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Debbie Marlow, Mental Health Practitioner at Bridport Community Front Room

As a Mental Health Practitioner at Bridport Community Front Room (CFR), Debbie Marlow stands side by side people facing true crises in their lives. Here, Debbie talks of the deep satisfaction she feels from being there for people when they most need it.

“I came to the Community Front Room with 20 years’ experience as a Mental Health Nurse. But nothing in my career has touched me as deeply as the last two years I have spent helping people who come through our doors at Bridport.

“We offer a listening ear to people who often feel they have nowhere to go. Sometimes people who are so deep in crisis they feel unable to go on.

“It’s a huge responsibility and privilege and some days all you can do is hope a person feels safer because of seeing you and will have the strength to come back to see you again. 

“The combination of help we offer through Mental Health Practitioners like myself and our wonderful Peer Practitioners – who have lived experience of many of these issues – can make all the difference to a person in crisis.

“By simply listening to a person and validating what they are going through, we can help them see there is a way forward and they can start their journey to recovery.

“And when that person goes on to tell you they wouldn’t be here if they hadn’t had your help, you feel you have done something to truly help another human being.

“During the last two years I have seen changes in the mental health issues people are trying to deal with and of course many of these have been heavily-shaped by the pandemic.

“There has been an increase in people struggling terribly because Covid has increased waiting times for mental health and other medical treatments.

“When you are in crisis, a week is a long time to wait for help – six months or a year seems impossible.

“Being part of the CFRs, we see that they work and I would love to see more opened across the region and nationally.

“I would also like to see them working more closely with other mental health services which share our common goals and I think they could be very helpful for the rising number of young males experiencing mental health difficulties.

“People come to us and very quickly see that we offer a safe place, where they can talk and share.

“We are non-judgmental and we offer a balance of practitioners and peer support workers who can help them find a path on even the toughest of journeys.

“I’m feel extremely proud and privileged to be part of that journey.”

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