Mark is a 60-year-old male with a diagnosis of complex mental health needs, Autism, and Schizophrenia. He is very sociable and loves to talk about his favorite things such as Star Trek, the World Wars, and the royal family.
He was discharged from hospital in September 2020, under Section 18 and moved to his new supported living home with Iris Care Group.
Before being hospitalised, Mark’s mental health had declined following his father’s death and his mother found it difficult to continue to care for him. Mark had a complex forensic history and experienced psychotic periods resulting in self-harm, presenting a risk to himself and others.
After moving to his new home, Mark was initially very wary of everyone, often trying to lock himself in his room and declining any engagement with his support. He was also very worried about returning to the hospital and was getting nervous every single time he was doing anything that he thought was not appropriate or “wrong” and constantly worrying about police being called and the possibility of him being arrested again.
Mark can get sometimes anxious and presents with obsessional behaviours such as washing his hands creating sores on his hands. Medication and concerns of his physical health needs were also a trigger for his anxiety.
Using a consistent approach and encouraging him to be involved in all aspects of his support, Mark has been supported to learn about his health needs and completes his own records of specific health needs to aid his understanding of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and access to health care when needed.
His support staff have worked alongside Mark and other professionals to learn new strategies to better manage his emotions and psychotic episodes. This has resulted in a significant decrease in the need for PRN medication. His team have supported Mark to overcome fears of medical interventions using a phased approach that is directed by Mark. He is now happy to attend appointments and even has regular blood tests which previously he would have refused and found too distressing.
Mark is now going to the pub three times a week and frequently accesses local shops. He is supported to have control of his life and chooses his meals, activities, and daily tasks. He loves studying his maps, reading his bible, and enjoys making notes of all the new things he comes across. He is keen to develop his knowledge and has been studying mathematics and learning new words in the dictionary.
Mark enjoys spending time with his support team and having company, often shaking their hands after they have supported him with a particular task.
Sadly in 2022 Mark lost his mother. The rapport and trust the team have built with Mark was key to him being able to talk through his feelings which made the whole grieving process less stressful. Despite the initial challenges Mark faced upon arriving at his new home, his support team always ensured they have a positive outlook, ensure his support is consistent and predictable and his team were committed to building Mark’s confidence and trust. His team understood the gravity of his anxieties and the distressing experiences he had endured in the past.
Over time, Mark’s anxiety levels have decreased as he has developed a sense of security and trust in his support. Staff members consistently reinforced a positive and supportive approach, even when he felt overwhelmed or worried, they provided him with a sense of belonging and safety, ultimately helping him to regain some control over his life. This approach, coupled with a safe and structured environment, enabled Mark to gradually re-engage with various activities and his community. This remarkable progress demonstrates the positive impact of continuous support and reassurance on individuals facing complex mental health challenges.