Annie & Sylvia: Support & mental health

Annie & Sylvia: Support & mental health

Sylvia has mental health problems and needed support to keep well and be independent.

Sylvia is in her 30s and had had mental health problems for several years. Annie is her mum.

For the past few years Sylvia was doing OK but recently her health has been worse. She has stopped going out and needs a lot of reassurance to get through the night.

Annie began either staying over at Sylvia’s or talking to Sylvia on the phone several times each night.

Annie had expected that the health service staff would organise extra support for Sylvia, because they had done that before. But this time it didn’t happen.

Sylvia and Annie talked over what they would like. That way they would both be asking anyone they met for the same things. Having a plan also made them feel more in control – although it would be better if it all actually happened.

Sylvia asked Annie to talk to the Community Psychiatric Nurse and the social worker, as she found this too hard. Annie had a lot of problems getting people to return her phone calls but kept at it.

  • Sylvia feeling more on top of her flat, as she feels better and more in control when her surroundings are clean and less chaotic.
  • Annie having a break from the interrupted nights.
  • Sylvia getting out and engaging with more people.

Eventually they got support which was the standard care that people with mental health problems get in their area, which is care at home several days a week but nothing after 5 pm.

Sylvia and Annie asked for it to change but were told they couldn’t have that.

Annie heard from the Carers’ Centre about the new arrangements for different ways to organise support. Annie and Sylvia talked it over and decided to ask for an individual budget or a direct payment, provided Annie or someone else could help Sylvia manage the paperwork.

They met with the social worker again and agreed to get a direct payment and buy the service from a voluntary organisation rather than use a Personal Assistant.

  • Paying for someone to stay over at Sylvia’s flat one night a week.
  • A few hours home care each week. The support worker encouraged Sylvia to do work alongside her, so the flat was clean and Sylvia was learning to manage this herself again.
  • Once a week a support worker went with Sylvia to do something outside. After a while this changed to planning how Sylvia would meet a friend or go to a community group where she knew people.
  • It is easier to ask for support when you have already thought about what you want.
  • Stick with it if the support you are offered at first is not what you need.



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