Young woman hopes her initiative will help others with mental health issues
A woman who has struggled with mental health issues is striving to help others with similar problems.
Jamie-Leigh Mackintosh has started filling shoe boxes with items to help those who find themselves in a dark place or those feeling alone.
The 22-year-old from Thetford, has included bath bombs, sweets, motivational messages, homemade notebooks for people to write down their thoughts and coping strategies.
Also included in the Fighting Together boxes is a list of helpline numbers, including the Samaritans, and her personal email address if people need someone to talk too.
“I have struggled with mental health issues all my life,” said Miss Mackintosh, who lives with her parents in Oak Close. “When I was going through things a year ago I made myself a box. I thought if someone made that for me when I was in a dark place, it would have made me feel like I was not alone.
“If someone feels alone or needs support then I am here for them. That is all I wanted when I was feeling low.”
Miss Mackintosh’s mental health issues started when she was 12 and had anorexia. She was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at 16 and then with borderline personality disorder.
She has self-harmed and has attempted suicide.
Her personality disorder causes voices in her head which tell her she is a bad person.
She said: “It is like having a big set of headphones on that are so loud you cannot hear the thoughts in your own head. It blocks things out and you fixate on what the voices are saying.”
Miss Mackinstosh, who said her family have been her rock, said changes in her medication are helping her to better manage the condition and has been inspired to offer help and advice to others.
“I just want to help someone,” she said. “I try to do things to help other people. And when they are at their darkest stage and they don’t have anywhere to go to, they will have these things.
They can add to the boxes themselves and put different things into it which help them.”
Miss Mackintosh has self-funded the Fighting Together boxes, which are free.
To find out more about the boxes visit Miss Mackintosh’s Facebook page, JayLeighs Target To A Brighter Mental Health System.