Vicki Canning is Land & Wave’s School and Finance Manager, joining us back in 2016 after spending 10 years as a veterinary nurse.
This is her story, in her own words
'My relationship with mental health began when I was a teenager after some problems with bullying during school. At the age of 15 I had my first anxiety attack . From here I had repeated flare ups varying in severity all through my 20s and I never really found the right treatment that suited me. My anxiety held me back from a lot and was certainly detrimental to my social life. And then it was just as I hit 30, that I had my first real experience of depression.
I had just made some big life decisions and everything as I knew it; my career, my partner, my house, friends and my pets were no longer part of my life. As a consequence my mental health deteriorated and I was suffering from severe depression.
I couldn’t find a ‘traditional’ method of care that helped me. I found medication did not work for me, and neither did various forms of counselling. I was in an incredibly dark place and for some time I didn’t think I could get out of it. However I was very fortunate and had a lot of people around me who inspired me to keep going and to fight with every ounce of energy I had.
One day realised that I spent too much time in my room thinking about all of it. I was incredibly lucky to have the realisation that I needed a distraction. So along with a friend, I went along for a taster session at my local climbing wall, something I had been thinking about for many years. It is only now that I realised that this decision potentially saved my life.
Two years later and I have gone from someone who was both rather sedentary and solitary to someone entirely different. I now climb at least twice a week as well as go running, cycling and attending the gym. During the summer I climb outdoors, paddleboard, kayak and love to walk and explore our beautiful countryside. I know that if I am having a bit of a low day, all I need to do is stick on my trainers and get out there and my outlook will entirely change. I have found so many incredible new friends, gained so much confidence and have an entirely different outlook on life.
If I hadn't realised how much I love being outdoors and being active, I honestly think I wouldn’t be here today. I cannot emphasise enough how valuable exercise and fresh air has been to my recovery. I can with entire confidence say I am 95% recovered from both my anxiety and my depression.
Another positive was that it led me to find and apply for a job here at Land & Wave.
Being this lucky made me realise that I owed it to other people to help them. This is why I started Dorset Ecotherapy, a charity helping people suffering with mental health conditions to find a way to get outdoors, find a hobby or learn a new skill.
Our main aims at Dorset Ecotherapy are simple:
- Get more people outdoors
- Get more people active and energised
- Help people find new hobbies
- Help people to make new friends
- Help people to find all the above with reassurance, safety and comfort
- Raise awareness for multifaceted mental health treatments
- Campaign for NHS budgeting on alternative therapies for mental health treatment
We want to inspire people to try something as a way to improve their mental health. If we even help just one person to change their life for the better, then our aims would have already been surpassed. If you would like to find out more, support us or if we can help you please visit www.dorsetecotherapy.com '
Here at Land & Wave, we have noticed the rise in the number of people who are suffering the negative affect of mental health conditions.
As a company we feel we can do more, both internally and externally.
I myself, am off next month to train in Mental Health First Aid, and will be taking a course to become a trainer so that all staff at the company can be equipped to deal with any situation that arises.
We have recently started a mentorship programme for our staff, meaning that everyone in the company has a mental health mentor who they can approach if they feel they need to.
Looking to the future, Land & Wave will be supporting Dorset Ecotherapy and offering discounted sessions for those suffering with mental health conditions. Watch this space to find out how we are progressing.