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Posts Tagged ‘death’

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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The Simon Soup Run

The Simon Soup Run

I started working with the Simon on the Streets Community in April of this year. As a new worker your first weeks consist of trawling around town and getting your face known. The most visible group of people we work with wear fluorescent orange vests and sell the big issue. Through my daily chats with these vendors I learned a lot. I’m sorry to say that it was also through them that I was exposed to the harsh realities of what can come through living a street lifestyle.

Neil was one of the first people I was introduced to. He was a pleasant and talkative guy in his twenties. The last time I saw him was on a Friday afternoon outside the coach station. He’d been suffering with what appeared to be a bad cold for weeks and I remember that he was doing his best to ignore a bunch of school kids who were hurling abuse in his general direction.

The following week the rumour didn’t take long to get around. A phone call confirmed that he had died at the weekend. Most of his friends found out at roughly the same time as I did. I remember seeing one of them marching down the street crying shortly afterwards. The death of a friend under these circumstances carries with it everything people normally  go through during bereavement but also a brutal reminder of your own vulnerability. Through this trying time our support made a real difference to those people directly affected.

Four of Neil’s friends were particularly shaken by his death. Over the following weeks our team offered them support in a number of ways. It was important to them that they should be able to pay their respects and they turned to us to help them. We got hold of suits, shirts, shoes and ties for them to wear at the funeral. We paid for their haircuts, accompanied them to the funeral and offered a shoulder for them to cry on.

We stuck with them through a difficult time and I’m dubious as to whether they could have participated in the grieving process in the same way had it not been for the support we offered. At such a challenging time our efforts can be  invaluable.

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