Poor mental health is both a cause and consequence of homelessness. BHT Sussex understands the importance of good mental health for preventing homelessness, which is why we have a number of supported accommodation services that offer much needed mental health assistance. One of these is Route One, which provides supported accommodation for 60 adults with mental health support needs in Brighton and Hove.

This is the story of Salah, who was supported by Route One.

Salah is a 37-year-old man who came to the UK as a refugee from Sudan in 2012. Following the traumatic events that he suffered through in Sudan, Salah was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

In 2018, Salah was triggered by the news of a family member’s passing and made an attempt on his own life by setting fire to his room. This then caused him to be evicted from his supported accommodation and detained in hospital under the Mental Health Act. This is where Route One stepped in.

Due to the fire that caused his eviction, Salah’s housing options were drastically limited. However, we worked closely with his community mental health team to assess the risks, and ultimately decided that Route One would be the best housing option for Salah to receive the mental health support that he needed.

Whilst at Route One, we supported Salah through multiple suicide attempts that were triggered by memories of traumatic events he witnessed and experienced in Sudan. To help him through this, we built a relationship based on trust, reliability, and mutual respect. This positive relationship allowed us to increase Salah’s trust of external services, which he was initially cautious of. He then felt able to independently reach out to crisis services what he needed support outside of Route One’s service hours.

Throughout his time at Route One, we worked collaboratively with Salah and his mental health team to provide safety and support, whilst helping him take steps towards independence. After Salah’s independent living skills and mental health improved, we were able to support him in registering for Brighton and Hove City Council’s Homemove scheme. We advocated that the risk of Salah setting any further fires had been adequately managed and reduced during his time at Route One.

Being part of the Homemove scheme allowed Salah to apply for independent council accommodation, giving him hope that he could one day move back into his own flat and live independently.

After the intensive support from Route One to cope with his PTSD, suicidal ideation, trauma and mental wellbeing, Salah was offered his very own flat via Homemove in December 2021. He successfully moved in and is very happy with his new independent living situation.

Salah’s story provides just one example of the impact that Route One has in supporting the mental health of those who find themselves homeless and struggling to cope.

After all that he has been through, Salah can now live independently and has his life back.

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