Martin is a 59-year-old man who is diagnosed with extreme anxiety and depression. He lost his mother unexpectedly, which affected him profoundly, and eventually led to an eviction.
“When she died I just fell to pieces. I never really recovered from my mother’s death. I became mentally ill, I couldn’t work, I was just drinking”
For eleven and a half years he was vulnerably housed, without a home to call his own, and yet he didn’t meet the threshold to be deemed homeless by Local Authority. This was a period of high levels of stress, loneliness and depression that was detrimental to his mental health; the original trauma of losing his mother was not addressed.
“Having experienced so much trauma, it’s a mental scar. I suppose the illness is always there.”
Three years ago, he snapped by his own description. He suffered a psychotic episode which led him to attempt to take his own life by cutting the artery in his neck. He was taken to hospital where an operation saved his life. After three weeks, an outreach team from the Council organised for him to go into temporary accommodation on discharge.
“I could see that people were helping me and it was very well coordinated. I felt quite relieved I was being looked after”
Once in TA however, it got very difficult. Martin no longer felt safe; both staff and residents frightened him. The staff asked him to keep away from other people and so he felt very isolated and lonely, as well as scared. He considered suicide a couple of times.
“Late at night with lots of screaming and hollering. A very unpleasant experience, it was very traumatising, especially coz I was still in a state of trauma from what I did to myself. It was quite terrifying”
The Council put him in touch with a psychiatrist, who put him on medication, and a Justlife support worker who helped him with basics such as bedding, companionship and help navigating the admin of being homeless. He describes both as lifesaving.
After 13 months, the Justlife worker was able to help Martin into supported accommodation, where he now lives. He still struggles with his mental health, but with support in place, he is able to cope.
“I have to just try and cope with it as best I can. It’s a very difficult situation. I am not particularly happy about my circumstances, I just take each day as it comes, I’m just living day to day”.