A gentle giant
To mark Mental Health Awareness Week, Sam Jefferies and Caroline King talk about the year and a half since Sam started getting support from Caroline and her team.
Sam is very keen to share his story because he wants to help other people living with mental health issues.
“Sam is a gentle giant, he's very soft and gentle,” says Caroline, “because he’s so tall, when Sam’s mentally unwell he may appear threatening. When he was sectioned, hospital staff kept themselves and visitors safe...”
“...but we were expected to get better on these wards, and all the time I felt unsafe” Sam finishes. “There was no protection for us from the violence of other patients.”
Sam continues, “my parents support me massively. When my mental health became bad, my behaviour was so extreme that I was sectioned on several occasions. I went missing for over 48 hours. I’ve taken an overdose, used furniture to barricade myself in my room and bought weapons online to protect myself from the police.”
“Sam had a very good care manager that got him out of hospital and into rehabilitation where he did well,” Caroline explains. “But before this, when living at home, his mum and dad had to call the police to search for him, so, even now this causes him anxiety. We say, no, there’s no need for the police to come, you’re safe here. Trust is the biggest thing. It took a long while to build.”
Sam continues, “I am very happy here even though it took me a little while to settle in.”
“Sam wouldn’t even go out on his own,” says Caroline, “he was so worried about people getting him. One thing Sam did do straight away with us, was to check that his home was locked up every night, he now does this on his own.”
She continues, “some care managers tried to speed up his progress, but we held them off. At first, we would just walk across to the bench opposite the house, sit looking at the sea for a few minutes, then come back in with him. We asked his parents not to buy him things he needed, so we could support Sam to buy these himself. He has had anxious periods and paranoia, but we’ve got there slowly, now he goes to the shop, café and for walks on his own.”
Sam concludes, “I have decided that I would like to stay here indefinitely as I enjoy it so much.”