Man smiling, enjoying a cup of tea at YMCA

30 November 2022

When Mark first approached our Making Connections project in Walsall, he was very low, he hadn’t long lost his companion, was already suffering with depression which meant that Mark had let his living conditions decline to a point where he would not eat as fear of entering his festering kitchen. He had loved being outdoors, going for long bike rides and volunteering, but all he was doing now was sleeping, for at least 14 hours a day. Mark has PTSD which was trigger from what he described as the “worst 2 years of his life. Mark had a job, a long term partner, a nice home and all this changed when he split from his partner; she kicked him out and he found himself on the streets of Birmingham, he also lost his dad to Mental Health Issues. Mark said he just couldn’t see a way forward.

We met with Mark in the community where he shared with us his past, how his companion that had passed away had been a huge support when it came to his Mental Health. Mark was keen to look into counselling as he had found it useful in the past, so we referred him to talking therapies. We then looked at things he could do to get him out and about instead of staying in his flat and sleeping. We set up a trial with St Martins Church as they have a wonderful Community Garden project and told him about Walsall Arboretums cycling group and scheme. We suggested that we look into a domestic cleaner to see if they could help take care of the kitchen, as this was a major factor in his declining Mental Health. We also noticed his fridge freezer was broken, so requested a new one via the Housing Support Fund.

After the cleaner had been, Mark contacted us to say how grateful he was to the YMCA team and that he could see a light at the end of the tunnel, he was so happy and said he would never forget the help he was getting from us. Mark loved the Community Garden project and is going every Saturday, he has even started to ride his bike again, the next step will be for him to update his CV and make an appointment at Job Change to see his options when it comes to work. Mark knows this will take time and getting back into work his now his new goal as well as keeping on top of his kitchen and living area once it is deep cleaned. For now Mark is just so grateful that he has people that want to help and are willing to go that extra mile, which is what he said about our service.