Caritas Anchor House

Working at the heart of homelessness

Surviving or Thriving – Mental Health Awareness Week 2017

Our News in Brief

Surviving or Thriving – Mental Health Awareness Week 2017

9th May 2017
This week is Mental Health Awareness Week (8-14 May) which aims to raise awareness and start more conversations around mental health. This year’s theme is Surviving or Thriving.

Good mental health is an asset that helps us to thrive. This is not just the absence of a mental health problem, but having the ability to think, feel and act in a way that allows us to enjoy life and deal with the challenges it presents.

At Caritas Anchor House, 35% of our residents state that they require support with their mental health, and as such, we have a dedicated wellbeing programme and offer a range of activities to promote healthy physical, emotional and mental wellbeing.

Tori*, who has lived at Caritas Anchor House for four months, shares her story on surviving and thriving.

When Tori was two years old, her mother left her and her siblings on the doorstep of a neighbour. She spent the following 16 years in local authority care, where she experienced abuse and turned to alcohol.

Aged 18, Tori was diagnosed with depression and was sleeping on the streets and in public toilets. She became pregnant and moved in with her partner, who soon became abusive, so Tori fled the home and sought help from a women’s refuge. Tori’s young daughter was taken into local authority care, and a few years later, she began a new relationship and had a daughter who sadly passed away aged just four.

In the following years, Tori struggled with her mental health and drinking, and was ‘sofa surfing’. However, in 2016, she found the courage to engage with Change, Grow, Live (CGL) - a charity that provides treatment for substance use - and in January 2017, having been staying at NEWway night shelter, CGL referred Tori to Caritas Anchor House.

Tori had been awarded funding for residential rehab, and Caritas Anchor House agreed that she could return when the placement was complete. However, she struggled to adapt to the placement and returned within a few weeks. Instead, Tori focused on engaging with community treatment at CGL, and now attends weekly group sessions and one-to-one counselling.

"The support at Caritas Anchor House has really helped my depression. I feel cared for and no longer isolated.”

Her Lifestyle Architect provides specialist advice and emotional support, encourages her to take part in community activities and to develop positive relationships. She attends art classes and mindfulness sessions at Caritas Anchor House, and says she feels stronger and safer than she has ever been, and knows support is available when needed.

Thanks to the ongoing support from Caritas Anchor House and CGL, Tori has the confidence to make her goals a reality. When she feels ready, she is keen to pursue a career as a carer so she can help people who have faced similar challenges.

“If it wasn’t for Caritas Anchor House I would still be drinking on the streets or sofa surfing – I didn’t think things would get any better. Now, my life has turned around since I have been at Caritas Anchor House and I’m so grateful.”

 To find out more about Caritas Anchor House’s services, please click here.

(*At their request, the client's name has been changed to protect their identity.)

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