Mental Health Awareness Week is 13th to the 19th May 2019.

Here are some client stories which demonstrate how POhWER supports people with their mental health needs.

Nikki's story

Nikki contacted POhWER after seeing a leaflet in her GP surgery. By her own admission she was a hoarder and the number of items in her property had become overwhelming and unsafe for her. Nikki was suffering with severe anxiety which made coping with the situation much more difficult.

Nikki explained to her advocate Jo that her tenancy was now at risk and that the housing officer was threatening her with court action if she did not sort out the property. Jo and Nikki discussed her options for resolving the issue and they agreed that Jo would contact the housing association to request a meeting. Jo also provided information about a local hoarding support organisation which Nikki agreed to work with.

At the meeting with the housing officer Jo supported Nikki to explain about her anxiety and that she is working with the hoarding support organisation. The housing officer apologised for not supporting Nikki better and was keen to work with her going forward to sustain her tenancy; together they agreed an action plan.

Nikki felt that without Jo’s initial support she would not have achieved such a positive outcome and felt better about communicating her mental health needs with the housing officer.

Nassar's story

Nassar is detained under Section 3 of the Mental Health Act. He believes he is telepathic, which is what causes the voices in his head. Nassar feels that not engaging with staff and patients will help ease the stress in his head; as a result he has lost confidence in communicating with others on the ward.

POhWER’s advocate, Becky regularly visits the ward and talks to all of the patients. Nassar would often sit in the communal areas quietly. Becky would say hello to Nassar and always attempted to chat with him. Over time Nassar developed increasing confidence to speak with Becky.  They discussed attending meetings such as ward rounds and CPAs. Becky helped Nassar to plan how best to put across his views and explain what he would like to achieve. 

Becky also helped Nassar with issues around his financial capacity. She flagged that Nassar was vulnerable to financial abuse from other patients and as a result staff put safeguarding processes in place.

Nassar feels that support from his advocate has broken his sense of feeling stagnant in his treatment. He says he is beginning to feel he is developing insight into his mental health and how it affects him.

Nassar’s care team said that as a result of Becky’s input they have a much better understanding of his needs and how to engage positively with him.  The Multi-disciplinary Team commented that his treatment had previously not progressed in years and Nassar had not appeared to have any meaningful insight into his condition. His Care Coordinator commented on how Becky had helped with this and said “This is beyond the best advocacy I have ever seen”. Another staff member emailed to say “Becky’s input was highly insightful and very useful, thank you.”