For years Jayden* had struggled with severe anxiety and panic attacks, as well as chronic schizophrenia. Although his schizophrenia is successfully managed using medication, his anxiety prevented him from travelling on public transport for many years. Because of this his main form of transport was by taxi, but the cost of this meant that he rarely travelled apart from short trips to medical appointments and occasional visits to his partner and family in the local area.  Jayden was becoming increasingly socially isolated, which was worsening his health conditions and severely limiting his quality of life.

His Community Mental Health Team referred Jayden to one on MHM's services, hoping that our support would help him regain his enjoyment of life. At their first meeting, Jayden's Recovery Coach helped him to create a Recovery Action Plan, identifying three short-term goals and one long-term goal that he wanted to achieve. These seemed a bit daunting to Jayden at first, but we gave him all the support he needed to succeed.

Interior of a busThe first goal was to support Jayden to travel on public transport again, as he really missed being able to get around independently. Carefully planning metro routes together, Jayden and his Recovery Worker started out by travelling one stop together, then two stops and so on, to gradually build up Jayden’s experience of the metro system and get used to it whilst receiving encouragement, support and positive reinforcement of his achievements. Before long, by using distraction techniques his Recovery Worker had taught him to help when things got a bit too overwhelming, Jayden was able to independently visit the main areas for shopping and leisure around Newcastle and North Tyneside. He now regularly travels around independently, and no longer feels isolated and trapped in his home.

His second goal was to join a gym or fitness class, to help himself stay physically well. Taking advantage of his newfound confidence travelling on public transport, Jayden and his Recovery Worker found two gyms nearby that he could try out. Jayden now goes to the gym at least twice a week, as well as joining in with fitness classes at a local community centre. Jayden has made lots of new friends through these activities, and is really pleased to be able to look after himself better and learn new skills.

The third goal was to learn some relaxation skills, to help improve Jayden's anxiety and sleeping. He joined a 6-week relaxation skills course run by MHM, and is hoping to find similar groups in his community in the future, as he has found the techniques he learned very helpful.

Jayden's final, long-term goal is to get into work again, and he and his Recovery Worker have begun to identify voluntary work opportunities that he might enjoy to prepare him for his journey back into paid work. Jayden is feeling much more hopeful about this goal now that he is able to travel alone and meet new people with growing confidence.

Jayden's Recovery Worker agrees that his progress has been ‘outstanding’, saying that he is ‘highly motivated and wants to change his life for the better, working towards a brighter future.'

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* This case study is from a real client of MHM, but the names have been changed and the photo has been staged by an actor to protect their privacy.