“I want to make progress, not just make do.”

During mental health awareness week, we are promoting an understanding of how Certitude supports people with mental health needs. We recognise the gifts, talents and resources people already have and work together to build confidence and self-esteem, ensuring support is tailored to reflect whatever people want to experience or achieve.

When it comes to gardening, Richard is extremely green-fingered, talented and knowledgeable. He also happens to have schizophrenia, is on the autistic spectrum and does not currently take medication. Following the passing of his father while studying at Cambridge University, he and his mother decided that Richard required more support on what he describes as both “a painful and fulfilling journey.” Here’s what Richard had to say.

Around the time of my father’s passing, there seemed to be a limited understanding of mental health needs, mine in particular. Both socially and emotionally, I would say there were huge deficits in what would be considered as a stable lifestyle and, as a result, my mother and I decided that I would benefit from further support.

Having been supported by Certitude now for over 20 years, I believe that the ongoing commitment to learning about and responding to my needs has been paramount to my development. They have helped me learn practical life skills, and introduced me to my new passion of horticultural gardening!

“What was imperative to me was that I kept my independence, but I also benefitted from the knowledge that a supportive presence was there should I need it.”

Gardening is a key demonstration of the stability I have been able to achieve, as it reflects my ability to organise, persevere and concentrate, which I certainly wouldn’t have been able to do psychologically before. I was also a complete computer-phobic, but I have managed to conquer and leap above this hurdle, too, with the support of my key workers and staff.

I can now say that I am proud of myself, I believe I have made my mother proud and that I have plenty to look forward to in the future. I feel as though I finally have inner-strength and the ability to cooperate with others.

“While I understand that there is still so much more room for progress, that’s exactly what I want to do: make progress, and not just make do.”

This is a landmark point in my life, and I would like to thank all of the people involved in the support I have received from Certitude, as well as my mother.

As an organisation, we work together with people and their families at their own pace to ensure we provide support in ways that work for them. We strive to be resourceful and find creative, personalised ways to work in partnership with people, through thick and thin. Find out more about the services we provide to support people with mental health needs.