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your potential plus
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UNLOCKING POTENTIAL | through person centered support
During Mental Health Week 2023, we spoke to Shaun, a person supported at Highlea Care, County Durham, in a supported living setting.

Tell us a bit about your background Shaun and how you came to be supported by the Highlea Care Team.

My support began with Highlea Care in August 2022. I suffer from ME and have William Syndrome, a rare genetic chromosome disorder that causes physical problems and learning difficulties.

Prior to this I lived in a flat in the same area with one other person and received support from another local provider which I was unhappy with. I was not receiving the support I needed such as help with some life skills building, emotional support, and general life management. I completely lost my way in life because of it and knew I needed to move on.

When I first moved into the old place I was promised so much, which was great at the start, however after a few months passed the team did not seem interested and left me 'to get on with it’.

I spoke to my social worker and asked to move somewhere else. I was not listened to by the team and this put me in a downward spiral which eventually resulted in me being diagnosed with clinical depression. I was reassured that a psychiatrist who assessed me also felt I was not being supported and he agreed that a move would be better for me.

What have you achieved since being supported by Highlea?

When I first visited I knew it was different – people asked about me, made me feel welcome immediately and I could see others who lived there were also very happy. I have been supported to get my life back on track and I immediately became much happier in myself. They have supported me with appointments, medication and sorting out my finances, and helping to manage my debts. They have also supported me with my mental and physical wellbeing and I am feeling great now.

They have helped me to build skills and I have learned how to cook – my favourite thing is mince and dumplings. The team in Highlea is genuinely interested in me, and will spend time listening to me, talking to me, and giving me advice.

What do you enjoy most about being supported by Highlea?

That I can be open and honest with the team and they can be with me. I feel positive and no longer feel that I am interrupting if I ask for support. Everyone is very friendly and I now feel safe and much more settled.

The team are a lot of fun and every day is positive no matter what is happening. If I am having a ‘down day’ they will recognise this and we will do something fun to help me.

There is always some activity going on – I feel included as I am always invited. I love the house I live in. I have made some great friends and I now do DJ’ing at the local night spot which I love.

I wish I knew Highlea Care existed a year and a half ago.

That's brilliant Shaun. We have been told that you are now passionate about helping others – can you tell us about that?

Yes I also have a job working for the local Integrated Care Board. I work with Inclusion North seeking views of others through workshops with vulnerable people discussing and reviewing their needs. Inclusion North exists to make inclusion a reality for all people with a learning disability, autistic people and their families. I spend a lot of time campaigning to make positive changes to get better outcomes for people.

I am very proud of the work I do and I know I make a difference to the lives of others.

The answers to the questions are in Shaun's own words, as written by Shaun himself.

Please click here to read more about the person-centered support offered by the Highlea Care Team.

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