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Meet people where they are

Story heard from Tracy Bodle in Kirklees (apologies for any erroneous transcription, all my own!):

At an allotment group set up to support people with mental health issues as part of their recovery journey: a man joined them who was in a difficult place and felt he had nothing to contribute, all he could do was turn up. He sat on a bench and smoked. The other people in the group tried to get him involved and asked if he wanted to help or dig and he was adamant he didn’t want to, he said that just turning up had taken everything he had.

Eventually they asked him what his favourite colour was, and he said red. They planted seeds that grew red flowers and the following season they came in bloom, just because he’d been there. He may not have planted them, but he was part of the process and shared in the ownership of it.

He had so little resource, resilience and energy left at that point that all he could was show up – and the other people made it so that it was good enough. Even though there were barriers to his involvement they found a way for him to contribute.

Being able to find something individual and worthy about a person is a skill to be cultivated.


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