‘I’m able to trust again’ – Ipswich woman speaks out during mental health awareness week

Rachael in her new home. Picture: PAUL NIXON

Rachael in her new home. Picture: PAUL NIXON - Credit: Archant

An Ipswich woman with learning difficulties and limited movement in one hand has overcome self-esteem issues to live on her own for the first time.

Rachael in her new home. Picture: PAUL NIXON

Rachael in her new home. Picture: PAUL NIXON - Credit: Archant

The parents of Rachael Hines say support from charities has brought their daughter back – and has helped to transform her life for the better.

Speaking out during mental health awareness week, they have praised the work of Suffolk organisation Sanctuary Supported Living (SSL) and county council social workers.

Thanks to them, they said, their 48-year-old daughter is now “thriving rather than just surviving”.

Rachael turned to SSL for help after spending several months as a carer to her ex-husband.

Her mental health was poor and she was suffering from a string of confidence and self-esteem issues.

But just days later she was set up in a disability-adapted flat at the Anglesea Road service.

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She said: “Working with staff, especially my key worker, helped me to trust again and realise that there are people out there with your best interests at heart.

“It is reassuring to know that if I have any issues or problems, I can always call staff – it just makes life a little easier knowing there are people out there who have your back.”

Once she was settled, Rachael was given a personalised support plan and was advised on how to budget and manage her benefits.

When the time came to move on to her new home, volunteers also spoke to Rachael about how to maintain a tenancy.

Candace Hockley from SSL said: “Managing money, making new friends, keeping a tenancy and understanding the benefits system were everyday skills that Rachael had no experience of and it was causing her a lot of distress.

“It was a real blow to her self-esteem to not be able to manage these day-to-day matters and that can have major repercussions on a person’s mental health.

“Thankfully, we’ve been able to work with Rachael to help her build these skills; she’s shown real commitment to achieving her goals and there’s been a fantastic transformation as a result.”

Rachael’s parents, who say her transformation has not gone unnoticed, believe the support she received gave her renewed confidence.

Her mother, Chris Hines, visits her several times a month, said: “It’s something for which we’ll be forever grateful.”

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