Tuesday 24 November 2015

I'll be there for you: The importance of friendship & support in looking after mental health

Sophie writes about how supporting someone to get through the toughest times of their eating disorder is one of the most rewarding feelings. 
- Sophie Rees

It was the summer after finishing my GCSEs when my Mum and I mutually agreed to go and see a doctor about my eating disorder. Up until this point I had felt as if I had done nothing to harm my health and that I was perfectly fine. After seeing my doctor I had realised that I had enrolled myself into something quite serious and something that I knew would take a considerable amount of time to get out of. Writing this fully recovered four years later, I can confidently say that is was the support of others around me that got me through my recovery. I cannot thank everyone who had helped me enough for their understanding, their patience and their strength. I found that it was the simple, little things they could say or do for me that made me believe I could go on to help myself out of my eating disorder. My little sister’s smile would be of graceful welcome whenever she saw me, my friends would always be there for me whenever I wanted to talk about my problems and even the people I had studied my A levels with who weren't close friends of mine would show that they cared by including me in their conversations and not making a huge fuss about what I was going through.

Whilst I was recovering during my A levels, a close friend of mine had just began a serious stage in her eating disorder and it made me see exactly what I had done before having to motivate myself to recover. After some time in hospital, my friend was back in sixth form and was still battling her eating disorder whilst trying to study. She wasn't as open as I was with other people when she returned so she and I had developed an empathetic bond in our friendship which allowed her to express what she had sometimes felt about her disorder and I explained how by letting others support was what had helped me. Gradually throughout our sixth form years, after I had gone to university and she had taken a gap year, my friend had recovered excellently through the help of others and building of her own motivations to go to university herself. It made me so proud of everything she had achieved and overcome. What is amazing is that only took some time and support from others to set things straight again. In both gaining support for myself and offering it to my friend, I strongly believe that good support can get people through the toughest of situations and motivate them to never give up.​

This December Student Minds is looking to raise £28,000 through public donations to fund a new university peer support programme - Supporting Supporters, which will help students to support friends experiencing self-harm.

We're teaming up with the Big Give to take part in the Christmas Challenge 2015, meaning any donations received on the 4th & 5th December will be doubled. 

To find out more about how you can get involved click here , or check out our video below: 

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