University student Harry experienced a mental health crisis but instead of being hospitalised was given the option of staying at our crisis house in Leicestershire. Inspired by his positive experience there, he now volunteers on the local crisis helpline, providing a listening ear to others in need.

“After quite a while of suffering with my mental health it was slowly building up. I wasn’t getting the right treatment and support. My community treatment team realised how severe my mental health problems were getting and I was advised to come to the crisis house. If a place like this hadn’t of existed I would’ve been forcibly admitted to hospital and sectioned. By what I hear of it that’s not a very pleasant experience. You lose your rights, you can’t make choices and you’re stuck within the hospital environment.

“But the alternative which was coming here and having the supportive environment which is the crisis house was one hundred times better. It’s not just the crisis house itself, it’s the people who work here and the way they run it. It was the first time I’d felt safe in a while. The supportive environment which is the crisis house was one hundred times better. They listen to you, they take a personal interest in you because they’re people just like us and you’re not a number to them.

I’ve been able to talk about things that I’ve never been able to talk about with a doctor or a nurse because the staff here took their time to get to know me and to make sure that I was all right. Being admitted here was a real turning point in my life.

“Now I volunteer on the helpline which is a talking and signposting service and my primary goal is to help people find their own way, to empower them, to get through the crisis themselves, like I was helped.”