Meet Linda Arneill – Volunteer fundraising organiser

Linda’s willingness to speak about her story at a number of high-profile presentations, and explain to a room full of strangers how Teamwork Trust’s counselling services helped her when she had reached her lowest point, has helped boost the profile of Teamwork Trust. Thanks to her words, important decision-makers from funding bodies and mental health organisations have heard first-hand how the charity changes lives.

I had worked for 27 years as a professional in the media industry but when my marriage fell apart three years ago, my world came crashing down around me,” said Linda. “I was going through a difficult break up, but I was too ashamed to tell anyone how I was feeling. I tried to carry on with my life and my job, pretending to the outside world that everything was perfect, when it really wasn’t.

By the time her husband had moved out of the family home, Linda felt she was at breaking point.
“From the outside I looked perfectly normal. I would still do my hair and make-up so I guess I didn’t look like the stereotypical image of someone suffering from depression, but I no longer felt like the confident, professional person I had been.
“I just remember the panic I would feel when I walked into my office and how the anxiety would set in as soon as I sat at my desk. I just couldn’t function at work. And it wasn’t much better at home – I was fine when I was with my son, who is autistic and needs 24-hour care, but when I was alone, I found it unbearable.”
Linda then began counselling at Teamwork Trust, and more recently wellbeing and mindfulness classes – she says she has started to build her life back up.
“My counsellor didn’t try to solve all my problems, instead she let me talk through what was really going on in my life and in my head, and gave me tools and techniques to manage my depression and anxiety.
“It wasn’t an overnight fix, it has taken many months and I still have a long way to go. Counselling hasn’t cured me, but I do know that without it, I probably wouldn’t be here today.”
“People are shocked when I tell my story, and that tells me that people still don’t really understand that mental health issues affect so many. Prince William and Prince Harry have definitely helped reduce the stigma of mental health but it’s the stories of people like me that really show the reality.”
Linda has been so inspired by the support she has received from Teamwork that she has become a volunteer fundraiser, organising the annual charity Golf Day which is attended by lots of big-name local businesses and popular coffee morning events.
“When I stand up and present to people about my life experiences or when I run fundraising events, I find myself again. It’s in those moments, when I am helping others, that I feel like the confident person I used to be.”