Rebuilding trust and confidence through community connections

Our Life Connectors are in the community offering 1-1 support to people who can benefit from connecting with their local communities.
This is Kamila’s story.

Kamila was referred to our team by the community mental health nurse, who stated she was feeling “very overwhelmed and had isolated herself and…felt very hopeless.”

At the time of her referral to Better Together Norfolk, Kamila had quit a job she loved due to feeling bullied, been given notice to leave her home of nine years and was self-medicating with alcohol.

Two days before meeting her Life Connector (as she would tearfully confide to him) she had walked into the sea with intentions of not walking out again.

Originally from Poland, Kamila had witnessed violence in the family home as her father often beat her mother. Kamila had been in three relationships with men who either abused her, manipulated her, or extorted money from her. After splitting from her husband, she was devastated to discover he had been sexually abusing her daughter from a previous relationship. This left Kamila with feelings of guilt and deeply affected her mental health.

For two years Kamila had experienced bouts of depression and was diagnosed with PTSD.

How her Life Connector helped.

When Kamila started working with her Life Connector she knew she needed to be meeting people. Her Life Connector’s primary objective was to find her groups and activities that would stimulate her both socially and intellectually and rebuild her confidence and trust in people.

Kamila willingly and quickly engaged with his suggestions and opportunities for social interactions. They attended community cafés, coffee morning socials and art & crafts groups, where she joined in enthusiastically. Learning she had a passion for furniture making and had built furniture in Germany, her Life Connector arranged a visit to a Women’s Shed, where she became excited by what they could offer her, commenting, “I love it!” A fleeting mention of a creative writing group saw Kamila become a regular attendee, where she impressed other members with her spontaneous writing skills (writing in her second language, English, one of five she spoke) and her considerable philosophical mind.

In a relatively short period of time, her Life Connector witnessed a remarkable improvement in Kamila’s wellbeing. With less than six months support, she was optimistically looking to move out to the country, was enrolled on a detox programme and had been proudly sober for almost two months. She was again doing one of the things she loved most – spending time cooking – and her life had become so busy, she could barely fit everything into her week.

Submitting a feedback form more than two weeks ahead of her referral closure, Dr Kamila said she “would like to thank my Life Connector for his support during my difficult and dark times. He listened patiently and he came out with ideas which were suitable, relevant and accessible.”

If you would like to speak to a Life Connector, you can contact us by phone or email.

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