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Courtney's* journey

Courtney*, 18 was first referred to Progress in January 2018. Since being involved on the programme, she has gained employment and job interview skills and has also received much needed mental health support to help her not only see, but achieve a more positive future.

"I was first referred to Progress through the Princes Trust. I was struggling with depression, self-harm and dealing with a recent bereavement, and while I found the Princes Trust course beneficial initially, I kept having setbacks.

"Progress has offered me the support I needed, both to help my getting a job, but to improve my emotional wellbeing and outlook. I have worked with Heather at Innovating Minds through one-to-one therapeutic sessions, which have enabled me to get my self-harm under control. I have learnt new positive ways to deal with my emotions, through developing a personalised coping plan and self-help resources.

"The sessions have focused my thoughts and feelings in situations, and how I respond to them. It has enabled me to find helpful ways to communicate and express my emotions or concerns. As a result, I don’t feel as depressed and have significantly decreased my self-harming. I am now having a lot more positive, than negative, emotions and have a much more positive outlook on life.

"I have also worked closely with my Progress Coach, Pally – from Groundwork West Midlands – who has been very helpful and supportive on the programme and has provided help with job search, application and interview skills. Without the guidance of Pally and him identifying that I could benefit from support with my mental health, I would not have been referred to Innovating Minds and accessed sessions with Heather. I didn’t feel comfortable going to speak to my GP and felt much more comfortable accessing Innovating Minds on the Progress programme.

"In the past, I didn’t really talk to many people and was quiet, but my friends, family and boyfriend have said I am now a lot more confident. I have always loved dancing and performing, I am now back to living my life and doing what I love. I have discovered more about myself as a person and developed a different outlook on life.

"I am now much more optimistic for the future and I am searching for a new job or apprenticeship. I had an apprenticeship role in a nursery which didn’t work out. Although this change has been difficult, and I am apprehensive about a new job search, I have dealt with it positively and I am feeling much more optimistic for the future following my sessions with Innovating Minds.

"I have demonstrated to myself that hard work and lots of practice achieves the best outcomes. I am now able to challenge my negative thoughts and have learnt that it’s not always the situation, but how I think about it. I have been able to share some of the things I’ve learnt in sessions with my friends and I hope that sharing my journey will inspire others to access support."


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*Name changed for safeguarding reasons.