"Am I allowed to go to bed?"

Joan didn’t have it easy as a child.

Her mother was ill and unable to look after her; so her grandmother, aunt and sister brought her up.

When her mother died, Joan was still a young girl.

At 15 she left school; and at 16 she passed an exam to teach Highland dancing, which she did for a number of years. Later she became a carer in a Children’s Home. Then a supervisor for a wholesale pharmaceutical company, which saw her travel around the UK and take responsibility for running the whole operation when her manager was away.

At 42 Joan was diagnosed with breast cancer. Then her husband left her.

And one day something changed. She doesn’t know what. And to this day she doesn’t know why. Though what she’d been through clearly had an impact upon her.

Joan just felt ill.

The illness was invisible. It was inside her head.

Joan was admitted to hospital and diagnosed with severe depression, and for the next 28 years she lived in an institution. She received electroconvulsive therapy for five of those years. Despite long periods of better health she was unable to be discharged as there was no-one to speak up for her, to represent her wishes.

That changed when SAMH were introduced to Joan, and were able to provide the voice to help her achieve her dream of having her own home.

Joan’s home offers her the privacy she’s craved for 28 years. It’s full of warmth and full of her things.

Now, with the support of SAMH, Joan has an Advance Statement, which outlines her wishes on how she would like to be treated if she becomes unwell again.

Joan’s living the life she wants to lead. She’s eloquent and fun with a lovely glint in her eyes.

When Joan first moved to her new home, she still asked “Am I allowed to..?” before she did anything.

“Am I allowed to go outside?”

“Am I allowed to go to bed?”

But today is different. Joan has gone from full support to almost complete independence.

After being on pause for 28 years, her life has now restarted.

Referral process

Referral from NHS, social work or community mental health team

Service: Fife Care At Home & Housing Support Service
Providing support to those with severe and enduring mental health issues, Fife Support Services provide care seven days a week for people in their own homes, as well as supporting individuals to access community resources and educational, voluntary and employment opportunities.

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