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Andy’s story…

I’m Andy, 25 from Bournemouth. Career wise I am Head of UK Domestic scouting at AFC Bournemouth and I have been working at AFC Bournemouth since the age of 18. 

What are your interests/passions?

Anything fitness related including: football, running, fitness and gym workouts.  I especially like running and have run the New Forest Half Marathon for Dorset Mind. I was set to run the London Marathon, but that has been postponed due to coronavirus.

How did you come to Dorset Mind?

After opening up about my own mental health story, I decided I wanted to sign up for a half marathon (New Forest half marathon). Something that would challenge me and a distance I had never run before whilst being able to raise money for a mental health charity. That’s how I came about getting to know everyone at Dorset Mind and finding out what the charity does locally. 

Has anything changed in your life since becoming an ambassador?

Since I’ve openly spoken about my battles and struggles I have actually felt a lot more at ease and more confident in myself. By talking about my struggles, I hope it’s allowed others around to feel more at ease and confident in themselves. In the sense that they are not alone.  
 
One thing I want to stress it that today I feel great, potentially better than ever, but that’s not to say I won’t have a bump in the road in the future. Not everyday is the same but when I have those bumps I know how to deal with them now. For me when dealing with any down days, I always believe in making sure you know your coping mechanisms.

Mine is running. It helps both my physical and mental wellbeing but also there is a sense of achievement and I keep setting new goals. 

Has Dorset Mind helped you in any way, if so how?

Dorset Mind has helped me feel part of a community. A collective team hoping to break stigma and create a positive change. 

What do you hope to achieve in your role, in your life, what’s driving you?

I hope my story will reach and help people of a similar age to me. Many people around my age struggle to show their true feelings because they may be worried about judged or being seen as weak. I hope I have proved that it’s ok to not feel ok.

I have big dreams and ambitions, but my driving force in life is to make my family proud and to make my nan proud. She may not be around anymore but she has such an incredible influence on my life.

If you had one piece of advice you could tell someone about how to improve their mental health, what would it be?

You can find real strength from recognising your own weaknesses. Once you identify them you can plan strategies to help you cope when your mental health or wellbeing is challenged.

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