DAMON’S STORY

Damon had to leave his family home due to a breakdown in the relationship with his father. Damon had struggled with the school system as he felt that they did not understand his needs well – he suffers from a rare condition affecting his sight and is legally classed as partially blind. In addition to this, Damon  has been living with a heart condition since he was born, which has a significant impact on his day to day life and ability to take part in certain activities. Damon also experiences difficulties processing information when multiple people are speaking. This was particularly difficult at school and as a result, he dropped out of sixth form. Damon describes himself as having been an angry child, with outbursts happening at home and at school. He finds it difficult to regulate his emotional response and felt unable to control his temper. This impacted on his relationships with family and managing his initial accommodation placement, which was at St George’s House (SGH).

 

What did we do?

Damon’s first placement with 1625 was at St George’s House, but he found this environment challenging due to his additional needs, and ultimately this placement broke down after just a few months. Damon had to be placed on a temporary exclusion whilst options were explored due to the serious nature of an incident that occurred. Damon  was then accommodated in one of the Intensive Support flats linked to St George’s House. This allowed Damon his own space away from the stressors he found difficult to manage at SGH. To date, he has maintained this accommodation successfully for just over one year, and is being supported to find an appropriate move on placement.

This has also allowed him to benefit from up to 10 hours per week from his support worker, which he has engaged with positively throughout. He has built a strong, trusting relationship with his worker, allowing them to work together to get additional support put in place. Since working with 1625, Damon  has been able to access support from Adult Social Care, Occupational Therapy and the Adult Mental Health Team. His needs are now much better understood, and his worker has been able to liaise with housing services to enable a move to a longer term accommodation option where his needs can be fully met (as he will need adaptations). Damon experiences anxiety and low mood, and he benefits from regular contact where he can talk about his worries, feelings and explore and understand his emotions better. He has also benefited from having support to contact other agencies as he finds meeting new people difficult. His support worker has been able to facilitate things and be alongside him through these new processes, providing consistent support.

He has also engaged well with the PAL team. His Education, Employment and Training (EET) worker, alongside his support worker, has supported Damon in joining the Youth Board and attending the Business Planning Event this year. This was a huge step for Damon, who has held anxiety about being in crowded places and having people in his personal space. He has remarked that after attending the Business Planning Event he felt much less anxious about attending other things as he now knows he can cope. This has been possible with the support of staff taking time to understand Damon’s needs and agree on a plan that enables him to engage, meeting the needs of both his disability and his anxiety. Damon has been proactive in explaining his difficulties to others and communicating his needs. Damon intends to continue with Youth Board, do the new Tenancy Qualification Course, and do Interview Training. Damon is a bright and articulate young man who can draw on his own experiences and staff feel he will make a valuable contribution to the Youth Board.

Damon is also now working with the TARS team, and his allocated worker has helped him engage in formal mental health support and develop strategies to cope with his emotions. The hope is that this worker can also support him with the transition of moving on when his support worker finishes working with him.

Damon has also been matched with a Community Mentor – an older male who, despite his age, has a passion for life and likes to stay active. This has been positive for Damon who likes to stay active and get outdoors and tries not to be limited by his health condition or disability. Damon and his mentor both have communication difficulties, however, they work together to communicate, and Damon has been positive, patient and has adapted his approach to ensure they can communicate. This demonstrates a real maturity and understanding of others.

Damon’s support worker has now been working with him over a year and has observed the positive changes he has made. He is now actively engaged in multiple services within and outside of the organisation. He is starting to recognise his own progress and think about the next steps. Damon still experiences difficulties, mainly in relation to his mental wellbeing. The strong relationships he has built with his workers at 1625 have meant he can reach out for support and develop coping strategies when he is feeling low.

 

What strengths did the Damon demonstrate?

Damon has demonstrated an incredible amount of resilience. He experiences multiple barriers in relation to his health and disability, but he does not let this get the better of him. Damon wants to progress and has made full, active use of the support that has been available to him. He has been proactive and engaged at trying new things and is working towards activities that push him out of his comfort zone.

Damon is an engaging, respectful young man who gets on well with his workers, mentor and his neighbours.

Although he continues to get frustrated easily, he has worked hard at understanding and processing his emotions and is generally able to deal with difficult situations a little better.

 

What difference did our intervention make?

Damon has been able to live independently, avoiding eviction. His independent living skills have really developed, and he is now in a good place to move on to more independent accommodation, which will meet his needs in the longer term.

Through having consistent support, he has built trusting relationships and has been able to fully articulate his needs. This has enabled appropriate ongoing support to be established, which will aid his further development.

Damon’s confidence has increased, and his anxiety has reduced. He is now better equipped for dealing with difficult scenarios that he may encounter.