AN inspirational new film shows the work being done at The Retreat in York and tells of how it has changed the lives of mental health patients, writes health reporter Kate Liptrot.
“I never really knew what normal was”, Cait Glover explains to the camera, “I was anxious and afraid of the world. I spent years running away, from life, from myself, from everything.
"They've taught me how to cope with it. I can't stop the feelings, I can't stop the memories, I can't stop the bad dreams but I've learned to be able to live with it and deal with it to the extent that I no longer want to end my life, I no longer want to run away from everywhere. They gave me a life."
Speaking after the premiere of a moving new Inspired Youth film which looks at the work being done behind the walls of The Retreat in Heslington Road, the 61-year-old told the audience that she had considered going there to be her "last chance saloon" after traumatic experiences both in her childhood and her adult life caused her to become unwell.
Despite her fears, she was never given up on, she said, and is now proof that recovery can happen.
Cait's story - which is accompanied with shots of her speaking in a book lined room at The Retreat and on a bench looking out over its grounds - is central to the short film, which aims to show how The Retreat's long history of compassionate mental health care is now applied to a modern healthcare setting based on respect, dignity and tolerance.
Poetry written and by patients Hannah Jackson and Ruth Laurie-Hopper also accompanies the film.
Speaking at the York St John University screening , 26-year-old Hannah said she had been hospitalised on numerous occasions but found her treatment at The Retreat for borderline personality disorder to be the most constructive she has come across.
"The environment is amazing," she said, "We take responsibility for ourselves - it's about treating you with compassion and respect and giving you more time. I would never have been able to speak in front of people like this before."
Director Kevin Curran, from Inspired Youth, a not-for-profit digital-production enterprise based at York St John University, said: “Compassion is a running theme throughout The Retreat and all its services, but the real focus seemed to be about individualised care, getting to know an individual and understanding their needs in order to provide the best possible care.
“It was a very humbling experience...We hope that we have captured an element of that passion for people”.
To view the film, go to www.theretreatyork.org.uk