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Charlie’s Story – Check-in and Chat and mental health

The easing of lockdown has allowed many of us to return to a life we longed for, while for others it has been a great source of anxiety as we were catapulted from a new way of living back to our old ways.

Charlie Dobson (pictured), aged 25, an exercise rider for Michael Bell found her mental health deteriorating as we were forced to reconnect with life when lockdown lifted. She turned to her local welfare officer for support, who identified Racing Welfare’s Check-in and Chat service as something that could potentially help to improve her mental health.

Charlie was open to this suggestion and now receives weekly check-in calls from a volunteer. She says:

“It was Sarah, a welfare officer who put me through to the Check-in and Chat service because I was in a really bad place with my mental health at the time.

“I was getting very overwhelmed with everything coming out of lockdown – with town being flooded with people again and me being back at work and constantly being surrounded by people – I was struggling.”

The anonymous feel of the service is one of the fundamental reasons Charlie has found the calls so impactful. She says:

“It’s really good because it’s all on the phone and I don’t know the person I’m speaking to. It’s someone who just phones you up and you can literally unload everything. I have been able to build up a rapport with the person who calls me and he’s lovely. He lets me cry my eyes out if I need to and we can have a laugh when I’ve had good days.”

“It’s helped me get a lot off my chest without feeling judged. For me personally it’s harder to speak to someone face to face, but over the phone, because I just know their name and the sound of their voice; I know that I’m not being judged. It helps me to say exactly how I feel.”

Conversations of a relaxed nature have contributed towards Charlie’s positive experience and the two of them chat about a wide range of topics:

“We talk about racing, we talk about everything in general – what I’m doing with my studying and I tell him about all the dog walks I’ve been on. I’ll definitely continue with the calls while I feel like it’s a benefit to my mental health.”

“It’s really helpful and I would recommend it to people who are struggling to open up and talk, I really would.”

If you would like more information on our Check-in and Chat Service, you can call 0800 6300 443 or visit our self-support pages.