We’re pleased to announce that the ADSHG is partnering with The Wren Project to help those of you who are finding it hard to come to terms with a new diagnosis or handling the emotions that come along with other difficult stages in managing adrenal insufficiency. 

If this sounds like the situation you’re in at the moment we can refer you to The Wren Project who are great listeners. While they can’t provide medical advice they can help you work through those difficult feelings and come to terms with what’s ahead. 

The Wren Project is a registered UK charity providing free, 1-1, listening support for adults diagnosed with autoimmune disease, and who are in a period of distress managing their disease. Kate, the charity’s founder explains “We offer fortnightly sessions of listening support via video call, with volunteers who have been trained in active listening. We offer 3-6 months of 1:1 support, and an ongoing community of people with autoimmune disease."  

"After 3 months of support, our impact shows that Wrens feel less lonely, more actively engaged in determining their healthcare, more able to advocate for their employment needs, and more resilient after 3 months of our support."  

We are a community for autoimmune 

4 million people live with an autoimmune disease in the UK (78% women), yet the term is not widely understood, and mental health support is rare. The Wren Project was founded to support people across the spectrum of autoimmune disease; we are not concerned with what is written on a label of diagnosis, but the impact that label has on life. 

The story behind The Wren Project 

Kate, founder and CEO and Alice, co-founder and Director, met as volunteers in the refugee crisis in Greece. Medically they could not be more different. Kate’s lupus is invisible, chronic, and affects many systems of the body. Alice’s alopecia is aesthetic and very visible. Little would seem to connect their experiences, just as little might connect someone with Addison's disease to Psoriasis, Type 1 Diabetes to MS. Yet in each of these autoimmune diseases, an individual is forced to live within a body that is attacking itself. 

Despite medical differences, Alice and Kate felt the same powerlessness, isolation, and lack of control as their autoimmune diseases reshaped their lives.  They shared experiences of anxiety, loneliness, disordered relationships to their bodies, and a deep shame of their autoimmune disease.  

In voicing their experiences, the loneliness Alice and Kate felt in their experiences did not disappear but it felt lightened. The Wren Project was born from the idea that autoimmune diseases are easier to manage when you are not facing them alone.

Volunteers are at the heart of Wren 

We are always looking for volunteers who can commit to The Wren Project for a year. For more information, view The Wren Project Website 

Volunteer for Wren

Volunteer feedback

“I volunteer for TWP because I went through the diagnosis of Addison’s without support; if I can help someone through the tough time of being diagnosed then I am glad to make it even a little easier. Volunteering to help people with autoimmune conditions like Addison’s disease has given me a greater insight into how closely related the autoimmune community is and how we can all support each other.” Chelsea, Volunteer with Addison’s disease  

Apply to The Wren Project

The ADSHG and The Wren Project know first-hand the impact of a chronic health condition diagnosis. Talking about these challenges and having a space to feel heard and understood, can help rebuild hope and a sense of control.

Let's talk - apply to The Wren Project

Author: Kate

The Wren Project

Learn more about the Wren Project on their website, Instagram (@wrenproject) and Twitter (@wren_project).

This article was first published in the Winter 2022 edition of the ADSHG magazine.

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