Read Michael’s evolution this Mental Health Awareness Week
Some of our customers have entrenched issues affecting their lives, self-esteem and motivation to make changes. To support them to make positive and lasting changes, we have trained all staff in ‘Brief Intervention Solution Focused Therapy’. This combination of motivational interviewing and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy helps customers struggling with addiction and other issues identify behaviours that are stopping them achieving their goals and begin to change. For Michael, a former customer from our Mental Health Step Down service in Croydon, who has had a drink problem since he was 14, been in and out of rehab, and lost his job and family along the way, the help has proved invaluable.
‘Each time I’ve left the counselling, I left happy rather than sad.’ Michael said, ‘One time, I was feeling really low and on the way to counselling I was tempted to have a drink. But after talking about my feelings and behaviour, that idea left my mind completely. It’s helped me realise why I did things, why I drink, and what I can do to stop myself drinking.’
Talking therapies can be a big help for homeless people in London with mental health or drug and alcohol issues, but there are often long waits for treatment.
In May 2015 we launched an expanded organisation-wide counselling programme funded by City Bridge Trust, offering counselling to all customers, delivered by counselling students and managed by a Health and Wellbeing Manager. Since sessions started in October 2015 we have:
Received 100 referrals for one-to-one therapeutic counselling from all Evolve Housing + Support services.
Offered over 500 appointments (both initial assessment appointments and counselling sessions) to Evolve Housing + Support customers.
Engaged around 75 customers in the service.
Offered over 80 hours of clinical supervision to BACP required standard to support the work of those volunteer placement counsellors.
Engaged the voluntary services of 17 counsellors in training.
In over six months of counselling delivery, we have seen a significant difference in the wellbeing of customers who have engaged. We recognise that a focus on the health and wellbeing of the homeless people we work with is key in helping them move in to independent living.