Ingrid’s Story


Ingrid was 16 years old when she first heard about Turtle Dove from her teacher while she was staying on a mental health inpatient unit. Ingrid had been struggling at school, experiencing severe bullying which had led her mental health to seriously deteriorate. Ingrid had been out of school for 1 year prior to going onto the mental health ward. She was very isolated and had feelings of depression and anxiety, particularly about going out and speaking with people. Ingrid describes her time as “lonely and hopeless” when she looks back on the time she spent on the mental health ward.

Turtle Dove

When Ingrid was told about Turtle Dove, it was presented as a good opportunity for her to work on her confidence. Self-esteem was something that had been really badly affected by the negative relationships Ingrid had experienced at school. When Kate, Turtle Dove Co-founder and Director, first met Ingrid, it was evident that she was in a fragile place. Ingrid found talking difficult and didn’t make eye contact. Kate saw determination in Ingrid, but never imagined how much change she would go on to see in this young woman.

Ingrid’s first session with Turtle Dove was a Peer Support activity where the young women had the opportunity to design animations which would create an informative induction video about the organisations work. Stepping out of her comfort zone and participating in a social activity like this was very daunting for Ingrid, she was scared and nervous about meeting other people. In spite of this, Ingrid decided to stick with it because of how friendly everyone was and soon signed up to working a big wedding event with 200 guests. The busyness of the event took her mind off her anxiety. Initially due to her anxiety, it was agreed that Ingrid would be in the kitchen focusing on washing up, filling up tea pots and then, to Kate’s surprise, Ingrid volunteered to go front of house and serve guests when the caterers needed some extra help.

Since first enrolling with Turtle Dove in 2019, Ingrid has completed 17 events and participated in 6 support sessions, totaling 142 hours. One especially memorable event for her was an inter-generational event, serving afternoon tea at a sheltered living site for elderly residents. Beforehand, Ingrid was feeling nervous, not knowing what she would talk to people about. After handing out tea, she sat down with two gentleman and struck up a conversation. She really enjoyed hearing about their experiences and even wanted to return to offer befriending independently. Ingrid also benefited from getting to know the other young women enrolled with Turtle Dove. Each event she worked, her anxiety about talking with others got slightly better. Although she still experiences it sometimes now, she has more confidence in herself. Ingrid said that through working with Turtle Dove, it was the first time she’d felt useful and that she had something to contribute.


Looking back, Ingrid reflects that she never imagined she would be where she is now “I couldn’t imagine doing it, my life has improved a lot. I feel proud of myself”. Now Ingrid has hope and ambition for the future. Since being supported by Turtle Dove, Ingrid secured various jobs and hopes to go travelling around Asia. She loves learning foreign languages and now feels equipped with a toolkit of coping strategies for when things become challenging. Ingrid highlighted that for her “Turtle Dove went above and beyond. It sets up opportunities for people, you get confidence for working and become versatile for other jobs”.

If you are, or know of a young woman who might benefit from our service, fill out our referral form here, and if they are of school age see the Education Programme we offer.

*Names have been changed to protect identities.