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I had some good experiences as a service user at Wotton Lawn, despite being unwell for many weeks. My recovery started with various activities rather than medication, as my mood was very low and antidepressants were not an option for my illness. I particularly remember a reading group with Jackie and Angela, an occupational therapist. During the session I started to feel more optimistic.

There were some fun times in the gym, and doing cooking in the Occupational Therapy kitchen. Art therapy was helpful, and following a visit to my dentist with a member of staff from Priory ward, I offered to pay the dentist with a painting I had done. The dentist declined the offer. Apparently such offers worked for Picasso.

Following my discharge I thought it would be good to have a volunteer role at Wotton Lawn. This would give me some purposeful activity and enable me to remain in touch with many of the staff who had been so helpful in my recovery. I suggested a role taking a library trolley to the various wards. Jackie thought this was a good idea and I have been doing the round for a couple of years now.

I enjoy my fortnightly visits and chatting to patients and staff. On a recent trolley round to Priory ward, I met a young man who had been on the ward with me in 2016. He was a real character, very quick witted and highly amusing. He asked me what I was doing there. I explained my volunteer role with the library and, quick as a flash, his response was “ when you were on this ward you were always trying to escape, but now you are out, you can’t get enough of the place!” This remark pretty well sums up my feelings about Wotton Lawn.

Incidentally, since my involvement as a volunteer and Expert by Experience, my mental health has very much improved.”

Find out more about volunteering with us at Find out more about volunteering with us here. #VolunteersWeek