50 Years 50 Voices "When I lost my job, my confidence went. After the redundancy, I became homeless in 2017, and my mental health worsened rapidly." Rube's* Story *Names changed to protect identities When I lost my job, my confidence went. After the redundancy, I became homeless in 2017, and my mental health worsened rapidly. The signs of a mental health crisis were there, but I ignored them. By the time I sought out intervention, I was hospitalised. I’d been studying for my undergraduate degree in Business and international development , and on the day I was supposed to sit my final exam, I was sectioned. My journey with Hestia started in December 2018, when I was placed in their supported accommodation. The support has enabled me to recover quickly because I felt I could trust that my needs were going to be met. I built rapport with the staff and I made friends with the other service users; we’ve done coffee mornings and spent time cooking together. It’s really beneficial to surround yourself with people in similar positions to you, as you have a mutual respect for one another despite all coming from such different walks of life. I feel like a human being again. Listening to other people’s struggles made me think I was undiagnosed for a long time and then certain life events meant my life changed very dramatically, very quickly. I never imagined that it would happen to me. I was healthy, I went to work, I got the tube. It made me realise that mental health challenges can happen to anyone. I had regular stimulating conversations with the Hestia staff. It’s a necessity that is often forgotten and it felt refreshing to be spoken to without judgement. I felt encouraged to go back to my studies and complete my post-graduate Human Resources (HR) qualification towards my chartered membership for CIPD, a HR qualification. I realised my capacity was still there and I started applying for work again. I’m now part of the Hestia’s Better Life Forum, so I get to conduct interviews and my HR background is properly utilised. I thought my career was a part of my life I would have to say goodbye to but keeping it there has ended up being essential to my recovery. I’ve really enjoyed being on the interview panels as I can ask service-user specific questions that management might not think of. It’s kept me feeling relevant and has given me work to put on my CV that I’m really proud of. In October I relapsed, but with the help of Hestia I didn’t need to go to hospital again. It’s shown me that with the right intervention, I have the tools to move through anything. I made an action plan with my support worker in December to move on and restart my career in HR. Earlier this month, I was offered a job. I’m also moving to semi-independent accommodation. The job is part-time, which really suits me. It’s also in the health and wellbeing sector and is aligned with my passion for employee wellbeing and, in particular, mental health. I’m the right advocate for it as I can really empathise with people suffering. I learnt the hard way by going into crisis stage, but others don’t have to. Time is a healer. Time and patience are two things you have implement into your everyday life. Every day isn’t going to be a great day but I know it’s so much better now I’ve got the tools I need. It took me ten years to do my first degree. The finish line was in sight, just out of reach. After I was hospitalised, I went back and sat the exam under heavy medication. I was hospitalised, made homeless, I passed and I graduated. I’m so proud of myself because I know what it took to get there. I start my post graduate qualification in July. In the next 5 years I want to become a Director in HR and live in independent accommodation. I also want to give back in any capacity I can, whether it’s volunteering or in a strategic way. I think I’ve found my cause in mental health policy. I know I’m capable of influence and saying what needs to be heard. I have ups and downs, and I’m still recovering, but now I know I’m able to bounce back a lot quicker. I’ve realised my life isn’t over. I said to myself that 2020 will be a good year, and I’m seeing that come true before my eyes. Which book has impacted me the most? The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. It’s about a boy’s search for treasure and he comes up against so many obstacles and challenges. In the end, the treasure that he’s been searching for is within himself. The philosophy is that you can search for what you want in life, but it’s all inside of you. Which film has impacted me the most? Forrest Gump. He lived with what he had and always saw the brighter side of life. Despite the stigma, despite the cruelty because he was different, he was always positive. I’ve watched it about 20 times! Which song has impacted me the most? The Greatest Love Of All by Whitney Houston. It’s about self-love and having that in the next generation. It’s such a powerful and inspiring song. Meet Hestia's 50 Voices Jasmin's* Story: "A few years ago I was in an abusive relationship and I needed to find a refuge" John's Story: "I know I was inches away from being on a completely different path" Saffron's Story: "Growing up, I had no confidence whatsoever. It was my biggest issue."