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Bury St Edmunds shepherdess wants to help youths with mental health




A Bury St Edmunds shepherdess who has faced her own mental health battles is reaching out to youths with similar issues.

Kit Bradley, 41, of Springfield Avenue, suffered with post-natal depression after her son Jake, now 9, was born.

She decided to tackle the problem by getting outdoors and started volunteering for the National Trust, where one day she had to help a shepherd who was struggling in harsh weather conditions.

Kit says she "caught the bug" for shepherding.
Kit says she "caught the bug" for shepherding.

It was then she “caught the bug” for shepherding, and has been doing it ever since.

She started helping young people who were suffering themselves by showing them how to care for sheep, and now is reaching out to anyone else who might want to give it a try.

Kit has struggled most of her life with feelings of anxiety and guilt, and when her son Jake was born, she struggled to deal with the guilt of having a newborn child.

Kit said she was fortunate that her post-natal depression was 'short-lived'.
Kit said she was fortunate that her post-natal depression was 'short-lived'.

“I was quite fortunate, it was short-lived,” she said.

But it was getting outdoors and having another living thing relying on her that helped.

She started volunteering in Ickworth Park and although the shepherding work was physically exhausting, she found it rewarding.

Later on, she began working with young people who were dealing with their own mental health problems.

Kit has 28 sheep in total, some are Jacobs and the others Cheviots.
Kit has 28 sheep in total, some are Jacobs and the others Cheviots.

There was one who sticks out for Kit - a young lady who came to do work experience with her during her first year of university.

“She was a lambing student at Ickworth and struggled with her mental health. She opened up and poured her heart out to me.”

Lambing is the period of the year, usually around 4 1/2 months, when the ewes give birth to their young.

Kit said she sometimes has to help birth the lambs if the mother is struggling - something she never thought she would do, having moved from London earlier on in life.

Even Kit's counsellor has referred patients on to her.
Even Kit's counsellor has referred patients on to her.

Kit has found that the setting in which she works helps people to open up and talk about their problems.

Even her counsellor has recommended some of their patients to go and spend time with her and the sheeps.

With lambing season coming up, Kit is sure to be busy, but still wants people to get in touch with her and is offering her services completely free of charge.

She said: “We are really struggling with mental health problems, with waiting lists, so why not give something a go and try it.”

If you’d like to give it a go, email Kit on: jvbshepherding@gmail.com .


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