Living with unsupported mental health needs can make reaching personal goals seem unimaginable and unrealistic. However, through the support offered at Route One, our mental health supported accommodation, we help set our clients on the path to meet their goals and feel more in control of their own lives. This was the case with Eleanor, who gained the tools to move on with her life after coming to Route One. This is her story.

Eleanor is a 32 year old woman who was living with undiagnosed bipolar disorder and emotionally unstable personality disorder (EUPD). Eleanor was struggling with alcohol and substance use to manage the symptoms of these untreated conditions. In 2020, Eleanor experienced a manic episode which caused her to lose her job and home and resulted in the breakdown of her relationship. This caused Eleanor to take a significant overdose, after which she was hospitalised for approximately 3 months.

Whilst in hospital, Eleanor was officially diagnosed with bipolar disorder and EUPD. It is thought that she had lived undiagnosed with these conditions since she was a teenager.

Once stabilised with a medication treatment plan, she was discharged to a family member’s home before applying for supported accommodation in Brighton, joining Route One in 2021.

When Eleanor came to Route One, she was experiencing frequent dissociative episodes and blackouts, and was concerned about relapsing. Staff worked with Eleanor to develop an individualised safety plan and establish a network of community mental health resources. To meet her expressed concerns, staff tailored the frequency and duration of her support sessions, at times providing daily check-ins.

During periods of depression and anxiety, Eleanor’s ability to care for herself would deteriorate and she would isolate in her room. In response, staff would offer to carry out food shops on her behalf, provide gentle self-care prompts, and encourage her to go for walks with them, which helped ease Eleanor back into taking care of herself.

Whilst at Route One, staff worked with Eleanor to:

  • Maximise her welfare benefits to enhanced Universal Credit and Personal Independence Payments, and referred her to Minimal Asset Process to address and reduce debts.
  • Negotiate her relationship with her Community Mental Health Team, including empowering her to request her own medication reviews, and relay any changes in her condition.
  • Attend a work appeal to successfully clear her record of misconduct, which was a result of a manic episode. This will improve her future employment prospects.
  • Engage with an eco-therapy project.
  • Register with Brighton and Hove City Council housing register, secure a general needs flat, and apply to Southdown Floating Support.
  • Gain employment as an administrator and cease Universal Credit and housing benefit claims.

This support and stability allowed Eleanor to abstain from alcohol and substances and develop insight and a new perspective on living with her diagnoses.

Eleanor left Route One having achieved her personal goals of being sober for just under 2 years, living independently and being back in employment. These goals seemed out of reach when Eleanor was hospitalised in 2020, but by working with the Route One team, she accomplished them.

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