For nine months I followed the progress of George, a veteran who was eager to change his life for the better, but just didn't know where to start. George was referred to Shoulder to Shoulder Erskine by Veterans First Point to work with a mentor who could provide support. Here's his journey.
George came out of the Army in 2004 after 13 years of service. He then worked in many different jobs: in security, as a parking attendant, life guard and a waiter. This wasn't the path he wanted to take. George lost focus and became socially isolated and depressed. With the help of Christine, a TimeBank mentor, George was able to identify some goals to help him move forward. He needed someone to talk with, to help enhance his confidence and self-esteem.
Christine discussed with George his past interests to encourage him to take up a hobby as a goal to help him out of the home. He took up yoga, completed a course in meditation and mindfulness and attended the River Centre, which helped with coping strategies and positive thinking. His mentor also encouraged George to keep a diary of positive events.
To help with focus and structure, George began volunteering at a local farm and with support by Employ-able delivered by the Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH), he was able to look at his skills with a view to moving on to employment. He decided he was very interested in a career in alternative therapies and completed courses in Reiki and Indian Head massage.
George's plans for the future are to set up his own business in alternative therapies, to see family members more often and he is planning to travel with a friend to Africa with a view to helping local people in need of support.
George says: 'It's been good having someone to chat with. The support of a TimeBank mentor has enabled me to keep positive and focus on goals, helping me to feel less anxious. I don't feel as though I require any further support now and I'm happy to move on with my life. I'm excited about travelling and setting up my business in alternative therapies.'
Our Shoulder to Shoulder Erskine project supports ex-servicemen and women and their families who are struggling to adjust to civilian life. If you'd like to know more take a look here.