Neville’s story

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I first came to STAMP with depression and anxiety, after being referred by my Mental Health Nurse in 2014. I was going through some bad times, having personal problems and I was experiencing racial abuse. My advocate listened to me about the challenges I was having and the impact upon my mental health. She said, ‘anything you need, get in touch and we can help you the best we can’. If it wasn’t for my advocate, I am not sure I would be the same person as I am sitting here. She was like a sister to me, in that I mean, I began to put my trust in someone. When I meet strange people, I get anxious and flighty, but having my advocate there supporting me in different situations, I feel comfortable because I trust her. There is nothing bad I can say about my advocate, as any problems, any letters, she can look at it with me. She has attended appointments with me. She is there for the good times and the bad times.

What you have done
I might have had a mental health breakdown or ended up behind bars. STAMP helped me to cope with stuff – said ‘don’t worry’. You can get on the phone to sort things with me that I could not do myself as I can’t express myself well with people I don’t know. I can get very anxious and then my accent can get worse, and my voice can get louder and I can come across as aggressive. You have helped me with court, trying to get contact with my son and with sorting my immigration.

Since my advocate has come, I see things in a different way. I open up more, I don’t hide anything. You help by breaking things down into smaller steps to achieve. I am a calmer person now and take my medication.
When my advocate comes to doctors and hospital appointments, she takes notes for me otherwise I would not understand what they were saying to me.

If I get anything in the post and I don’t understand it, I take a picture and send it to my advocate via WhatsApp. I can ask people to talk to my advocate on my behalf. If I am confused or anxious, I can ask them to go through my advocate. I can ask my advocate to speak to people if I am worried and she gets straight onto it. She got a fixed penalty I was charged on the train back. I could not deal with these things on my own.

I cannot share personal things with friends as I want to keep my personal business to myself, but I can share it with my advocate. I am always worried about people’s agenda and concerned about being manipulated.