Mahala - Next Steps

Portrait of Mahala

Mahala has been supported through the Early Intervention in Psychosis programme and also took part in a Next Steps residential trip. Here she tells us about her experience with CACT.


"CACT group activities have played a massive role in my recovery process on my mental health.

"In 2017 I was diagnosed with my first episode of stress-induced acute psychosis. It was very scary, overwhelming and I felt a lot of anxiety, depression and bad stress.

"In November of that year I was introduced to the CACT activity groups. When I first heard about the groups I knew that's exactly what I needed to meet people who have been in a similar position as myself and experiencing the same things.

"I’ve not only met people, but I've learned so much about myself and the whole journey of recovery on psychosis. From my journey, and from others. 

"I've learnt to challenge myself in the activities alone and it’s also given me good challenging opportunities to put my cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) techniques into action.

"One highlight, and what stands out the most to the CBT techniques, was when I went on the Cornwall trip with the group. I was very nervous as anyone would be to go on the zip wire. But I remained calm, took a breath, remembered I wouldn't actually die, the facts were that I was perfectly safe. And that's what CBT is and does. It puts your anxiety into perspective. But at that extreme, I handled it. It was an opportunity I've used my CBT in and I'll always remember how I handled it. "With thanks again to CACT for giving me the opportunity to experience that. I also was lucky enough to make further friendships on the trip it was fantastic.

I was very nervous when I attended my first CACT group but the guys Terry and Carl have been more than encouraging and welcoming to the groups.

"CACT has played a huge part in my recovery in many different ways and I'm forever grateful for this and I only hope the same happens for others too.

"Also I'm happy to mention that my passion for tennis has been awoken and I'm now playing for a tennis club again. Unfortunately my dream of being a tennis player was stopped when I went to go to Bath University, funding was cut short and this did play a part in my depression. However, I'm delighted and absolutely grateful that Terry has put my name forward to get a coaching certificate with the LTA.

"This journey has been amazing to be involved with CACT’s group activities. I'm excited to say that it's not quite over yet too, I've still got roughly a year and a bit to go till my time has finished with the groups. Hopefully they'll continue as I'm still learning and challenging myself. And also it gives me a great opportunity to meet my friends who I don't always get to see.

"I'm now signed off from my CBT session but will continue to utilise the CACT groups to keep practising the techniques. Especially for the anxiety spells. The CACT groups have shown that in this lonely and isolated world mental health makes you feel, that you're not alone and there are very much people going through the same as yourself.

As part of World Mental Health Day 2020, Mahala opened up about her experience of psychosis with Charlton Athletic midfielder George Lapslie.

George offered to interview Mahala as part of CACT and Charlton's celebration of World Mental Health Day in partnership with the English Football League and MIND Charity.

Find out more about CACT's mental health programme here.