Overview

After a breakdown of previous support and a period of homelessness, Terry moved into AFG’s enhanced supported living model on Huntley Street in October 2021, which provides short term support for individuals who are eligible for support under the Care Act and considered hard to house.

Terry was addicted to amphetamines, had been neglecting his personal hygiene, had not been taking his anti-psychotic medication and had a deep mistrust of staff and support services in general.

Unfortunately, while Terry was using illicit substances, his mental health deteriorated and he re-engaged with a previous stalking offence. He served six weeks in prison, and upon release was arrested again for breaching his bail conditions, serving a further three months.

Due to this offending and his aggressive and antisocial behaviours there was a question as to whether Terry could return to Huntley Street. Having developed a relationship with him, his support team were confident this was the best place for him and worked with the commissioner to ensure he returned to the service. Terry is now abstinent from illicit substances, accepts his medication, enjoys socialising with others and is preparing to move into his own accommodation.

Our approach

Building trust

Terry’s substance abuse had a very negative affect on his mental health, leading to his aggressive behaviour and criminal offending. Terry disclosed to his support team that he had experienced abusive traumatic events as a child and used the substances as an escape.

Following this disclosure, Terry was offered counselling and met regularly with his psychiatric nurse and social worker for clinical and emotional support. He refused counselling but continued to share with his Team Leader.

His team kept in contact and offered emotional support whilst he served his sentences through regular visits and letters. This was key in further developing a trusting relationship, as he felt from past experiences that people would give up on him.

A holistic approach

Following his release, regular multidisciplinary meetings were held with Terry’s social worker, psychiatrist and the housing provider to ensure he was supported and safe, and his support team worked with him in a range of areas to help him abstain from illicit substances and improve his quality of life.

Support with medication

Terry’s team’s priority was to support him to consistently take his medication. He agreed to collect this from the pharmacy with a member of the team, but initially he would hide it in his mouth and refuse to swallow it due to his mistrust of support services.

His team repeatedly explained why his medication was needed and why they were there to help him, and he started to regularly accept his medication. This improved his behaviour greatly, regulating his mood and getting him to a baseline from which they could work with him on his other goals.

Life skills

After long periods of homelessness, Terry had lost skills and confidence in cooking and cleaning and did not look after his own personal hygiene. He was supported to make meals and encouraged to keep his room tidy and get his beard trimmed and hair cut, which he now does regularly himself. 

Socialising and activities

Initially Terry felt anxious spending time with others and doing activities in the community. Spending time at Huntley Street helped to improve his confidence – it is a busy service with 2 or 3 staff members working at any time and 4 other tenants. He began to engage in activities in the community, and his team supported him to stay in contact with friends and reengage with his family.

Outcomes

Abstinent from illicit substance and no criminal offences

Terry has been abstinent from illicit substances for one year, which has had a huge impact on his mental health and quality of life. He has not committed a criminal offence for 2 years.

Takes anti-psychotic medication

Terry now takes his anti-psychotic medication, following periods of refusing to.

Discharged from community psychiatric nurse

Terry has been discharged from his community psychiatric nurse due to the improvements in his mental health.

Preparing to live independently

Terry is now preparing to live in his own accommodation with outreach support.

Enjoys socialising and activities in the community

Terry has gone from having a court order against him following 36 offences in the community, to enjoying a range of activities in the community such as meals out, art exhibitions and helping out local businesses with odd jobs. He now enjoys socialising with support staff and the other people supported at the service and is no longer mistrusting and suspicious of people trying to help him.

Testimonial

Terry has said that he now feels that he “fits in”, “feels part of something” and “people had never wanted to give him a chance until now”.