A Princes Risborough woman is determined to prove that a diagnosis of mental illness does not mean abandoning your dreams. Charlotte is now well on her way to securing her private pilot's license, having resumed flying lessons after a period of severe mental ill health and hospitalisation.
She has praised Culverton Court, the Hightown Housing Association supported housing scheme where she lives, for giving her the confidence to pursue her ambitions.
Speaking out in the run up to World Mental Health Day (10 October), Charlotte said:
"I would say to anyone living with mental health challenges, never to give up – it does get easier. With the support and encouragement from staff at Culverton Court, I am doing things I never would have had the chance to do. Every flight is like a new adventure for me and I have not even flown solo yet."
Before lockdown, Charlotte – who moved into the scheme for people with severe and enduring mental health problems in 2017 – was taking flying lessons once a month. Lockdown restrictions forced lessons to be put on hold for a few months, but fortunately Charlotte was able to continue with the theory side of her studies online. Now that restrictions have been partially lifted, Charlotte is back in the pilot seat and raring to go again.
Culverton Court service manager Joseph Nyamapfene, said:
"Despite the challenges our service users have in their daily lives, they don't let it prevent them from achieving their goals. Their success pushes us to do more and think of new activities to help them reach their full potential. Positive stories like Charlotte's motivate us to continue working hard to support the people we care for."
According to the Mental Health Foundation, one adult in six has had a common mental disorder, whilst 4-10% of people in England will experience depression in their lifetime. The theme for this year's World Mental Health Day, which is organised by the World Federation of Mental Health, is 'mental health for all', underlining that under the current global health emergency no-one should be denied mental health care.