Life Restarts For Joseph After NHSGGC Support
For more than half his life, Joseph Devlin battled severe OCD and depression, often alone and confined to his house. But now, thanks to an innovative programme of support, Joseph is restarting his life, forging a new path with confidence and renewed hope.
Joseph, who just celebrated his 50th birthday, from Milton in Glasgow, first noticed something was wrong in his mid-20s. He said: “I found myself repeating things over and over; I would pick up and put down things or have to touch it at certain times. My OCD was out of control. I couldn’t do anything without thinking it all through in my head – and I had to get help.”
Joseph was afraid. He said: “I thought I would end up in a Victorian asylum, not too far removed from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”
However, he was living months on end without making it past his front door, sometimes only getting up for an hour each day. While he had family support, it meant relationships and work were out of the question.
For over two decades, Joseph received support from mental health professionals from NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and the Glasgow City Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP).
However, lockdown made things worse. He added: “During COVID, it got very dark for a few months, as you couldn’t see a way out of it. Anything that got me out of the house had been shut down.” His new psychiatrist suggested he attend the Restart programmes.
Restart provides recovery-based support to those living with severe and enduring mental health conditions. Trainees are given the opportunity to take part in various vocational training activities, to increase self-belief and build resilience and provide a greater sense of hope for the future. The programme helps around 250 people each year.
Joseph started doing IT courses, just two hours on a Tuesday, first virtually and then in person, as restrictions were eased. It has changed his life.
He added: “It provided a wee chink of light for each week. It got me out of the house, even if it was for just hours, it was something to look forward to. It let me see that other people were in the same boat. When you’re in your own headspace, you think that you are some kind of ogre, this is just happening to you – but when you meet people at Restart, you realise that it’s not just you – and others going through this are not ogres. You start to realise that, yes, you are a person and maybe, maybe have some sort of life again.”
Steven Krausen, Glasgow City HSCP’s manager at Restart, said: “Restart is an opportunity – it’s about providing hope that people can, and do, get well from severe and enduring mental health issues.”
The team provide woodwork classes, photography, creative writing and gardening and horticulture classes, as well as courses such as IT and support into local colleges and employment.
The team focus on the quality of recovery, with personal development plans rather than care plans, and people on the programme are referred to as trainees rather than patients.
Steven added: “We give people their own time and space to develop their own journeys. I look forward to the day when a trainee shakes my hand and says they no longer need my services – that’s a great day.”
Steven says the service helps to keep people out of hospital, or helps to manage crisis without medical intervention. He added: “We say if you’re going to have a bad day, have your bad day with us, don’t have your bad day alone. I only ask that people go away with a smile on their face and come back – that’s it.”
Joseph is now out three times per week, attending college, and he’s been asked to help deliver peer training to others attending Restart. He said: “I still have bad days, but I’m more confident and I can talk to people again, and that’s given me that confidence back. There’s better days ahead.”