I’d been unemployed for 10+ years and was battling depression and anxiety. I was a heavy drug user, especially cannabis, and after my criminal conviction, my thoughts kept turning to suicide.
I got involved with the Swingbridge Endeavour crews via community payback (sometimes known as probation); it didn’t feel like a punishment but rather an opportunity.
It was my chance to learn some new skills, it boosted my self confidence, out on the river was like basic mental health therapy.
I could talk to the crew about my suicidal plans before my court date, I told them how the boat work, and the crews had helped me subdue my thoughts. Ron said, “well, why don’t you come and join us, learn some skills, get something to add to my cv?”, he treated me with respect and like anyone else – he was someone who didn’t really know me, whose job wasn’t to ‘fix’ me, he just wanted to help.
Now I’ve finished my sentence, I have decided to take up Ron’s offer and become a permanent volunteer.
I no longer feel depressed or have suicidal thoughts. I now have a routine instead of laying in bed till 1-2pm; I’m up by 8 every morning. I no longer smoke cannabis, and my mental health is in a far better place but I feel if my mental health does start to relapse I can talk to the crew and they will take the time to help me.
I feel now I can be a valuable member of society, I’ve learnt new skills and I am just about to undertake my first qualification in boat handling! I’m much, much happier now.
names changed and models used to protect privacy
Get in touch if you would like to find out how to get involved with Endeavour’s activities.