Posted in addiction, emotional support, Health, homeless, mental health, offending behaviour, problematic behaviour, rough sleeping, Service user stories, street homelessness, support work, tagged addiction, alcohol, death, domestic violence, emotional support, engagement, homeless, Homelessness, Huddersfield, offending behaviour, outreach, problematic behaviour, rough sleeper, rough sleeping, street homelessness, support work on June 3, 2011|
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Jon, one of our support workers shares the experiences of a day ‘at the office’ in Huddersfield:
As I was walking down to the Mission to meet Tim I bumped in to Julie who I have been doing some short term work with regarding her abusive relationship and domestic violence. She had blood on her coat and clothes and what appeared to be a cut on the side of her head. I spent some time talking to her and tried to get her to either go to the doctors’ or to let me call her an ambulance due to the fact she had a head injury. She refused to go seek any medical help and insisted she was fine. While talking to her she informed me that she had been stabbed in the leg with a screwdriver repeatedly and had been attacked by her husband but she still refused to see a Dr or to have an ambulance called.
As I had an appointment to go to and I could not get anywhere with Julie and she insisted on staying in the park I went to meet Alan. I managed to book him an appointment at the Doctors’ in order to talk to the Dr about his mental health and the options available to him for treatment. While waiting for the appointment we managed to phone and restart a benefits claim for him and he is now just waiting for the statement to be posted ou.
I also called the addiction service for Alan to talk to his worker there about his community order. When I managed to talk to his worker there she told me that he had not been engaging, as we knew, and that all efforts on their part from home visits and outreach that they had been unable to re establish contact. His worker was keen to help me to help Alan re engage with herself, his
CPN and probation and gave me the names and contact details of his probation officer and his CPN. On contacting these I managed to establish that Alan has been discharged from the mental health team due to non engagement, however they are willing to re asses him if the need arises. I was also told by probation that if Alan re engages with either the addiction service or probation or both them he would not be in breach of his community order and they could work to sort things out for him. I made an appointment for Alan at Lifeline tomorrow at 10am, his worker agreed to contact me to let me know if he did or did not attend so that we can discuss ways to help him to engage.
At the doctor’s appointment Alan was told that he needed to start re engaging with the addiction service as his short to medium term problems were best addressed by them and that once engaging with them more medium and long term solutions could be considered for his mental health. Alan gave the doctors’ permission to share his information with me and to contact him through me. From this I learned that when Alan was discharged from hospital his assessment was that there were no mental or psychological needs and that he was not in need of any medication. I am not sure if this diagnosis/assessment is still accurate as Alan talks about hearing voices and has told me he is a paranoid schizophrenic. He does exhibit signs of increasing paranoia and has been very agitated since the passing of a friend of his.
Later on when I went back to the mission I was told that an ambulance had been called for Julie as she was looking to be very sleepy and people were worried about her injuries. I talked with the paramedics and because she refused to be taken to hospital there was little they could do except to inform us of the signs to be aware of with head trauma. After this Julie wanted to go to a housing appointment we had booked previously and so we went up and presented at housing.
Initially they processed the application as a domestic violence application but after going through the interview and checking details the only places they could offer were in Keighley or Rotheram, neither of which Julie wanted to go to for differing reasons. As she had been sleeping rough for 2 nights we managed to go down the rough sleeper process rather than domestic violence. Once this was done they found her some temporary accommodation in until such a time as they can give her a temporary flat. Julie was over the moon with this and was very thankful that I had managed to get her somewhere to stay and said that although she still felt scared she did feel safer. I called into the mission with her on the way back in order to make a referral for clothes as the only ones she had were the ones she was wearing and they were all covered in blood. Julie appeared to be ok when I left but I’m still worried and will catch up with her again as soon as I can.
Jon, Support Worker
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One of the volunteers and I were walking through the centre of Leeds last night on our way up to the soup-run when we spotted a couple of guys who we had seen at the soup-run a few weeks before. We didn’t really know them but had had a quick chat with them. As we passed them in the street we both said hello to them. They eyed us very suspiciously and then one asked us, “are you cops?” After a bit of explaining they remembered us from previously and joked about the mistake.
As we walked away we realised that one of the reasons that we choose to do this work, and that it needs to be done, is that for these guys the only people who tend to take any kind of an interest in them are police officers. Hence when someone they don’t know says hello; they presume you are a cop!
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For Tom to be able to eventually go to residential Rehab there were some strict conditions; He must show willing by attending structured day care at least 3 times a week, attend all testing appointments with DRR (a court order) and hopefully get negative urine tests, and to attend Probation monthly.
Tom took the Bull by the horns and has been attending structured day care regularly. He has attended all probation and DRR appointments and has also been giving regular drug free urine samples.
I meet up with Tom regularly and his whole attitude has done a 180 degree turn. He has been up to the rehab with his DRR worker and thought it looked fantastic. He has another appointment in a couple of weeks to make his own way to the rehab to spend the day there and Tom’s revelling in the prospective challenge.
Every time I meet up with Tom he’s beaming from ear-to-ear and the support offered is more around psychosocial and cognitive behaviour. We mainly sit down and talk about life and the potential if not definite positive changes that have and are still happening with Tom.
We as an organisation are only too aware of the potential for relapse and have made sure that a structured safety net is in place so that we can pick up Tom if and when necessary.
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Election fever has reached is max today and in amongst all this I was drawn back to the reality of what we already have in our society. David Cameron is pleading with us to vote for change and Nick Clegg urging us to do something different.
Sally, our worker in Huddersfield mentioned to me today that one of the people she is supporting has received an Anti-Social Behaviour Order that bans her from a Biffa bin. This is because she was sleeping in it for a while and was causing a few problems for ‘normal people’. I’m feeling very doubtful that either David’s change or Nick’s difference will do much to move us towards a society that doesn’t accept people living in bins. I for one find it embarrasing that not only that but we also use the criminal justice system to somehow blame this individual for the behaviour that a failing society has produced.
Sorry for getting a bit ranty! but politician’s teach us all to point the finger and most of the answers are not about blaming others but taking some responsibility and doing something to create change!
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Posted in addiction, emotional support, heroin, homeless, Leeds, mental health, offending behaviour, practical support, problematic behaviour, rough sleeping, Service user stories, support work on March 17, 2009|
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I’ve worked with Terry for about 2 years now and for most of that time he’s been an entrenched rough sleeper. Terry was in care from an early age and soon resorted to crime – namely car theft and joy riding – to fill his time and stunt his boredom. The outcome of this was a trip to the local Young Offenders Institution where he started experimenting with drugs! After a few years of smoking weed and doing recreational drugs Terry’s mental health suffered and he tried to commit suicide by jumping off a railway bridge. He was hurt, but not dead and was then sectioned by the local authority and diagnosed as schizophrenic.
When Terry was discharged from the psychiatric ward he went into supported housing in Bradford, it was here he started using heroin. He turned up in Leeds and was brought to the attention of our organisation; this was about 4 years ago. Throughout this time Terry had been in and out of hostels, but mainly rough sleeping due to his drug addiction. We, as an organisation, never gave up on Terry. He was often incredibly difficult to engage with and refused to have anything to do with specialist support services. But we persevered and knew that if we maintained contact with him there was always an opportunity for positive change even if in the short term that was simply buying him a sandwich or just a chat. Consequently through long term planning and getting Terry to recognise the need for small steps towards his desired outcomes we managed to secure drug treatment for him which he’s doing fine with and is stable. He’s also just signed for his own tenancy with the local authority and we’re working with Terry to get him moved in and settled.
Jamie, Support Worker
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