Denise Welch kick-starts Mental Health Awareness Week with Southampton service visit

May 5th, 2017 in Home Group News

A man and woman stand together talking - service user and Denise Welce

Television actress, Denise Welch, kick-started mental health awareness week with a visit to Southampton to meet Home Group clients who are reclaiming their independence.

Television actress, Denise Welch, kick-started mental health awareness week with a visit to Southampton to meet Home Group clients who are reclaiming their independence.

In celebration of this year’s mental health awareness week theme, ‘surviving or thriving’, Denise met with clients at Natalie House – a Home Group mental health service – to see how supported accommodation has encouraged independence following acute inpatient care.

Natalie House, a service funded by Southampton City Council and Southern Health, supports ten individuals with enduring mental health needs for up to twelve months with day to day support, budget management skills, access to healthcare services, training and employment opportunities. While the service proactively encourages independence, it also provides 24/7 support to allow clients to feel safe and secure during their recovery.

One customer, Fran Ayling, 27, said: “Before coming to Natalie House I was being admitted to hospital every couple of months as my lows were so bad I was often suicidal. Now, I feel much more stable, and the team here have helped me develop coping mechanisms for when I reach crisis point. I’m also doing far more for myself and getting out and about much more. Before coming here I definitely wouldn’t have got on the bus like I do now.

“My physical exercise is also improving, as my support workers often come out running with me which I really enjoy. I’m also feeling ready to return to work full time and that’s what I am currently working towards.”

Denise, an ambassador for both Home Group and Mind, said: “I’m so thrilled to be an ambassador for Home Group and get to see first-hand the difference that supported accommodation can make to vulnerable people’s lives.

“As someone who has lived with mental illness for many years I understand the importance of giving people the safety of a good home.

“It’s amazing to witness how the right support can help people to transform their lives and take back their independence.”

During her time in Southampton, Denise also visited Home Group’s SMILE service, a scheme that provides support for adults with learning disabilities who aspire to move into their own accommodation and live independently in their community.

Rachael Byrne, Executive Director, New Models of Care at Home Group, said: “Natalie House is just one example of our partnership work with local authorities and NHS trusts that creates the right balance of a home, support and independence.

“Supported housing is often a stepping stone to independent living allowing clients to progress at a pace that suits them.”