Four mental health patients had the trip of the lifetime when they set sail on a large sailing ship.

The quartet, accompanied by two staff from Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust’s psychosis intervention and early recovery team, spent a week learning how to sail, cook and clean along the South East coast. They docked at Dover and within sight of Tower Bridge on the River Thames, saw dolphins and seals, and experienced some spectacular sunsets.

One of the patients said: “I learnt to develop new skills like talking to new people and felt more comfortable.”

Another added: “It’s probably a pivotal moment in my life so I’m very grateful for this experience. I would definitely do it again.”

A third added: “I learnt how to be a team player and look after each other. I feel grateful to be part of the voyage and a brilliant team”

The trip was hosted by the Cirdan Sailing Trust, a non-profit charity which enables young people, particularly those who are disadvantaged in some way, to experience the challenge and adventure of life at sea on large sailing vessels.

The patients, all in their twenties, took turns to set the 22-metre boat’s sails, steer, keep watch, and cater.

They were each recovering from a first episode of psychosis with LPT’s psychosis intervention and early recovery team.

Genevieve Brown, a senior care coordinator with the team, said the patients were delighted to discover they were not alone in their mental health experiences.

“Some of the patients had never left Leicester before,” she added. “The primary focus was on confidence-building tackling stigma, team-building and pushing themselves out of their comfort zones.”

Nandini Chakraborty, a consultant psychiatrist with the team, said: “I was extremely proud of our patients who put in so much effort, conquered their anxieties and got to know each other.”

The trip was part funded by the Leicester-based Carlton Hayes Mental Health Charity, with funds distributed on their behalf by LPT’s in-house charity Raising Health.

The team hope to organise further confidence-building ventures for patients, including more sailing, and possibly hiking and mountaineering.