Nichocia’s story

“It’s much better than shared accommodation as I have my own flat and friends can come and visit. I can live much more independently but support is there when I need it."

Nichocia, 20, has had mental health issues since she was taken into care when she was 15. She has been diagnosed with a personality disorder which causes her to hear frightening voices and have difficulty controlling her emotions.

Nichocia says: “I moved from Jamaica with my mum and brother when I was seven years old. My relationship with them was very difficult and when I was 15 I was taken into care. That’s when I started to experience mental health problems, although at the time I didn’t believe I was ill. I was really sensitive and would get very angry at people and take things the wrong way.”

At 17 Nichocia became pregnant. Unfortunately her mental health problems had become worse and she was admitted to hospital. She gave birth to a baby daughter but because of her illness was unable to care for her. Her little girl is now three and being cared for by Nichocia’s aunt, so she is able to visit her regularly.

Nichocia moved into supported accommodation, but it was a shared living arrangement which wasn’t right for Nichocia. “I didn’t get on with my other housemates. My mental health continued to get worse and I started hearing voices that said horrible things would happen to me.” Nichocia was admitted to hospital again and while she was there she was referred to Scott Court, East Thames mental health scheme in Leyton.

“I’ve been learning lots of important life skills at Scott Court, particularly around managing my money and eating healthily. My support worker Francesca is a star – she’s helped me in so many ways and is never judgemental. When I got here all I would buy were takeaways, but Francesca’s taught me how to cook healthy food. I used to hate vegetables but she’s helped me to cook them so they taste nice – like putting them into stews.”

Help raise awareness

Thousands of people have gained their independence through supported housing. The Starts at Home campaign aims to ensure that people who need extra support will always have a home that meets their needs.

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