My Mental Health

June 15, 2021 Case Studies - Membership Heather Gilchrist

My name is Heather. I had anxiety issues since the start of lockdown back in March 2020, when my main job at Glasgow Kings and Theatre Royal was forced to close due to this pandemic, since theatres were one of the first places that took a hit.

My anxiety started playing up – I remember sitting in Costa in Glasgow Central train station on the phone to Hollie Reynolds from ENABLE Scotland, as she was doing a phone around and asking what support we would like from ENABLE Scotland. I said I would like to have daily phone calls and checking in, as I felt this would help me get my mental health and anxiety at bay.

Within a few days, I took an idea to Jan and Nicole at Enable that I saw on twitter, which was one of the other groups doing Zoom sessions.  We did a few test-runs and within a couple of weeks, ACE Connect was born!

We had daily sessions with Facebook check-ins and daily mindfulness sessions, exercise, games/quiz and weekly karaoke sessions on a Friday afternoon.  As the pandemic started to ease off, we reduced the sessions on Zoom, but we still have something every day.

Here is a link to our current ACE Connect timetable.

We also have the helpline which is great.  I feel the helpline has been great to help my mental health during this pandemic, as it has helped me to feel more positive and it is helpful to know that there is a staff member at the end of the phone.

The ACE Connect Zoom sessions and the Helpline have helped me feel less isolated during the pandemic. As I live with my parents and because of the pandemic, I have not been able to see my friends as much as I usually would, so ACE Connect and the helpline have been beneficial for me and my mental health.

I took an idea to my local ACE group which was to have a mental heath service within ENABLE Scotland for members to access, and have dedicated staff that are trained in mental health and have knowledge to work with members who have a learning disability.  ENABLE Scotland really liked this idea and are currently looking for funding for this project.

The pandemic has been challenging on my mental health, to say the least, and I am currently looking into some counselling options.  I am also getting my second vaccine soon, so I hope to get back to my theatre job, and to hopefully see more of my friends and get back to normal and be less reliant on the helpline.

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