We asked service users to let us know how Avondalecare has been of use on their life journey. We deliberately asked for it to be positive, in order for the process to fit in with our solution focused approach with service users. We asked them to think about the recent positive developments in their life. The process was a positive one for all involved including the staff. This is what they said: (* Some comments have been edited to help retain confidentiality and anonymity).
"With any mental health issues many people find that their lives change dramatically. Often, once in the grips of depression or psychosis, we, the sufferers, become isolated from society. Our home lives are affected and our interactions with others are hindered. Having agoraphobia and bpd meant a huge change to the way I viewed myself and place in the world. I was lost and struggling to find a way to recover. Avondalecare provided me with support, and a worker who, when trying to work through my many problems, was non-judgmental, positive and offered me a look at where my future could be. I would say that the greatest gifts Avondalecare gave me was hope, a future, inclusion in a society I had for many years been on the outskirts of and the ability to see that I suffer from mental health issues, but am not defined by them."
"In the past I have had a lot of mental health problems, mostly because of drug use and alcohol abuse. Since coming to Avondalecare I must admit at first I was still using some drugs but with the help of Avondalecare, my friends and family I have managed to stop taking drugs and drinking alcohol. My mental health has vastly improved - I have stopped spending hundreds of pounds on unhealthy [habits] and started eating healthy and have learned a lot about cooking and how to carry out household chores."
"My illness started in 1980. In 1981 my mother suffered a stroke; I have been living in different care homes since. At one place... [I suffered physical abuse]. At another [home] I was punched ...and I was dragged out of bed and hit. Avondalecare has been really good to me. It is a lovely place to live. Thanks to the staff."
"For 10 years I slept on the streets, and had a lot of trouble because of it. Since coming to Avondalecare my thoughts ....are better now, I am happy now, and get to experience things that I have not done before like going to the horse racing festivals."
"I suffer from a rare medical condition... and also have a personality disorder. Most of my life has been spent in and out of an institutionalized setting. Avondalecare is a family orientated environment whether residential or solo based. It provides a wide range of activities i.e. football, pool, cinema, photography and a social club as well as a care component available to everyone. Since joining Avondalecare it has helped me to have a social life which was virtually on existent before. Along with the support that the staff provide this has helped me with confidence when socialising with other people, and generally integrate in society. Avondalecare are also helping me to complete my NVQ level 2."
"I do believe that Avondalecare staff know how to make blobby’s out of lumps! ‘lumps were us!!’"
"When I was ill I was suffering from paranoia and schizophrenia. I went into a mental health unit eight years ago. I have been in many different units and was living at the last one for two years. Then I went to Avondalecare and I have been here ever since. I feel like the staff have looked after me 100% because as a result of this care my confidence has grown and my self esteem is high and I am assertive when I need to be. I am not scared anymore. When I need to speak to any staff member of Avondalecare I know they will listen."