'I don't want people to feel as alone as I did': Writing get-well cards for mental health patients
WINGHAM, ONT. -- For one month, last year, Amber Phillips was a patient at the Owen Sound Hospital’s Psychiatric Inpatient Unit, now she sends others there get-well cards.
“I felt such despair and, 'Why am I here, does anyone care.' If I’m gone, would they care,” she remembers feeling at the time.
She also remembers, unlike other people at the hospital with physical ailments, that no one in the mental health unit was getting any get well cards.
“I was up there for one month and no one got mail or any get-well cards,” she says.
Now those patients are getting mail.
Over the past six months, Phillips has been sitting down at a table she sets up in her living room, and has written over 90 cards addressed to patients of the Psychiatric Inpatient Unit. The messages are simple, but meaningful.
“I believe in you, you've got this, which were things I know I needed to hear when I was up there,” she says.
The cards, with Phillips' own photography on the cover, are delivered to the hospital by a local chaplain, and distributed by the hospital’s peer support worker.
The feedback has been fantastic. Phillips has been told the patients appreciate the gesture, especially coming from someone who has been exactly where they are.
“It helps me in my recovery too, that I’m doing something else. I’ve been there. It gives me some peace knowing that we’re not alone,” says Phillips.
Phillips says she plans on writing the get-well cards for years to come, because she knows how much she would have appreciated a boost during her darkest days.
"I just wish that no one would feel that alone, but I know people do."