Supporting participants through COVID-19
When Robert* first started working with The Brick, he was homeless. Robert began to access night shelter provisions and then obtained a successful move into supported accommodation. Whilst in supported accommodation Robert was sent to prison for 18 months.
Whilst Robert was in prison, his Independent Living Mentor (ILM) remained in contact, in regards to housing options available to him, upon his release. Robert was released just before the Covid-19 pandemic and was placed in a Wigan Council property. The lockdown measures were then implemented days later.
Robert advised his ILM that he did not want to seek traditional avenues of support for his mental health and alcohol use, as he finds speaking on the phone to someone new very daunting. Robert advised The Brick, that once the lockdown period was lifted and he could establish face to face rapport with The Brick’s services, he would only then access the support available to him.
This situation meant that Robert continued to suffer from the effects of his mental health and alcohol use and his ILM did not want this to go unsupported. The ILM arranged with Robert’s Asset Coach to provide support with ‘meaningful use of time’. The Asset Coach arranged regular phone calls where they would both discuss the types of activities Robert used to enjoy and began to plan for future activities once the lockdown was lifted.
Robert began walking and found that it helped lift his mood and supported his mental well-being. Robert’s Asset Coach then built on this and was also able to provide activities for him to complete at home and promoted meaningful use of time.
When the lockdown measures were eased, Robert and his Asset Coach met for a social distanced walk and they are now planning on going fishing.
Robert was honest about what would work and wouldn’t work for him and this allowed for his ILM to tailor the support provided to suit him. Robert was open to trying new things as he wanted to make a change since spending a long time in prison.
Robert’s alcohol use has now reduced, which has had a positive effect on his mental health, and he is walking frequently, which is not only having a supporting his mental health but also his physical health.
Robert is also now starting to feel more confident in himself. He had previously struggled to ask for help but now feels comfortable to do so.
*Robert is not the real name*
Photo credit - Daryl Kinney