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Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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March 01 2019
On the edge: A Dublin landlord decides to sell, making his tenant, Rosie (Sarah Greene), her partner and their four kids, homeless. Rosie, the film, covers just a few days but makes it all too clear how mentally tough it is for everyone in the family to cope when you’ve lost your home. On release from 8 March. © Element Pictures On the edge: A Dublin landlord decides to sell, making his tenant, Rosie (Sarah Greene), her partner and their four kids, homeless. Rosie, the film, covers just a few days but makes it all too clear how mentally tough it is for everyone in the family to cope when you’ve lost your home. On release from 8 March. © Element Pictures

Painful reminders...

    Sometimes I watch the world go by and think, “FUCK ME, AND YOU LOT HAVE THE AUDACITY TO CALL ME MENTAL?”. There is something seriously wrong with the way we live these days, so in ourselves and wanting what everyone else has got. If you look around a packed tube, you could easily get the feeling that the one-in-four people experiencing a mental health problem right now is a statistic or two short of a fact.

    Anyway, the stats for homeless people are proper jaw-dropping: 80% of homeless people in England reported that they had mental health issues, with 45% diagnosed with a mental health condition. To have any sort of stable mental health when you’re homeless you’d need a bulletproof brain and a sliver of ice running through your heart.

    And while mental health issues have no simple answers, there are a few things that apply to all of us, no matter how ill we are, or how desperate our lives have become. The most important thing is that we’re all human beings and we share a right to exist.

    What we think of ourselves should come from within us, not from a product, the size of a home or an idea or what anyone thinks of us. What we think of ourselves is our identity and that shouldn’t be down to other people to decide.

    When you have mental health issues, this sense of self can dissolve, and it can be difficult sometimes to know who you are. You may end up searching for validation in the opinion and approval of people you don’t even respect, and that can really fuck you up.

    Honestly, I think homelessness is like your own personal maze that you gotta find your way out of, and within it the issues of addiction and mental health are like a tangle of wires that add to the confusion and feeling of hopelessness.

    But it isn’t hopeless, believe me. Several years ago, I was an addict on the brink of suicide. My spirit was broken and I had lost the will to go on. Then I found a copy of the Pavement, a purpose and a door. So, when I say I owe this magazine my life, I’m not being figurative in any way. Like I said: it’s never been easy for me, but right now the struggle is worth it.

    That purpose has given me back the identity that washed away in the sea of chaos that engulfed me after the tsunami of addiction had obliterated everything that had a foundation in my life. A sense of self is everything, but it really helps if it’s a sense of yourself that doesn’t make you wince with guilt and shame at the fucked up shit you’ve pulled recently.

    But there is help out there. For me it was CBT, volunteering, running to get fit and reconnecting with some of the people I had shut out or pissed off with my uselessness.

    My life is far from perfect and I’m still recovering from it all but I’m so much better than I was a few years ago and right now that’s enough for me.


    When Despair Hits

    Specialist services provide counselling and talking treatments. These are usually coordinated by a community mental health team (CMHT).

    Also get support from:   

    • Your GP.
    • Keep CMHT number in your phone in case of crisis.
    • Use Citizens Advice for help with benefits, debt, legal issues and local services.
    • Crisis and home treatment teams can come out to you in case of a crisis.
    • Remember A&E if you are desperate.
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