Marie*, her husband and two sons have been living in a two bedroom flat for three years. Her husband sleeps in the living room as he uses a CPAP machine for sleep apnoea. Marie sleeps with her 3-year-old so that her teenaged son can have a bedroom to himself.
The Pod is a weekly ‘drop-in’ for parents with children under five, living in temporary or insecure accommodation. Marie started visiting The Pod after a traumatic incident involving her son. At the time she was extremely anxious and found it difficult to go outside. Therefore, coming to The Pod was her only time away from home.
Her husband was at home all day and has his own mental health issues. Her eldest son was also at home. Marie was herself experiencing depression and anxiety as a result of spending all her time dealing with her family member’s issues. As a result she felt trapped and that she had nothing for herself.
The power of social prescribing
Supported by the Sutton social prescribing team at The Pod, Marie was able to set her own goals after having space to talk through the many stresses in her life. Her priority was to focus on improving her mental health.
With their help, Marie contacted Sutton Uplift, a community based mental health and wellbeing service, and shared the information with her husband who also self-referred.
Marie reported she would probably have not followed this up if she was left to do it by herself and found having the opportunity to do it with the help of someone in real time invaluable. Her teenaged son was provided details for Off the Record and signed up to receive free and confidential counselling. Marie is relieved to have someone to talk to.
Through a referral to the GP Referral Everyone Active gym scheme, Marie going to the gym and reports this is helping her to manage her stress, gives her time and space for herself and time way from her family to just be herself.
“Thank you for being there to support me and giving me that escape for myself. It has been really good to focus on “me”. I now feel more able to draw a line and try and move on with my life and I know I have to make an effort to make things better.”Marie*
You can speak to the Sutton social prescribing service by asking your GP to make a referral.
*name changed to protect privacy