Andy shares his experience of our listening service and how it’s helped him find stability during the pandemic

I’m Andy, and I’m 54 years old. I found the Rapha Listening Service online after struggling with the pandemic restrictions. I referred myself and had my first session with Duncan, a volunteer listener, at the end of November 2020.

The listening sessions

We built a rapport very quickly. Talking to Duncan was like having a slightly older brother.

At the end of each session, we reflected on what was said. It felt good to be able to get things out there without feeling judged.

Because of COVID, all my sessions were by phone. Then, as things improved, we moved to face to face. It was great to put a face to the name finally!

Andy’s struggle with mental health

I was diagnosed with clinical depression when I was 11 years old and started using drugs and alcohol to cope with my mental health when I was 18.  At that time, my parents had no idea how to support me.

I have been in and out of different forms of support ever since and finally stopped using alcohol and drugs to cope 8 ½ years ago.

Why does the listening service work for Andy?

I’m not a fan of conventional talking therapies; I feel the counsellor is trying to fix me. I don’t feel this way about the listening service because it’s the total opposite – I think it’s the best support service I’ve ever experienced. I’m now in a place where I feel able to give back and become a listener myself.

If you would like to access our service, which is available to anyone living in Birmingham and the surrounding areas, visit our Listening Service page on this website. However, please be aware that this is a short wait before you can access a listener.

If you would like to volunteer with us, you can find out more on our volunteering page.