"I went from believing I wasn’t capable of anything to getting work and living independently"

West Sussex Homelessness Prevention Partnership Client

When I was assessed by Southdown I was very lucky. I really appreciate that they listened and saw that I needed help. At the time I was convinced I couldn’t live on my own. My self-esteem was practically zero and I didn’t think I was capable of anything.

Southdown support has changed so much for me. I’ve changed so much.

I went from believing I wasn’t capable of anything to getting work and living independently.

It’s hard for me to imagine what would have happened if I hadn’t received support from Southdown. I was so broken and my mental health was really bad, I would have been in serious trouble.

I’d first moved back to my mum’s because I had a breakdown in London around 2007. I’d been really stressed in my job and had stopped paying the bills. I was living really unhealthily and wouldn’t sleep or eat very well. I didn’t know anything about depression and anxiety then. I thought I was going crazy.

I had to move when my mum left the area. I was all over the place at the time, it was pretty terrible. 

When I was assessed by Southdown I was very lucky. I really appreciate that they listened and saw that I needed help. At the time I was convinced I couldn’t live on my own. My self-esteem was practically zero and I didn’t think I was capable of anything.

I was housed in a housing association flat in 2012. Southdown provided me with a Floating Support Officer (FSO). They supported me in paying my bills, ensured that I was eating and taking care of myself, and that I was keeping my appointments.

One of the major appointments I had was with the doctors. I’d been before but I felt the doctor was initially quite dismissive. I really didn't know how to explain what I was going through. The FSO helped me find a new G.P and describe my issues, which began to change my situation. I think it made a real difference when they found out how bad my mental health had become, and that Southdown were supporting me.

The mental health support I've received has really helped and I wouldn’t have got that if I didn’t have the stable base that Southdown provided. Having accommodation has made me feel secure. I’ve been there six years and I know the neighbours. It’s my home. 

The FSO came to my flat which was really good. When I moved in I wasn’t really talking to anyone, so just talking to them was a big thing and it had a big impact. They are friendly, patient, and care about the details. 

Having an FSO is invaluable because they know me. They can put things into perspective and gently push and encourage me to do things. I now realise I have moved forward, I’m not just going around in circles.

I’m now also receiving support from the mental health charity Richmond Fellowship after my FSO helped me make an application. They’re helping me with employment support, making new friends, creating a routine, and going to the gym.

Southdown housing support has allowed me to consider what is best for moving forward and I can plan ahead now too.

I feel like I have more control now. In the past I didn’t really accept I had control over the future so I didn’t see the point of making plans. It was a blank spot, a hole.

My confidence has increased and I have hope. Before, my hope had fully died. My self-esteem is also getting better and I can make a better judgement of myself. 

I think these services are very important. With these cuts there won’t be a safety net anymore. All sorts of people need support and they have different requirements. People won’t be on the radar until things have got really bad and then it will cost the council even more money.

 

The West Sussex Homelessness Prevention Partnership (WSHPP) is an integrated service that offers a dynamic way of working, greatly benefiting multi-disciplinary teams and their clients, by providing a combination of pre-tenancy support, supported accommodation and floating support as well as some new and innovative targeted services for people at risk of homelessness.