Leanne

Leanne is bi-polar and was feeling isolated when she moved to a new area with two young children.

Single mum Leanne has been supported by Action for Children’s services on and off for 11 years with her four children:

“I’d moved here from a different area when the boys were babies. I was waiting to get mental health support but was given an Action for Children contact as a first point of call.
I felt very isolated. I was depressed so I didn’t go out and didn’t take my youngest to baby groups. He was quite shy and didn’t have any social skills, so when I got involved with Action for Children and started taking him to my local centre and putting him in a group with other kids was brilliant for him.

It was the only social interaction he had and it also provided support for me as well. It was great for me if I was having an off-day - If I’m at home when I’m having a bad day it seems so much bigger, but here, there’s always someone you can talk to or have a cry. It’s always been a brilliant support.”

Leanne

Leanne found out about her local Action for Children Outreach service through her eldest son’s nursery. At the beginning she started going along to the service gradually, until eventually she was visiting three or five times a week. Since having her two youngest children she started using the services again and goes several times a week - to a parent and toddler group and to a parents group, during which the children are looked after in the crèche so the parents can socialise with other mums and dads.

Leanne also takes part in an arts and craft group for parents called ‘Pot Luck’, where she’s been quilting pillow cases, decorating photo frames and doing other crafts, which she really enjoys as she has a natural talent for art. She’s also going to join an Incredible Years group, in which parents can learn about child development and get advice on positive play and other parenting tips. She says her children have really benefitted from the services offered.

"It’s brought them on a lot. My two-year-old is a shy wee thing. She never used to speak or be sociable but now she comes and takes her coat off and then disappears. She’ll run off and have a play – there are plenty of things to keep her occupied."

"People who don’t understand the debilitating and isolating nature of mental illnesses might not get the effort it takes and the trust it takes to share your fear and pain with people you don’t know. This is also why I highly rate the skill level of our staff in building honest, trusting relationships with the folk we work with. It is a privilege we are afforded in our attempts to make positive difference, when that leap of faith is taken.

I’m still taking medication for the bi-polar but it doesn’t always keep you on an even keel. I’ve come here in tears, but they’re used to it. If I hadn’t had the support I’d have nothing on all week and would just be sat at home. It’s a good routine for us to have, for me and the kids. My two-year-old knows which days we’re coming here, so it’s good to have the consistency. And if you’re not there one day, they’ll phone and check you’re okay. It’s supporting a lot of people."