipped with numerous methods of managing my depersonalisation, and when I do have bad episodes I am able to handle them. However, I think the greatest help to me was having somebody who understood, that I could talk to freely and ask for help, and thanks to these things combined I feel so much better than I did last year, I finally feel “normal” again.
“Learning about anxiety helped me face my fears”
My local GP referred me to the Herne Hill Well Centre. I had reported feelings of low mood and anxiety that had plagued me for months. I had resolved countless times to scour the internet or psychology books to find the antidote to my struggles with mental health. While I did learn a lot about my condition, I nevertheless found myself stuck in cycles of anxiety and stuck feeling annihilated by even the most mundane tasks of everyday life. It never occurred to me to get professional help until a friend of mine suggested to. On being referred, I felt unsure. How long would it take for me to get better? Am I even capable of getting better? I think how clearly the process was explained to me relieved much of my anxiety surrounding appointments. The support I received provided me with comfort in such a difficult time in my life.
A critical factor in my recovery was the work on challenging my automatic thoughts. Realising how much of my internal dialogue had become toxic
and how venomously I talked to and regarded myself was pivotal. Guiding my thoughts to a more compassionate and loving light gave me space to heal and allowed me to begin my recovery. In addition to this, learning about the cycle of anxiety helped me face my fears. I was previously ignorant of how avoiding situations that I had high reactivity to would inevitably cause me to feel even stronger feelings of anxiety in the future. For example, I was prone to skipping lessons because of the fear I would somehow embarrass myself in front of my peers or expose myself as an “idiot”. Whenever I did eventually attend class, I felt so overwhelmed and distracted by the fear that I could not even listen to the teacher. Exposing myself to my irrational fears and anxieties allowed me to debunk my inhibitions. Pairing my work on automatic thoughts and anxiety with regular exercise, a more balanced diet and a healthy sleeping pattern is what I attribute to my success in becoming a healthier version of myself. I can finally say “I’m okay” and mean it wholeheartedly.
“The whole process was very calm and relaxed”
I first got enlightened to the Well Centre in year 8, when one of their staff offered my secondary school a chance for them to see its students every Tuesday lunchtimes, and it went off with a bang. I went to one of the sessions as an accomplice for my very good friend who had bad anxiety. Due to the anxiety, she has a really hard time going to places on her own, even if it was contained within the school, so to ease her, I came along with her. At the end of the session, the counsellor gave me a leaflet containing information of the Well Centre and contact details, and she even went as far as giving me her personal details so that I could personally call her if need be. Well, I did not call her at all during my time at my secondary school and sixth form because I had a safeguarding officer who I thought catered to my needs and gave me valid advice enough.
However, this leaflet that was given to me since year 8 was stashed away, so over time I did not even know that I still had it until our first UK lockdown in March 2020. My parents’ fights were getting even worse from how they were before, and in May of that year, my parents split. The tension from my parents being in the same house to police being called to my house every once in a blue moon from that month onwards lead to my mental downfall, but I did not know this at the time because I felt the negativity was me and I was negativity, in a way, so it was my “normal”. My mum, my two younger siblings and I ended up having to move to a new house because staying in the same house was not doing any good
for any of us, especially my mum who took it very hard. From then, my mental health was even worse, but I could not pay any mind to it because my family, or whatever was left, was still struggling with the sudden change in environment, so I really had to help them. All of this plus my university, finding a job to support my family, and making sure my friends were okay too were all catalysts to my eventual mental breakdowns and panic attacks that followed suit.
One day during one of my many mental breakdowns, I found the leaflet and called the number. The whole process was very calm and relaxed I felt. Multiple meetings must take place for the orchestrators in the Well Centre to find a personal counsellor. Due to the current times, all sessions and consultations occur over the phone, so I only went to the Well Centre once for a physical examination.
I got my first consultation from my counsellor in January, and then from there the sessions were very interactive and had a lot of flow to it, which I found helps me understand what I must do a lot easier. I finally felt I have done the right thing by seeking help, and now, three months later, I feel a lot better in comparison to when I first started. I feel I have the knowledge of keeping my panic attacks at bay, and to keep any feelings of self-doubt and loathing to the bare minimum. I really could not have done this without the support from the staff at the Well Centre and am forever grateful that their services cater to young people because without them, what would have taken three months to get this knowledge would have taken me a year or two, and that is no hyperbole!
The Well Centre is constantly looking at ways we can improve. If you’ve visited the Well Centre and would like to tell us what we can do better then please get in touch with us by calling our number.