The voices and experience of people involved with FDAMH.


Not a normal experience this one, this is a work of fiction by one of the members of our 2017 Screen Writing Group. The Group developed a wide variety of writing skills and have produced a new play about mental health which we hope to put into production in the coming year. Claire won a group competition with her spooky story ‘Trapped’ which was judged by group tutor Katie white and the Scottish Screen Writers.

TRAPPED by Claire Barrie

“Just go for it, you can do this!” Lauren encouraged her little sister softly, kneeling to meet her eye level.

“I can’t, I’m scared!” Emma whined back, her eyes darting down the hallway as she whispered fearfully, “What if they get me?”

Lauren’s hands grasped Emma’s shoulders to squeeze reassuringly, as if passing along some of her own strength. “They won’t, you’re small and fast.”

“But there’s so many…” Emma bit her lip as she trailed off, straining to hear the noise from the other rooms.

“I’ll be right behind you, I won’t let anything happen to you.” Lauren vowed with conviction. “Do you remember the plan?”

Emma nodded quickly, blurting out in one breath, “Find the keys, grab supplies, and get outside. You promise we won’t leave without Paul?”

“I promise.” Lauren repeated, getting to her feet. “I’ll search upstairs, you search down here, deal?”

Emma fumbled with the sleeves of her jumper, and mumbled, “I don’t want to split up.”

Lauren’s face softened as she pulled her little sister into a hug, “I know, but we have too, it’ll be quicker that way. We can still talk to each other with these.” Carefully, she held out her own walkie talkie, and prompted Emma to pick up the other on the stair beside them. “Do you trust me?” She asked, while she studied Emma’s face for any signs of hesitation.

“Yeah.” Emma finally sighed reluctantly. She’d feel better if Paul was with her, but they’d gotten separated when they arrived earlier and now it was chaos.

“Alright let’s go, I’ll meet you back here in five minutes.” Lauren gave one last squeeze to Emma’s shoulder before she ran up the stairs and out of sight before Emma had the chance to beg her to stay.

“I can do this.” Emma whispered to herself, and began to creep down the darkened hallway towards all the noise. “I can do this.” She repeated, coming to a stop outside the first door.

She pressed her ear against the cool surface but all she could hear was the thumping of her own heartbeat. Emma dared to crack the door open just enough to peek inside, and glimpsed the empty bathroom. “Paul?” She quietly called out, but got no response.

Down the hall, another door creaked open, spilling light across the carpet. In panic, Emma quickly hid inside the bathroom, and turned the lock just before the handle moved. The sound of groaning and shuffled footsteps chilled her to the bone and she had no choice but to wait until they retreated.

“Lauren? Lauren I’m trapped.” Emma frantically whispered into the walkie-talkie, the sound of static hissed back at her. She’d never felt so alone. “Lauren?” She tried again, her thumb pressing harder on the stiff plastic button at the side until her knuckles turned white.

Seconds stretched on like years to Emma, when Lauren’s voice finally crackled through. “Where are you? I found Paul, but we need to get the first aid kit from the kitchen.”

“I’m in the bathroom.” Emma hurriedly answered, worry colouring her words as she tried not to yell, “Is he going to be okay?”

“He’ll make it.” Lauren said, but her voice was coming from the other side of the door. “The coast is clear, come on, we need to hurry.”

Emma sprang forward to unlock the door and flung herself out to wrap her arms around her sister and Paul. “Are you okay, what happened?”

“I told him not to talk to conserve his energy.” Lauren whispered, keeping a tight grip of Paul as she ushered the them down towards the kitchen. “He got trapped under a bookcase, busted his leg, but he’s going to be alright. Did you find the keys?”

Emma shook her head with regret, “I hid instead of looking. I’m sorry.”

“Hey, you were brave and smart to find a hiding place, don’t be sorry.” Lauren pushed the door to the kitchen open and winced at the sight of three, shambling bodies huddled together in the corner near the fridge.

“Get under the table!” Lauren hissed, lifting the cloth up just in time to conceal her sister and Paul beneath it. “Whatever happens, don’t come out until I tell you too.”

The sound of teeth clacking and feet dragging grew closer, the musty smell of what Emma considered death clung to the air with the sweet scents of flowers. From under the table she could hear cupboards being opened and shut frantically, then Lauren calling out, “Hey, over here!”

The soft groaning moved further away from Emma, and back towards the fridge just as a first aid kit was slid under the table, along with a lunchbox filled with what she hoped was sandwiches and juice pouches.

There was no time to rejoice, as Lauren let out a yell of, “Emma run! Find the keys, it’s your only chance!”

“I can’t leave you!” Emma wailed as she scrambled onto her feet, but when she turned to her sister all she could see were boney hands with paper thin skin reaching for Lauren’s face.

“Save yourself!” Lauren shouted back just as they got her.

Emma grabbed Paul around the arm and took off like a bat from hell, her legs moving faster than she could think. She made it out of the kitchen, into the livingroom, and narrowly avoided colliding with a herd of bodies all feasting on something, or someone, else. The sound of chewing echoed around the room and blocked out the sound of music playing faintly from the stereo.

There, on the couch, a set of keys that looked familiar, and Emma made a beeline for them before anything could stop her. She ran towards the patio doors and pressed her face against the thick cool glass to look into the garden. She could already taste the frosty air, the freedom, and with shaky hands she began to slide the door open but before she could squeeze outside a gnarled hand clasped her shoulder and pulled her back as she let out a blood curdling shriek.

