Mark has struggled with depression for most of his adult life. He was working as a full-time computer programmer before his mental health took over.
He has been involved with different support services in Stoke-on-Trent since and was recommended to our Clubhouse Network as a place to help take control of his wellbeing, before eventually moving into a volunteering role.
He said: “I was with another service in the cityat the time. They were very good, but I felt like I wasn’t making that much progress. I was stalling a bit in myself.”
“My support worker at the time told me about the Clubhouse and recommended it as a next step. I was scared to come through the door at first and I must have stood outside five or six times before I grew the courage to come in.
“The first person I saw when I came in was a lady called Helen – who went on to become my support worker. I was anxious after walking through the door, and she could see that, but we got along great and she took the time to get to know me.
“You quickly realise having people around that understand you isimportant, and she did that. She could just tell when I wasn’t having a great day. I was never put under any pressure to do things that I wasn’t comfortable with. I thought it would just be a coffee morning, but it’s been so much more than that.”
Mark now takes on the role as the editor of the Clubhouse Network Newsletter on a volunteer basis, where he leads on a project offering news, features, and wellbeing tips to Brighter Futures customers and a variety of external subscribers every month.
This has helped him build the confidence to consider a return to paid employment in the close future where he aims to help other people with mental health concerns.
“The next step for me is to look at paid employment – even if it’s just part-time.
“My old role was very stressful and has moved on a bit since I was involved with it. In an ideal world, I would like to move into a role that helps people – with Brighter Futures would be amazing – but if it’s elsewhere and something I can cope with in terms of my mental health, then that would be great too.