Wombling to Better Mental Health

Fay Belham, aged 53, has experienced periods of depression throughout her life and, in particular, severe postnatal depression after the birth of her twin boys in 2009. It was at this point that she became aware of support available here, at her local mental health charity, and she has been aided by our services ever since.

One critical point of support has been our Sanctuary service which provides a safe, warm and welcoming environment for people who are experiencing an emotional or mental health crisis. Available between 6pm and 1am, in Cambridge and Peterborough, via the NHS First Response Service (by calling 111, Option 2), the Sanctuary provides practical and emotional support from friendly mental health professionals without judgement.

Fay says, “The Sanctuary has given me the encouragement to keep going when I’ve needed it most. Rather than a clinical experience, it provides a person-centred approach meaning I can easily talk things through with someone who understands and can help me.”

Fay has also found support through our Peer Support Groups, including via the Community Personality Disorder Service, and says, “It has been so nice to meet other people with similar experiences. It helped me feel less alone and was a great relief. With all of CPSL Mind’s services, it has been reassuring to know that I can access longer term support as I need it.”

Based in Peterborough, Fay has also taken steps to support the wellbeing of herself and others in her local community by getting out in nature through litter picking. Now an Ambassador for Keep Britain Tidy, she has regularly taken part in litter picking groups since she found a voluntary opportunity to get started in 2013. A founding member of the Peterborough Litter Wombles, Fay is driving change by keeping her local area tidy and connecting others whilst doing so.

She says, “Litter picking gives me a sense of purpose and that I’m part of something bigger than myself. I really enjoy being out in the fresh air each week, connecting with a group of people and taking pride in my local area. It’s fantastic receiving positive affirmations from neighbours who thank you for doing a really good job.

I’ve also had the opportunity to practice mindfulness activities, from the support I’ve received, whilst out and about in nature. It’s really calming taking notice of my surroundings, feeling the fresh air, the sun on my face and hearing the sounds of the birds. I’ve even started recognising birds such as Robins and Blue Tits and enjoy watching Seagulls flying past. It’s great feeling connected with nature and my community.”

Fay’s experiences demonstrate how important feeling connected with other people and our environment is for our wellbeing. You can find out more about how to stay well by becoming familiar with the Five Ways to Wellbeing and if you’re looking for more urgent support in crisis please find available helplines here.