Charlie was homeless and sofa surfing before he came to stay at the Alabaré Young People Service. He came from a strict family with a harsh regime and was used to being told when and what time he could eat, sleep, shower and have gadgets. There were often serious consequences if this was not followed. With his newfound independence, Charlie struggled to transition to a new environment.
Charlie’s mental health since he was a young teenager has been low. In the past, he had self-harmed and misused medication. With all the uncertainty his mental health began to decline, and Charlie lost motivation for college. Charlie self-harmed soon after he came to live at Sarum. He had a few months of rebelling against his previous family life and his new independent life. Charlie was out all night. sleeping all day, and he struggled with his hygiene. Charlie would say that because he had slept in, he didn’t think he was allowed a shower.
It got to a point where his engagement was so low that if things did not change, we would have to end his placement. We needed Charlie to feel he could take control of the situation by having a positive attitude and embracing the advantages of the change. We knew he needed opportunities to express his thoughts and feelings honestly and without fearing punishment.
Charlie turned a corner, attended key working counselling sessions, and got a job but would make himself so ill mentally preparing himself for the first day that he wouldn’t go back in fear of the consequences. After some discussion, it was decided that he needed to find a more social role that would enable him to feel less that he was failing. Alongside, we worked with his GP to ensure he could access the right medication that would not interfere with his sleep pattern and enable him to return to education on a full-time art and fashion course.
Charlie has since stopped the tablets, has given up cannabis and has had a new lease of life. He has given himself a daily routine of getting up, spending time reading and doing artwork and making sure he leaves the house. He also now spends time with other residents, family, and his partner plus attends external counselling sessions.
Charlie has also attended a residential trip in the New Forest with the Boots on The Ground team, where he surprised himself once he got over his initial shyness.
Now he has grown in independence, it is hoped he will be able to find his own accommodation, and as he enjoys freehand drawing and digital art to keep him motivated, we have contacted a local museum in the hope that later this year, he will be able to do an exhibition of his work.
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Several years after leaving the Forces, Debbie’s marriage broke down, which she says was the start of many of the problems she has faced since then.Read Debbie's Story