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Steph Phillips

I was an engineering student with the Open University and a mum of two young kids when my partner and I separated. I was really overwhelmed – it was a lot to take in and deal with, as I was already trying to cope with post-natal depression. I had been at home with my kids until they went into full time education, so I was stressed about giving up uni, having to find a full-time job and putting the kids in full time childcare. I felt as though everything had sort of fallen apart.

I got in touch with Foothold to ask for some help with my IET membership fees. Everyone I spoke to was really understanding and genuinely wanted to help.

Then I found out I was also eligible for counselling support. I was skeptical about it at first but after a couple of sessions I could see the positive effect it had. Getting to talk to someone about anything and everything meant I could get things off my chest and go back to my life without carrying it all around with me all the time.

I found a lovely counsellor without being on a massive waiting list. She was able to work around me and my busy life, doing voice calls instead of face-to-face meetings. The sessions helped me process everything that had happened. I went from being hugely stressed and not knowing how to deal with things, to having healthy ways of coping with and managing my stress and post-natal depression. I put my ability to be so healthy and happy now down to the support that I received.

I also got a monthly grant which helped so much in the first few months of being a single parent, allowing me to get out of the debt I was in after the split, while I found work.

I’ve been able to become self-employed and work from home, meaning I’m in the lucky position to look after the kids at home, like I always wanted. With the help of Foothold, I was able to avoid taking out loans for the initial equipment and materials for my tiny business. I make blankets, clothes, toys – anything that people ask for! Just through word of mouth, it seems to be going well. It’s something I can work around the kids and my studying, so everything has worked out incredibly in the end!

Although things are still manic in the house, I just feel content and secure. I know we are incredibly lucky and have been so fortunate. I feel like I have a safety net which reassures me massively. We still have stressful days, but I can manage them so much better than before. We live a really simple, happy life!

Tips on emotional wellbeing

This means a lot to me and my family.

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