I’ve just had a session with my psychiatrist. I’ve been diagnosed with yet another condition amongst Clinical Depression and Low Mood. Managing my mental health is a daily struggle daily.

A friend recommended me to check this place out called The House of St Barnabas; I thought it was just another employment platform, but I decided to attend one of their open days and see what it was about.

Anxiety is another issue on my badge of issues that can sometimes overwhelm me, however, when I met HoSB’s Employment Academy staff, Brian and Shirley, I felt more at ease.

After being given a presentation about the House and the to the Employment Academy there was a chance to have an interview. Once again, the staff put me at ease during the process. The week after I was pleased to receive a call offering me a place on the programme. Once on the programme they gradually began to build an armour of skills on me that increased my confidence and weakened the strength of my depression and anxiety. I grew stronger and stronger as the programme went on and could see the same happening to my peers on the programme. I began to feel ambitious with a desire to be a success manifesting inside me.

During the last stage of the programme I received a phone call from a company I had sent an application to; “How would you feel about working for an investment bank?” From living on the streets, eating from bins and being suicidal to working for an investment bank, wow, somebody pinch me!

But the opportunity didn’t materialise, and negativity quickly kicked in. I wanted to give up as I felt a sense of failure to everyone. I knew my mentor (whom I was partnered with through HoSB) believed in me, as did the HoSB team themselves. I applied what I’d previously learned from them. Teamwork is a huge ethic of mine and I thought to myself that giving up on all this team effort wouldn’t be fair. The special thing about HoSB is that you learn skills and gain values you already had, and when you feel low and negative those skills kick into play. With the support of the HoSB team success is definitely achievable. The team all have great individual skills and characteristics which is really important because getting a different perspective when faced with challenges has been a massive benefit.

I am now in employment and it is one of the best things that has happened to me.

– 2018 graduate of our Employment Preparation Programme.

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Image by Michael Price.