Cheryl was referred to the Bridges project at Just Straight Talk by her work coach as they felt that she could do with some additional support to access training and employment. Cheryl’s main barrier was her substance misuse as she stated that she was consuming excessive amounts of alcohol to self-medicate and deal with her mental health problems and this was getting out of hand. As a result, Cheryl had no motivation and was finding it difficult to gain paid employment.
Together, Cheryl and Bridges Connector Matthew explored support that she could access to help her to manage her alcohol dependency including Swandwell Drug & Alcohol Support, Atlantic House, Alcoholics Anonymous, Drinkaware etc. They also looked at the support she could access to manage her mental health problems so that she had healthier coping strategies to turn to instead of alcohol and Matthew subsequently referred Cheryl to Sandwell Wellbeing Hub so that she could access their talking therapy service and support groups.
Cheryl was doing well with managing her alcohol dependency and was becoming more motivated to improve her skills, gain qualifications and access employment. However, on 21/11/2019 Cheryl was admitted to hospital after drinking to a near-fatal extent which left her kidneys and liver damaged.
Matthew stayed in touch with Cheryl throughout her lengthy recovery despite requests to close her case, as she had mentioned wanting to re-engage when she was discharged from hospital.
After almost 8 months, Cheryl was discharged from hospital and was ready to re-engage. Cheryl and Matthew talked on a weekly basis on the phone due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This did not stop them from updating Cheryl’s support plan and setting new goals to work towards together. Cheryl was more focused on improving her situation and working towards her future, particularly gaining employment, but she was unsure what she would like to do. They completed the skills assessment on the National Careers Service website to identify some of the types of work that Cheryl would be suited to, and Cheryl felt that she would like to become a Drug and Alcohol Support Worker. They went on to explore training and volunteer opportunities she could access to prepare her for this.
Shortly afterwards, Cheryl informed Matthew that she had renewed her driving licence, had bought, taxed, MOT’d and insured a car with the money she saved while she was in hospital and had not only applied for a volunteer role at Swandwell Drug and Alcohol Support, but had enrolled on a Level 2 Counselling course at Halesowen College!
Cheryl’s journey has been far from straight forward and she has been through so much throughout her journey but has come out the other side happier, healthier, and determined to achieve her goals, which is a testament to her strength.
Find out more about the Bridges project on the Steps To Work website here.