for better mental health

Izzy's story

Tuesday, 14 January 2020 Izzy

Izzy explains how mountain rescue has had a positive impact on her mental wellbeing.

I have been a member of Mountain Rescue since 2000. I am now deputy team leader and also a team medic. Mountain rescue is something I have been committed to longer than any other job I've had.

I suffered from mental health problems for many years, and since before I joined Mountain Rescue. I spent a lot of time sectioned in hospital to keep me safe. The turning point for me in my treatment was when I spent a year at a residential therapeutic community in 2008.

Be as open as possible about what you are going through – it is not anything to be ashamed of.

Mountain rescue can be quite stressful at times. We deal with difficult situations including casualties who have taken their own lives. However, I have found that it has had a positive impact on my mental wellbeing because I am in a situation in which I have control and am able to do something positive to help. We work closely together as a team and being part of that gives me a sense of self-worth and builds my self-esteem.

When I've had problems with my mental health or wellbeing, the most helpful thing has been the team's acceptance of me. I've been able to speak to colleagues about how I was feeling, and they were aware because at times I have been absent from the team.

We work closely together as a team and being part of that gives me a sense of self-worth and builds my self-esteem.

Many colleagues in the team are also friends, so it felt natural to talk to them about it. No one judges me and they all trust me to do a good job. To my team mates, my mental health problems were never an issue; except when I was unwell, and in those situations they would offer support because they cared about me. They see me as someone who is equally part of the team and defined by what I do there, not by any mental health problems.

My advice to those who are having problems with their mental health or wellbeing would be to be as open as possible about what you are going through – it is not anything to be ashamed of. Try all avenues for help and support and keep trying until you find something that works. It can be a long, hard battle but you can come through it.

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