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Sandra Smith, 62, thanks York Mind charity
A WOMAN whose world was turned upside down when her husband suffered a stroke has thanked York Mind for “giving me my life back”.
Sandra Smith told how her husband Graham used to care for her as she struggled to cope with depression, acute back pain and arthritis.
Sandra, 62, said: “He was my rock and my support. He did everything for me.
“But when he had his massive stroke last year, our world was turned upside down.
“I suddenly had to become his full-time carer and I found it incredibly difficult to cope.”
Sandra, from New Earswick, said: “We didn’t know where to turn. We were at our wit’s end. I was already deeply depressed, but Graham’s stroke made everything ten times worse.
“We couldn’t go out, we didn’t see anybody and we sat at home in silence. We had always loved each other so much, and put the other one first, so this way of life was unbearable for both of us.”
She said she had never heard of the mental health charity Mind, but was prepared to give it a go when someone at York Hospital mentioned how helpful it could be.
The couple started using the services of the charity and have never looked back.
Sandra said: “Our lives have completed changed.”
She said Graham was supported by a “befriender”, who visited him on a weekly basis.
Sandra said it got him out of the house and gave him something to look forward to. Sandra was also also helped by her own befriender, a “lovely student” called Emily.
She said: “Together, we have visited some of York’s best attractions which, I’m ashamed to say, I had never visited before.
“Emily is also a brilliant problem solver and helps me if something is wrong.”
She said she had also been going to York Mind’s craft group, which helped her to interact better with other people, lifting her spirits and making things she was proud of.
“Instead of handing out pills to depressed, stressed and lonely patients, doctors should tell them to go to York Mind.
“It is no exaggeration to say this wonderful charity has given me my life back, and Graham’s too.”
• York Mind, based in Clifton, is currently gearing up for World Mental Health Day on Thursday, October 10.
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