‘Just having a good CV isn’t much help.’
For several years Matthew was unwell, unable to work. Meeting people, getting on a bus, even getting up in the morning, were things he tried to avoid. They simply felt too difficult.
In the early 90s we started to meet many people in Matthew’s situation. It was becoming clear that we needed a different approach for people living with mental health problems.
At the same time a local hospital was experiencing a similar frustration. Their mental health patients were struggling to get into work, leading to a cycle of disappointment that often triggered another breakdown.
A partnership was formed and our first mental health course was born. It was tailored to help clients regain their confidence, but in fact was far more holistic. It covered topics such as communication, finance, nutrition and stress management.
We’ve been running these courses ever since.
Peter Aleksin, Pecan’s manager of mental health work since 1997, believes that, ‘by accepting people where they are at, it helps them face up to the truth that if they haven’t worked in 20 years, they aren’t likely to, unless they change something.’
Close to a thousand individuals have attended the course, and the results have been incredible, with clients often talking about being given the confidence they need to enter the workforce.
For Matthew, who has been in work for three years, the course made all the difference. ‘Just having a good CV isn’t much help. It makes no difference to the other areas of your life that may be delaying your full recovery,’ he explains. ‘I have more confidence now and feel healthier in lots of areas of my life.’