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Mental Health, Homelessness and the distressing link between the two, a thought provoking experience.

I usually put humour into my writing, but there is no way I can put humour into this one. So readers be warned. This is a journey, and its a hard one.

I went to my Mum's Sunday afternoon. We had a lovely Sunday lunch, and then spent the evening chatting, and watching TV. We chatted about my Nana. The fond memories we have, as it is four years since she passed away, nevertheless we still had laugh reminiscing, watched TV, and were just being a family. It got to 7:30 pm and I said to my Mum, "We are off now." So we gathered our leftovers together. My Mum always stocks us up with leftovers in the chinese canisters. We headed out the front door, into the front garden, and were laughing and saying our "see you later, and love you"
Then we hear a very slurred and a voice full of tears. "Excuse me love, have you got a cigarette." I went to the front gate and said " No mate, none of use smoke." The young man, who we shall call "Bobby" said "Sorry for bothering you Mrs, I just been mugged, and I hurt, and I have lost everything. I don't normally fight or do drugs..." When he was saying all this, his voice was breaking. The young man was dressed nicely in a khaki jacket and jeans and converse. He did smell of a tiny bit of cider however, I thought nothing of it. So I asked the young man "Whats your name?" in a broken voice he said "Bobby." I recognised his name and face and it clicked, I knew who he was. "Bobby, I know you, we met outside the pharmacy that day, you held the door open for my Mum to help me out. Do you remember? I was picking up my antibiotics!" I could see the relief and realisation in his eyes, but at the same time how broken he was."I remember you, your name is Ruth, and you gave me a can of coca cola! I remember you." He recognised my Mum as well. Then all of sudden he stumbled into my arms. I knew what was happening. He was crying his eyes out, and he collapsed into my arms, and was sobbing.

I held Bobby up. "Whats up? Tell me Bobby? You said it so fast, and made no sense before."
Bobby said in tears "My family has all died, I've lost my job, been made homeless, I have no money, I have been robbed and I just want to die. I am 26 and I have nothing."
I held Bobby, and just let him sob. He started to fall to the floor, so Gareth and my Mum helped him down on the floor. He was clinging to my arm for dear life.
I sat on the floor next to him. My Mum sat on the other side, and Gareth was stood. I said "Gareth we need to find him help, or a hotel to get him into, then go from there."

I am pausing now. You are probably thinking "Why not ring 999?" Have you seen the cuts to the police, and the NHS? Who do you ring when you have a heart attack? 999
Who do you ring when someone has a mental health crisis?
You can't ring 999, as the local police have admitted to not having the resources to cope with mental illness. The NHS is at breaking point. So Gareth and I came up with an idea, find a homeless charity who have access to mental health help.

Bobby held his legs to his chest and cried, and cried. He put his head into my arm and continued to cry. He kept repeating "I lost them all. All my family has gone. I have nothing. No one." My Mum ran in the house and got him some food- a pasty and a banana, I've never seen anyone so grateful or eat so fast. Gareth got a blanket from the car as it was pretty cold. When Gareth came back he said I have found a charity called Emmaus. They can help. He rang them and said they would be about 15 minutes.

Emmaus is a homeless charity, who have access to support workers.

I told Bobby "You have something. You have me as a friend. I am always here for you. We are getting you help. You are not going to die. I won't let you." Bobby continued to sob and said "I don't deserve this kindness, I don't deserve help or you." I said "You are human, you are called Bobby, you have a life, and we care about you. I am not letting you die. You have to keep going Bobby. Keep talking to me." Bobby calmed down a bit, ad told me about how he had been in foster care, then from 18 had gone through some hard things, then job after job. I just listened. When he sobbed about his family "I said I know what it's like, don't give up. Your family wouldn't want that." He just sobbed, pouring heart and soul out. I just hugged him and held his hand. My Mum gave him a tissue, and he was wrapped in the blanket. When he finally ate the pasty, he ate like he had never been fed before. He literally scoffed the pasty in one go! This lad had been through horrendous things, and had a hard life.

Emmaus showed up. Two employees. My Mum and I got Bobby up, and Bobby didn't let go of my hand. He continued to cry. The people from Emmaus asked a few questions:
What's your name?
How old are you?
What has happened?
How can we help?
Bobby burst into tears when they said the word help. So I explained who he was, and that he was 26. Bobby had been in some kind of fight, and had repeated several times he had lost everything. He wanted to die. He needs help, and he needs it NOW. The two employees listened whilst I told them all the details, and then the woman was on the phone, within 5 minutes they had found him a room for the night.
I asked the woman "What will happen?"
The woman said "He has a room, for the night, we will send the mental health crisis team over, and go from there."
The woman turned to Bobby who was crying and looking at his feet. We have got you a room, let's get you in the car. Bobby asked the woman to wait.
Bobby turned to me. He hugged me like his life depended it. Stroked my hair, and said "Thank you I have something to live for, which is you Ruth. You are my friend. Thank you, you saved my life. I want to make you proud." Bobby turned to my Mum, hugged her, and thanked Gareth.
Then he went off with the man and woman from Emmaus. He looked back before he got in the car waved. Got in the car, and off they went.

