"The ripple effects of mental illness are far reaching, affecting not just the young person, but their family and friends, their community. Mental illness is not just someone else's problem - it is everyone's problem!”
– Debbie Frances
a life turned upside down ...
A bit of background, which we hope will tell you something about us ... and about why The Project Training & Consultancy is a little bit different, and - dare I say - a little bit special!
"In 2009, at the age of 15, my daughter, Jess, developed severe mental health issues - depression, anxiety and an eating disorder, self harm. Shortly after her 16th birthday, she was admitted to an adolescent psychiatric inpatient hospital when she became suicidal. She spent 5 long months there - and it saved her life! Since then we have been through many ups and downs, and faced challenges which have, at times, threatened to overwhelm us. Mental illness has been part of my life, and my learning, since then, and continues to be an ever-present reminder of the vulnerability and fragility of life.
"There’s nothing in the parenting manuals that tells you what to do when your 15 year old daughter falls apart in front of your eyes, and you find yourself standing there, utterly helpless. And so began the most terrifying, bewildering and exhausting learning curve of my life. Trying to find information, support, someone who could help, and realising quickly that I was not only having to deal with my daughter’s illness, but also the silence, fear and stigma that goes along with it.
"I knew absolutely nothing about mental illness. I didn’t really know what it was, what caused it, what to do about it and – most importantly – I didn’t know what to say or how to help!
"So that's how this all started.
"Cutting a long story short, in 2013, I set up The Project, an early intervention peer support service for young people aged 13-24 affected by mental health issues, as well as offering support to parents and carers. The model created was based on what Jess, and I, wished had been available to us. From a seed of an idea, The Project has turned into a huge success, and has supported hundreds of young people since it opened, been nominated for and won awards, and cited as an example of best practice in peer support by the Department for Education.
"Nobody is more surprised than me ... but I am hugely proud of all The Project has achieved and what is has become in the few years since it opened - and it continues to grow! The Project Training & Consultancy is the next step of this journey, allowing to take this work even further ..."
Founder & CEO
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