Mr P's story

Mr P was referred to the crisis project being described as despondent and diagnosed with depression. In his individual assessment he was forthcoming about his situation but was very concerned about his circumstances and was visibly upset about the fact that he had left his wife and young daughter behind in his country of origin. By the time we met, he had been without NASS support for about three months. He survived on food and money from charities and squatted in his NASS property. The assessment highlighted a number of needs and areas of work to be done, and demonstrated that his circumstances were having a significant toll on his mental wellbeing. He reported extreme unhappiness, a lack of support from others and feelings of uncertainty and insecurity.

We quickly began work by contacting his solicitor and applying for help with health costs. We also immediately referred him to the Red Cross for food vouchers and once he had a new application made for NASS support, we were able to tide him over with money from the Hope Destitution fund. In order to secure long-term support, we pursued his solicitor who eventually put together a fresh claim for asylum based on Mr P’s health problems and aspects of his first claim that were not taken into account. With the fresh claim, we were able to secure support from NASS and get the client into stable accommodation with weekly support vouchers.

Whilst lack of financial support and stable accommodation were the key problems, it was also vital to help the client to feel less isolated and more supported by people and agencies. We encouraged him to attend a singing event held at the Centre which allowed him to forget his troubles, express himself and have a good time. He was on a waiting list for counseling and we referred him for art therapy, which he participated in while he waited. He was very enthusiastic about the art therapy and appeared much happier and stronger for being involved with it. When his counselling began he reported that although it was very painful, he felt it was helping him to deal with his sadness.

We secured appointments for him with an optician and a dentist for routine check-ups. With his counselling coming to an end and his caseworker support also coming to a close, we referred him to a volunteer befriender who now visits him regularly.

When he was signed-off after two and half months of crisis support he reported significant improvements to his state of mind, much hope for his future and a greater awareness of how and where to get help and assistance ahead. He said, “I would like to thank you…I did not know where I was going to sleep and now I have somewhere to go and everything to look forward to. You worked very hard for me in every way…”