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Cecilia, Cabinet Office

Cecilia’s passion for mental health comes from personal experience. After seeking help herself, she wants to help others who are struggling to find their voice.

Cecilia has worked for the Civil Service for three years. As a manager within the Fast Stream Early Talent sector, she focuses on the mental wellbeing of her team. She plays a key role in supporting them throughout their intense fast streamer programmes, acting as a source of reassurance as they develop their skillset and experience a range of career paths. It is her own personal story however, that has inspired her to help those of us who feel we can’t speak up.

“I had a very long period of severe depression earlier in my life and I was suicidal for a long time. I then experienced an unexpected relationship breakdown and it caused a lot of turmoil in my life. I wanted to talk to someone outside of my family and friends circle about everything but I was scared of being judged.”

Cecilia remembered the Charity and had even signposted her colleagues to our services over the years. She had never considered the prospect of asking for help herself until that point. Although she initially felt nervous about giving us a call, she quickly felt at ease once she started talking to a member of our team.

“We talked for a long time. I remember thinking…this guy gets it. The feeling of being validated and understood was so powerful that it stayed with me. If the person I spoke to is reading this…I want to say thank you…and give you a big virtual hug.”

After a supportive conversation, we offered Cecilia free counselling sessions through our partner organisation Relate. However, Cecilia felt that she was already being supported in this area by her Employee Assistance Programme. After understanding her range of options, Cecilia felt the initial conversation with our team was all she needed.

“Sometimes it’s easier to talk to a stranger about your problems. That phone call made a long-term difference to how I felt about my situation and myself. I wouldn’t be here today if I hadn’t reached out to the Charity.”

A year later, Cecilia is thriving. She is continuing her efforts to educate others and get people talking to each other. Having recently trained as a Mental Health First Aider herself, she now plans to train other colleagues, growing a strong supportive network within our own community. She even won a Community Award with us for her achievements last year.

“I know that I will still be sad sometimes but it’s about accepting that and saying, hey, that’s okay. I want to make some meaning out of what happened to me and turn it into something positive. We all matter in this world. That’s why I want to help other people.”

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