A local man has publicly thanked the people who have helped him turn his life around.

John Girdlestone, from Featherstone, has created an impressive photographic collage as a thank you to staff from Baghill House, a day treatment service run by the South West Yorkshire Mental Health NHS Trust, for the treatment, support and help he received there.

The collage, which depicts the history of Featherstone, has been displayed in Baghill House for staff, clients and visitors to see. It is accompanied by a touching letter, which serves as a positive message to the people currently using mental health services at Baghill.

Speaking about the collage, John explained why he chose the history of Featherstone as the theme, ‘The images represent hard times yet also the strength of the community to overcome these difficulties. I likened this to my own experiences of tackling mental health problems and the realisation that there is ‘light at the end of the tunnel.’

John is currently actively involved in the work of the Trust. He is a member of the service user forum in Wakefield, a group that represents the views of service users at Trust meetings and contributes to decisions about Trust services. John also helps out at the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS), based at Fieldhead in Wakefield, which provides advocacy and advice to service users, their carers and families.

‘At the time, when I was ill, I never thought I would be doing what I am now – helping other people. Yet the work also continues to help me. There’s something therapeutic about giving something back to others – especially when I’ve been there myself. My advice for people using mental health services is, don’t give up – it can be done,’ concluded John


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