Finlay is currently supported by Certitude. He was in and out of mental health services from the age of seven to his early twenties, experiencing emotional volatility and obsessive compulsions, and an eating disorder. Eventually – after a period of recovery where he was able to go to university – Finlay had to leave his parents’ home and ended up homeless and sofa-surfing for five months.
Finlay told us how Certitude has made a difference to his life.
“I got sectioned again for a four-month admission – but then I came out and I came to Certitude. It’s been over a year now, and I’ve stayed out of hospital.
I do credit Certitude in that I’ve stayed out of hospital. I will probably always be mentally ill and have times where I regress, but overall it’s [mental health] been more stable with the staff, and the services Certitude offer and living in the house where there’s a general understanding among the people living there. Mustapha [the manager of the team that supports Finlay] is truly a very wonderful man.
It’s mostly just knowing that there’s a staff member you can say hello to each day, combined with the solidarity exhibited among the tenants. I think that’s an incredibly powerful thing and it completely destroys the environment of alienation that you could experience if you lived outside of that support, which is just paramount to people living with mental illness.
While I do agree that there has been a move to more openness and acceptance of mental health issues and I think that’s wonderful, there is much more understanding towards people who have an episode of a mental health issue that is easily treatable. For example, someone who has temporary depression and they recover quickly, there’s been inroads and positivity towards those cases. But for the people who have severe issues there’s much less willingness among the general public to acknowledge them. This is especially true if someone’s behaviour is potentially violent.
Being in acute wards I’ve met people who have had periods of relapse, who are experiencing psychosis and that can be scary to be around. So I completely understand why people are weary and reluctant to acknowledge those situations, but I think they tend to be forgotten. There’s a very high readmission rate for people like this, they tend to have recurrent hospital admissions. But as soon as someone has a mental health issue that is less palatable, people tend to just basically refuse to acknowledge that they might be a victim.”
Finlay credits Certitude’s Supported Living team with helping him staying out of hospital. The majority of the work we provide is Supported Living, which focuses on supporting people to live in their own houses either on their own or with others.