On 1st December, 70 people attended Jami’s patron’s event at The Engine Rooms in East Finchley, helping to raise vital funds to deliver and grow Jami’s life-saving mental health services to everyone in our community who needs them. Jami needs to raise £4m to deliver their planned services this year.
Guests were given a first-hand insight into how Jami’s support is changing lives when they heard directly from Sophia, a former Jami service-user who now works for the charity as a senior peer support worker and peer co-lead, helping others from a place of mutual understanding.
In a powerful speech, Sophia described the harrowing impact of living with mental illness for 15 years and how with the right medication and “genuine, effective, appropriate and consistent support”, from Jami, she is now much more stable, close to being symptom free and has a support network that she trusts wholeheartedly.
She told the audience: “Occupational therapy at Jami supported me with a whole host of things ranging from applying for benefits so I could financially survive, to helping me to establish a healthy daily routine so that my life, after a degree of institutionalisation, could return to some sort of normality with a sense of direction and purpose. In addition, through Jami helping me to recover my social skills, I have gone from being painfully lonely to having a wonderful and rich social life. This and everything else Jami has done for me has literally been a lifeline.” She also explained how with help from Jami’s vocational peer support service, she was able to go from being dependent on benefits to being able to financially support herself in a role where she could also help others.
When Sarah, a peer support worker in Jami’s Carer and Family Support service, gave a heart-breaking account of one parent’s daily battle looking after their children with mental illness, guests were left visibly moved. They heard how one of the many carers’ groups that Jami runs has given this desperate parent a vital outlet where they can share their experiences without judgement or blame; feel normal and understood; and gain valuable knowledge. And how a weekly call with Sarah makes all the difference in keeping them afloat.
Speaking more generally about children’s mental health in the UK, Louise Kermode, director of services, painted a bleak picture of the rising cases of mental illness among young people and the lack of provision available to them. But she also highlighted the positive impact that Jami’s Children and Young Person’s pilot service, which was launched in May 2022, is already making to the lives the 40 secondary school-aged children who are currently using the service. It is hoped that in spring 2023 the service will be extended to help greater numbers of young people.
If you need support or are supporting someone who needs help, visit https://jamiuk.org/get-support/ or contact 020 8458 2223.
If you are struggling to cope or need immediate help, contact Shout’s 24/7 crisis text service. Text Jami to 85258 for free, confidential support.
For free, safe and confidential online counselling and emotional wellbeing services for adults, contact Jami Qwell at https://www.qwell.io/jami