Tim turned up at the Care Shelter one night and was recognised by the staff as someone who had been homeless a few years ago.
He explained that he had been working recently but his contract had come to an end. He had been staying with a family member but didn’t want to be a burden on her when he didn’t have any money to pay his way. His concern for her and her kids caused him to move out. He was brought to the shelter by the police who found him sleeping rough and were concerned for his welfare. Tim hopes that he will soon be able to find more work and can get back on his feet again.
Tim chatted to a member of staff that he remembered from the shelter four years ago. One conversation had stuck in his mind all that time; it was about the drugs he had been taking back then. Tim said:
You convinced me to give up legal highs and I firmly believe that saved my life.
The staff member had explained the long-term effects of using so-called legal highs (New Psychoactive Substances or NPSs), something that Tim had not considered before. He had been unaware that these drugs that were labelled as “legal” could affect your mental health causing psychosis, paranoia and depression. So often at the Care Shelter there is no opportunity to have follow-up conversations with people who have stayed there to find out where they have moved on to or how the shelter has affected them.
The impact of one conversation can be life-changing.
Tim is still struggling with his substance use although he’s staying away from NPSs. Staff continue to encourage him to make steps towards dealing with his addiction and will seek to have many more conversations with him while he is staying at the Care Shelter.