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Emily Dance

Where do you live?

I am a student at Bournemouth university but originally from Staffordshire.

What is your role within Dorset Mind Your Head?

I am a young ambassador

What led you to Dorset mind?

I found the opportunity to work as an ambassador for Dorset Mind through university and thought it could be a fantastic opportunity to help young people and share my story.

What are your interests outside of work?

When I’m not studying, I love to keep active by hiking and exploring new places in the countryside. I also enjoy reading books and expanding my knowledge whether this is for self-growth or just to educate myself on something new.

What is your story in relation to mental health?

When I was a young teenager, I struggled a significant amount with social anxiety and agoraphobia. My struggles led to me being unable to leave the house and I felt a lot of fear attending school. I got to a point where I could not attend school and depression and anxiety had taken over. I wasn’t able to sit my GCSEs and I felt hopeless like I would not ever be able to achieve anything or live a normal life as my anxiety completely controlled me.

I gained support and help through my doctors and other mental health services and with small steps I started to understand my anxiety better and I was able to start to make some changes to push out of my comfort zone. Eventually I was able to attend college and slowly build up some qualifications, this was difficult, but I was determined that I wanted to try. The qualifications I gained enabled me to study an access to HE course in science which allowed me to pursue a university degree.

To this day I struggle with anxiety, but I understand it better now. I can control it and not let it defeat me.

My journey has not been easy, but it has been worth it and I’m glad that I did not give up.

If you could give someone a piece of advice, what would it be?

Never give up, there’s always help out there and things will get better. Tomorrow will be a better day just keep going. My favourite quote is ‘There’s always a rainbow after the storm’.

What is one useful self-care tip that you have found useful?

Being within nature and exercising helps me with my mental health.

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