I began this non-profit organisation alongside some friends who all know first hand how isolating and lonely any kind of mental health issue can be.
We want to purchase a bus or similar to be refurbished into a mobile support centre. Our principle objective is to take mental health services out into the community and provide an essential support network.
Nine years ago I was diagnosed with post-natal depression, I suffered panic attacks, serious anxiety and agoraphobia as a result. I would beg my husband not to leave me alone in the house when he went to work, I was scared to answer the phone or the door, I barely left the house for 8 months. It was a lonely time, I felt helpless, useless and worthless, every day was a dark day.
With the help of medication and my husband, I slowly returned to 'normal' whatever that was, but lived in fear of returning to that place.
Fast forward nine years, I'm still very aware of my mental wellbeing, I have identified my triggers and I recognise the signs of any downturn. I realise this isn't the case for everyone with a mental health problem, I also know that living in a rural county such as Carmarthenshire how cut off people can feel, they don't like to bother people with their problems, won't go to the doctors and are in decline. We at Step to Stride want to help as many people as possible have access to support, we want to take a mobile support centre out into the community, provide an ear to listen, referrals, partnerships with other organisations who can join our mobile centre and provide activities such as walking, arts and crafts and tea and coffee on board our bus and basically provide a safe haven for anyone who is struggling to cope.
We also want to visit schools and educate children and young people on mental health, We want to provide the tools that enables our future generation to deal with issues they may come across.