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James’s story: Benefiting from peer support

James has had anxiety from early childhood, which has slowly worsened. Over time, James has sought clarity on his mental health and found ways to boost his confidence. He has benefited from peer group support and one-to-one support in Stranraer by coming to Change Mental Health.

Having anxiety since he was a child, his previous school reports would say that “James doesn’t like change, but after he’s done it, he’s fine.” James believes it all in the thought process of being worried that something will change, which became more difficult as he started working.

“Everything that I’ve done that I’ve been worried about – such as talking to you right now – when it’s finished, I wonder why I’ve worried the whole day about it. I don’t seem to learn. I get worried, but I always seem to get through it.”

James was once a Support Worker for people with learning disabilities in Glasgow. The anxiety worsened, and James started doing less before becoming more withdrawn. After visits to the GP, James was diagnosed with bipolar disorder (type 2), major depressive disorder, and EUPD that followed severe anxiety. He managed with the medication he was on, but those eventually stopped working, which led to James leaving his job when his mental health deteriorated.

A break-up of a relationship brought James to Stranraer, and Change Mental Health services have supported him since arriving.

“I’ve found it’s boosted my confidence, and it’s helping me push to do things I’d never thought about before. I’ve had one-to-one help, and I go to men’s group every Wednesday. The group structure has been fundamental to my general wellbeing – knowing that I have the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday with peer support and even volunteering.”


James has participated in various activities, such as pizza nights, and has received help with his EUPD diagnosis. He believes the friend that encouraged him to attend a session at Change Mental Health over four years ago has massively helped his mental health.

“If I hadn’t found the group here, I really don’t know where I’d be right now. We can chat about anything in the group and how we’re feeling at the same time. There’s quite a large group here, and with my boosted confidence, it’s just knowing there are people with similar experiences. It’s so easy to be here and talk about anything, and nobody is judging because they’ve been in the same boat.”

“Before, I wouldn’t have been able to walk in town or even just out my front door. I’ve now been able to go out and meet friends more and not feel so isolated.

“All the staff have been so helpful and understanding. I’m quite positive that I’ve got something ahead of me now.”



Our Advice and Support Service is open Monday to Friday, 10 am to 4 pm, where advisers can signpost you to local support that most fits your needs, including our own Change Mental Health services. We offer initial advice on money worries and help to deal with emergencies.

Contact 0808 8010 515, email us at or fill out the enquiry form on the Advice and Support Service page.


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