At BHT Sussex, the approach we take to help our clients is a collaborative one, ensuring they have agency in their own lives. This empowers them to change their lives and gain independent skills for living. The story of one of our Shore House clients, Harry, highlights this approach, which allowed him to recover from an intentional overdose, reconnect with his family and carry out lasting change to his lifestyle. This is his story.

Following an intentional overdose of over-the-counter medication that could have proved fatal, which resulted in a hospital admission, Harry was referred to Shore House – one of our specialist high-support mental health services. Harry had a history of insecure housing and homelessness, and experienced an assault whilst being housed in temporary accommodation.

He felt lonely and isolated and was struggling with untreated schizophrenia, causing him to self-medicate with substance use. Upon admission to hospital, he was distrustful of services and reluctant to engage with treatment for his mental health, not seeing that it could offer him any benefit.

Harry was offered an assessment by Shore House in the autumn of 2022 and moved in shortly thereafter having been discharged from hospital. Shore House staff worked closely with Harry and his Community Mental Health Team (CMHT) to provide a soft landing back into the community.

Harry said: “I was offered a warm welcome and lots of practical help. I would have struggled to move furniture, organise my living space, and manage life in general after the suicide attempt [without the support of the Shore House team]”.

Staff supported Harry to work alongside his CMHT and psychiatrist to agree treatment options to manage his mental health, including medication and opportunities to talk about his experiences.

Harry said: “Staff facilitated me getting psychiatrist input and provided a good space to have those sessions.”

Whilst at Shore House, Harry also worked hard to address the substance use challenges he faces, “I have substance addiction. Shore House arrange in-house CA (Cocaine Anonymous) meetings and the staff are trusting so I feel able to discuss any issues I have with them. Shore House has been key to me making massive steps towards managing my addiction”.

Harry also had trouble with budgeting; staff have supported him to access welfare benefits he is entitled to, including Personal Independence Payments, and to access food banks when necessary. This has supported Harry to better look after himself and stay well given his history of self-neglect.

Since being at Shore House, Harry has also begun to build better relationships with his family, including going to the gym with his brother. He is an active participant in events at the service and makes good use of the communal lounge with other residents.

Harry’s mental and physical health have improved since living at Shore House and as a result, options for a more hopeful future are opening up. We’re really looking forward to seeing what Harry will achieve.

Lastly from Harry, “I feel safe here and staff are extra attentive. I feel like I have a safe home. The staff are very attentive and good listeners.”


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