Charlotte always had a love of writing but was yet to explore poetry when she first arrived at Sanctuary Supported Living service in Cannock. The scheme provides support for people with mental health needs and/or learning disabilities.
Having been introduced to poetry and finding a love for it through a local support group, Charlotte was encouraged by staff at the service, which supports people with mental health needs, to host her own poetry nights. Now, Charlotte is using these nights to share her story of how poetry and support helped her progress from someone surviving with mental health needs to someone thriving on their own terms.
Charlotte moved into the service in November 2015. When she was first referred to the service, her mental health needs had made it difficult for her to be with her family and she needed her own space to get well.
When Charlotte first moved in, she would hardly look at or speak to people and struggled doing things independently. With the help of staff at the service and her parents, Charlotte’s independence and self-confidence has gradually flourished. She now feels comfortable getting on the bus and going out into the community by herself. Her poetry nights attract artists from a wide range of backgrounds and have even encouraged other residents to write their own poems. As her independence has flourished, Charlotte has looked at how she can improve her mental health through art, and has already started writing poems examining her depression.
Charlotte was living with her family nearby before moving to supported housing – a move which has allowed her to flourish independently while staying close to her loved ones.
Charlotte says her time with SSL has helped her gain strength and independence while still being able to access the support she needs. Charlotte says she has improved tremendously since arriving at the service, describing the service as “the best place for me”.