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Crystal, service user turned mentor

Crystal was referred to Hep C Hants for support around her Hepatitis C in 2013...

Crystal was fairly chaotic in her drug use at this point and struggled to attend appointments. The P2P team came alongside her and offered her support. They kept in regular contact with Crystal from this point despite the fact she did not engage well. The team showed her unconditional positive regard, care and compassion. We arranged hepatology appointments but Crystal did not attend these, she later advised us this was through fear and shame. Crystal also reported feeling judged for being an intravenous drug user and marginalised because of this.

Crystal first expressed an interest in volunteering in 2014 and was invited to get involved with Hep C Hants P2P as a stepping stone into volunteering. There were objections at this point because Crystal was not stable but again the team and project coordinator kept in touch with her.

At the end of 2015 Crystal became stable on her medication and was able to engage in hepatology support. When she attended her hepatology outpatients appointment Crystal was very surprised to find out she had spontaneously cleared Hepatitis C when she had come into contact with the virus (20% of people do. We recently found out that Crystal had missed 10 appointments at this stage; this illustrates the importance of on-going support and never giving up on someone. For over 4 years Crystal believed she had Hepatitis C and in actual fact she didn’t!

Since this time Crystal has become drug free...

recently celebrating a year of total abstinence, she has progressed through our volunteer model to become a Volunteer Recovery Worker and recently she has taken on her own clients. Crystal is a living example of visible recovery and hope to others.

Crystal says:

Volunteering and getting involved in the P2P Project has ultimately saved my life. It gave purpose to my life, and something I enjoy. Something to wake up for in the mornings. I love the friends I have made whilst volunteering. The confidence it has given me, to talk and share my story in front of others, to raise awareness around Hep C is amazing. I remember listening to someone’s story a few years ago in detox, I sat there watching in awe,’ how someone could have the confidence to share their story, to so many people, I could never do that!’ Now, who would have thought, I’m doing it myself. The P2P project has opened doors for me, and now life really is worth living. I love my life.