Aileen’s Story *

Bright future

Aileen developed serious mental health needs when in her teens. Repeated hospital admissions, medication side-effects and ill health all took their toll on her confidence and self-esteem, and she found herself unable to gain employment or manage a course of study.

Since coming to Start she has overcome many obstacles that held her back, and now her family’s pride in her knows no bounds. She has completed two successful placements as a trainee teacher and has also completed a college course in art and design.

“Once I couldn’t get out of bed in the mornings. Now I feel I have taken control of my life. Studying art at Start has boosted my confidence. There’s so much to find out about yourself though art. I’ve come to feel more positive about myself. I’ve got something to talk to people about. Also I can talk more freely about my illness.

“There was a time when I was ashamed about having a mental illness, but I don’t feel like that anymore because it’s become an opportunity for me rather than something to hide.

“I never would have achieved all the things I have without first falling ill and coming to Start. I know that I’ll go on to achieve more things in the future as well.”

* Not person’s real name


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