“And just where do you think you’re going?” The warm voice of her mother caressed the side of Emma’s ear as she turned to face the woman.

“We were playing Zombie Apocalypse.” Lauren supplied as she walked over with a plate stacked with little triangle sandwiches and cocktail sausages skewered with toothpicks, pickles and cubes of cheese on the end.

“Oh I see.” Their mother laughed, and scooped her youngest daughter into her arms. “You almost made it out alive, huh?”

“Yeah.” Emma sighed, looking back at the party forlornly, “Paul needs medical attention.” She stated, holding up her stuffed polar bear. His hind leg spouted fluff from where the stitching had come loose.

“Well I’m sure I can take care of Paul.” Their mother assured soothingly, clearly amused by her five year old’s imagination. “Now let’s get back to your Grandma’s birthday party, we’re about to bring out the cake.”

“Okay, here then, “Emma dangled a set of car keys in front of her mother’s face, “We don’t need these any more.”

“Where did you find your uncle’s car keys?” Their mother asked, slightly alarmed.

“Probably the couch.” Lauren laughed, “He’d lose his head if it wasn’t attached.”

“What am I going to do with the pair of you?” The mother said with a shake of her head.

Emma shared a look with her sister before announcing happily, “Give us cake!”

Written by Claire Barrie, Thursday 21st September 2017

Tags: Activity Groups
05/12/2017 at 3:15 pm

A bit more special than your average course

COSCA Counselling Skills Course feedback…
“I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending the COSCA Skills course to those considering it. It can be hard work learning about yourself, in fact it can be downright tiring some weeks, but the self-awareness and understanding gained is well worth it. It was also surprisingly fun, with unexpected friends made within the whole group. I thoroughly enjoyed the course and each week I was able to apply the learning to my own life, and to practice these new skills at work and in every day interactions with people.
After completing the course I certainly feel I have new skills and understanding, which has improved my practice at work, but a fantastic tutor coupled with the laughs and personal insight gained along the way make it something a bit more special than your average course.”

Tags: FDAMH Training
03/11/2016 at 12:05 pm

Reaching personal goals and moving on thanks to Befriending

When I was first referred to FDAMH for a befriender I was just sitting in the house all day because I didn’t have the confidence to go out.

I met with Stuart (Service Manager) at the centre and we had a chat about befriending and what I might want to do.

I was matched really quickly with a befriender and we arranged to meet every week in Falkirk. At first I really had to push myself to go, but I did. We got on well and had a good laugh. My befriender seemed to know what I was feeling and it seemed to me he used his skills to help and encourage me to regain my confidence.

We went to Wotherspoons for lunch when it was busy and to the Howgate when it was busy and this built up my confidence in busy places. We also did some fun things like having a wander round the charity shops.

I’d say that my confidence is at about 95% now and I’m able to get out and about on my own. I’ve now got things in place that keep me busy every day.

I feel that the befriending has achieved what I wanted it to achieve and I am able to move on under my own steam. My befriender can now do a similar job with someone who was in the place I was in.

Tags: Befriending
15/09/2016 at 2:40 pm

The sense of accomplishment as a volunteer befriender

I felt a great sense of accomplishment after every befriending session in knowing my befriendee had gained something positive from the experience. I have enjoyed seeing small changes, her confidence has really improved and so has her independence – ordering her own food for example. We have had some great days out walking, cinema, shopping, bowling but it was sometimes difficult to make concrete arrangements and there were last minute cancellations. Stuart (Service Manager) stepped in when required and we had regular meetings, very supportive.

I found the training to be detailed and informative giving me the necessary skills to be an effective befriender.

Tags: Befriending, Volunteering
15/09/2016 at 2:37 pm

Immediate Help Service helped me when I was contemplating suicide

FDAMH were there for me straight away. Having just left my doctor suffering from a bad depression I called there number that was given to me by the doctor, I spoke with a person that agreed to meet me straight away.

I went to their offices and met with Jane. Jane took me to a room and we talked about my problems, problems that to me were so bad I no longer wanted to be a burden and was contemplating suicide.

Jane managed to talk me out from these thoughts and gave me some hope of help. Jane also gave me some helpful information and contacts that could possibly help me, and for that immediate help I am grateful. I do believe that if I had not been given this help from FDAMH I would have followed through on my thoughts of suicide.

Thank you.

Tags: Depression, Immediate Help Service
15/09/2016 at 2:34 pm

Immediate Help Service – Practical help at a critical time

I just wanted to thank you for your support and kindness when I dropped into FDAMH a few weeks ago. I was in a really bad place and had been struggling to function in every day life. I hadn’t yet received a diagnosis for my illness but you gave me hope and clarity that day. Part of my illness (now confirmed as BPD) is an overwhelming feeling of abandonment so to have you there for me means a lot.

Although I am now referred to a mental health team, your offer of drop-in services, CAB financial advice meetings and the women’s group, has offered me real practical help at a critical time in my life. More importantly, your gentle, kind and professional manner helped me immensely when I was in such a high state of anxiety.

I feel so lucky to have you and the team there for me and just wanted you to know how grateful I am. I look forward to seeing you soon.

Tags: Immediate Help Service
15/09/2016 at 2:24 pm