Wigan woman shares story of mental health battle to encourage others to reach out

She also praised mental health services but said more funding for them is urgently needed.

Tuesday, 6th July 2021, 4:45 am

Diane Adams, who lives in Gidlow, talked about her anxiety and depression and praised the health bodies who are helping her to make progress along the road to recovery.

However, Diane also said mental health services remain underfunded and are currently not big enough to be able to cope successfully with the scale of the problem in society.

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Diane Adams in Mesnes Park

However, as she was not registered with a GP in the borough she could only get help by attending Wigan Infirmary where medical professionals cared for her on a ward for a few days before she was sent to a specialist mental health unit.

She was discharged at the end of March and since then has been starting to recover at home with support from the Crisis Resolution and Home Treatment Team at Greater Manchester Mental Health (GMMH) NHS Foundation Trust.

Diane said: “I cried out for help. I rang two close family members and they dropped all that they were doing and came over to pick me up and bring me back to Wigan.

“I had a chat with the mental health nurse at the hospital about how I was feeling. When I closed my eyes all I could see was graveyards and coffins. They said I needed to come into hospital for a short while and I said I would go voluntarily.

Diane Adams in Mesnes Park

“They were absolutely superb in there. They had to get funding over to Wigan so I could go to a mental health recovery unit and eventually they managed it.

“The ambulance took me to Whiston and I was in the Grasmere Recovery Unit. The staff were wonderful but I saw some horrendous things there.

“I took on a bit of a motherly role to a couple of young girls who were in there because they were self-harming.

“I was shaking all the time with anxiety and I couldn’t even make a cup of coffee.

“They put me on tablets which did ease my anxiety and I was given sleeping tablets for my insomnia too.

“I was discharged and am still under the crisis team. They have been absolutely superb. I see them maybe twice a week and I can speak to them on the phone. I’ve rung them at three or four o’clock in the morning if I am having a bad night and they stay on the phone and calm me down.”

Diane is full of praise for the organisations who have helped her during her illness but says she thinks the mental health services are under pressure and Covid-19 has made the situation a lot worse.

She said: “Covid has affected a lot of people’s mental health. When I am due a visit from the crisis team I ring in the morning to see if anybody has been allocated.

“One day I was in crisis, I couldn’t stop crying and shaking, but they said nobody had been allocated to me because they were short-staffed. I can speak to them on the phone but sometimes I can’t answer my phone.

“Covid means staff are off because they test positive, and mental health services are under-funded. It’s not their fault. They are struggling because they are just inundated.”

With the help of the crisis team Diane says she is making progress and has found that spending time in green spaces such as Mesnes Park has a very positive impact on her wellbeing.

She has also begun Reiki and says she finds the soft music and lamps calming.

Spending time with her pet dog also works well as therapy for her, she says.

She hopes that speaking about how she is doing will encourage other people to seek help if they need it and convince them that they too can get better.

Diane said: “I feel like I’m slowly rediscovering myself. My whole outlook on life is changing.

“I know I’m poorly but I’ve accepted that, which I think is a massive step.

“I love my life and I feel like I’m making progress.

“I just love being in nature, I find solace in it. If it’s quiet I can go out to the park and feed the birds.

“I understand that it’s a case of slow and steady wins the race.

“I just want to let people know that it’s nothing to be ashamed of and if they need help then reach out. I was saved because I made that phone call. A lot of people don’t, and I get goosebumps whenever I read about people who have killed themselves, it’s just so sad.

“I want people to know that there is help out there, they shouldn’t feel alone.”

Although her own road to recovery still has some distance to travel. Diane’s thoughts have already turned to how she can help others in the same situation.

She said: “In the future I would like to have a foundation or a group where people can come and speak to me. I’m a kind and caring person and I want to help people.

“I would also like to volunteer at one of the units one day so I can share my experiences with people and let them know it’s OK and they will get well, even though it might be a long, long road.

“I’m trying to set up a walking group as well with a few friends who suffer from the same things I do so we can share ideas of what helps us.”

Mental health chiefs in the city-region have expressed their delight at Diane’s progress and applauded her bravery in sharing her story with others.

They also explained how anyone in need can get in touch to seek help.

Emma Nazurally, associate director of operations at Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are really heartened to hear of this positive experience and we are so pleased this lady got the help she needed.

“The last year has been incredibly difficult for everyone and we know the demand for our services is high, but if you need help, please get in touch with us.

“No appointment is needed and there are mental health staff on hand to provide you with support and direct you to services which may be able to help.”

Residents can self-refer to the Think Wellbeing service by calling 01942 764449 or contact the 24/7 free helpline on 0800 051 3253 for urgent mental health help.

You can also drop in to the Crisis Café located in the Leigh Baker Café at Atherleigh Park. It is open seven days a week from 4.30pm until 11pm.

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