'We are capable of more than we dreamed possible'

November 18th, 2016 by Client Mark Ellerby in Care and Support blog

A road sign with 'independence' written on it

Client Mark Ellerby has written extensively on mental health. Here, he talks about what independence and self-care means to him.

Independence has always been an issue surrounding the provision of mental health services. It’s not something that just happens to people who have been in the system for years but can even happen during short stay sheltered projects so things to encourage self-help should be put in place as soon as possible.

Independence allows us to lead our own lives more. It can create our own space in the world and allows us to live in a different way without constant reliance on others. Above all it is the feeling of freedom it engenders that is valuable and the fact we can once again take responsibility for our own lives.

Now we understand this concept we must consider how it is to be done. The other key word is rehabilitation which involves both functional and social skills. How will I manage without social support to motivate me and keep me going in life? Will I have the motivation and strength to look after myself?

The more people skills we learn the more we can begin to see some of the social benefits of moving on. Life is going to be very different to living in a project and although I still regard the project as home I think having one’s own place is better in some ways.

How long does all this take? That depends on the individual who will know when he or she is ready. We must be aware that there is no fixed time limit for moving on though sometimes a push in this direction may be necessary as the independence of the person concerned may not always be visible themselves.

Nowadays I find more and more that each step I take in the direction of self-reliance shows us we are capable of more than we ever dreamed possible.