Over the past two years, we have never been more aware of how our surroundings, including our homes and workplaces, can positively or negatively impact our mental health and wellbeing.
For Henry*, a young man supported by MacIntyre, his environment is central to his wellbeing.
Henry is a young man with a learning disability, autism and a diagnosis of schizo-effective disorder. After being admitted to an Assessment and Treatment Hospital multiple times for his mental health, which was detrimental to his independence, Henry was introduced to MacIntyre.
Since being supported by MacIntyre, Henry's wellbeing is better than ever. Henry, who doesn't use words to communicate, hasn't been to an ATU hospital in over six years.
This is Henry's story.
Life in and out of a mental health Assessment and Treatment Unit was difficult for Henry and each time he left, he found it more difficult to act independently.
When Henry began his support with MacIntyre, it became clear his environment was a crucial factor in his wellbeing, especially when his mental health would worsen during the winter months and he spent more time inside.
Environment and the impact it has on mental health
The team at MacIntyre learned that Henry's space was incredibly important to him and could contribute to mood and wellbeing. For Henry, a cluttered and busy environment negatively impacts his mental health, causing him to feel stressed and overwhelmed. Having vast amounts of choice, from what activities to do, to the films he could watch causes Henry to feel overwhelmed and distressed. This was something he couldn't control whilst in the hospital.
With support from Henry's family, the team at MacIntyre supported Henry to move to a supported living house on the ground floor, which offered him a quiet and minimal space, where he could still interact with his housemates on his own terms.
Getting to know Henry and what triggers him has also been key to the team being able to support Henry successfully. Spending time with him, the team have learned when Henry is showing signs of feeling overwhelmed and work with him to support him during this time, removing objects from his room, reducing the number of activities he has to choose from and supporting him to feel safe.
As a result of this continued support, Henry has been able to continue to live at home and hasn't been admitted to the hospital in six years, something the team are incredibly proud of.
*Names and details changed to ensure privacy