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Mental Health Awareness Week ’23: Becki at OASIS

For Mental Health Awareness Week 2023, we’re sharing thoughts, experiences, and strategies from the team across our different services on anxiety, the focus of MHAW this year.

Becki at Leeds OASIS

I feel like I have a good understanding of anxiety. I would describe the physical sensation as a “giddy feeling” and I can feel it sitting in my stomach. I have learned to recognise these feelings and when I do experience them, I have learnt how to help myself. I’ll stop for a moment and take a few deep breaths. Then I focus on why I might be feeling anxious and if any of these feelings are in my control. I let go of anything outside of my control. Anything left within my control, I create a plan on how to handle it. This allows me to reduce feelings of anxiety and to be productive with my day. It took some time to recognise this and work out how to help myself but now that I have, I feel I can live a positive life, knowing that anxiety will be part of that.

Feelings of anxiety were prominent for me when someone I loved experienced sudden and acute difficulties with their mental health – first requiring hospital admission, then community support. During this time they viewed the world differently to how they had before and communicated in ways I (and others) didn’t understand. I felt unable to help and worried for their safety, even with the support they received in the community. My family and I wondered what type of support we felt would have been beneficial during this period and we felt there was a gap in the provision of services. I noticed a job advert for Leeds OASIS and realised this was the service we imagined would have helped.

I became involved with the service and feel the survivor-led ethos ensures that a service is provided which supports the needs of those in acute mental health crisis. If I’d have known the skills used by the team when supporting my loved one as a carer, I feel I could have gained a better understanding of their needs and supported them differently. I feel confident that the service can support many individuals with diverse presentations. Working at Leeds OASIS has given me hope that charity and statutory services can work well together; combining their skills to produce services which are beneficial to those in their most vulnerable moments. I feel this approach would have supported me as a carer and reduced the anxieties I felt at the time. I hope the work done up to now has had this impact on others and will continue to strengthen, as we move forward.