I stood there and cried. That poor poor lad had been through hell, and for that hour he had some kindness and help. I hope my help has helped him. I hope Bobby gets the right help from Emmaus.

It shows that mental health issues can bring anyone low. Bobby has never had an easy life, but he's a worker. Whenever he was not working for a company, he was pounding the streets, at all hours of the day, doing odd jobs for people and refusing to take going rates. He's skilled and handy, yet constantly undercharged people. He's done a few jobs for Gareth and I since we met him. He has a heart of gold and works hard. Yet the stigma of mental illness and the fact his upbringing didn't nurture the skills for independent living in him has meant that as soon as something went wrong for him, he lost everything. We need a better support network in this country!

I feel Mental health is overlooked, and not enough money is being put into mental health. Moving away from money, never judge a person as being drunk or high. Try and help them instead, though always make sure you do so safely. There is far too much judgement out there. I never judge people, as my Nan used to say "Never judge a book by its cover!" We need to be kind to each other and help each other. Life is short, and kindness can go a long way. You never know whether something is diamond or coal until you polish it and get the dirt off!

Bobby if you are out there, and read this, remember how far you have come since this night. I wish all the best for you.

If you are concerned about any homeless person you know or see, contact Emmaus - you can find your local contact through their website.

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Comments

Amy Weston said…
This post made me tear up! You are an amazing person Ruth and an inspiration to all!💜
You went so much further than so many would, that night. It’s so easy for people to turn their backs, assuming people are on drugs, or deserve what has happened to them. But you are a special woman. We all can learn a lesson from you, Ruth. We are all just a disaster away from living on the streets ourselves, and who could say if we would find a kind heart to help us? I’m glad that this young man had an angel like you that night.
Earthboundstars said…
It's a beautiful story if heartbreaking because it shows human resilience and kindness. You weren't going to let him fall while you had the chance to help him, and he was not going to let go as soon as he had someone rooting for him. That is absolutely beautiful.
I hope you and this man can stay in contact in the future, as I know personally how scary it is being "in the system". I'm so glad you helped him, I don't believe all things happen for a reason but I do believe people can be meant to be at a certain place when things happen and I think you are one of the best people that man could have ever run into at that time. I have hope for this man because if the universe is placing people like you in his life, I think it's a good sign more positive things are going to happen for him in the future.
Marie Ashton said…
So glad you were all there to help him. It's so easy to fall in hard times 🙁 you are the best and are amazing Ruth ❤️
Wow thank you for your kind comment Amy Weston! 💜💜 It means a lot. 💜💜xxxx

Thank you so much for your kind comment Cynthia. 💜💜 I just did what was natural to me. I hope people start to look, when they see someone in trouble and just see if there is something someone can do. You are completely right, we don’t know how close we are to losing our, our everything. Thank so much for your kind comment. 😊🌸♥️Xxxx

Wow Earthbound Stars. Thank you for your very kind comment. ❤️ Yeah I was not going to give up on him. I sent the man a message on Facebook, and maybe one day, when he is in a better place mentally he will get in touch. You are so sweet and kind, for your wonderful comments, thank you. ♥️♥️Xxxx

Wow Marie! Thank you for your very kind comment! It means a lot to me! ♥️♥️
Charlotte said…
Wow you are amazing for this! I feel like most people where I live would just ignore him and continue on with their day. So glad you were there for him, and that there are people out there willing to help. What a touch situation. I would a cried too, for sure.
Shannon said…
What an emotional read. Ruth, you are an amazing person and went above and beyond for this young man. He’s in my thoughts now too. ❤️
OneMoreLightLB said…
This was so, so touching; you are a truly wonderful person. Everything you've said is (sadly) spot on about mental health and lack of resources xx
Aww Charlotte, thank you for your kind comment. 💜💜 I could never ignore someone in need. Yeah, it was a hard situation. It’s good to know that I am not the only one that would cry.💜😊xxx

Aww Shannon, thank you for your sweet comment. 💜💜 I try my best by everyone. Thank you for such a wonderful comment. 😊🌸xxx

Aww thank you for your kind comment One More Light. Yeah I hope the UK government sorts out this country, but I feel the wrong party may be in power. Xxx😊🌸
Yvonne Wabai said…
Oh, Bobby! 😢😕😭 I hope he's doing much better now. Thank God you were there when he needed someone. And thank God for Emmaus. Breaks my heart that the police and the NHS don't have enough resources to deal with situations pertaining to mental health.
Charlotte said…
Your an inspiration! You should be proud this world needs more people like you in it.
Lozza said…
This is the most incredible, inspiring post that I have probably ever read in my entire life. This breaks my heart and could bring me to tears, but thank goodness for you Ruth.
How lucky that you were there and have such a kind heart.
I hope you can reunite with Bobby one day and he can look back on this post to see how far he’s come.

Ruth you are an incredible person. Xo
Francesca said…
Reading this has brought tears to my eyes. You did the right thing helping him. You're a lovely person with a big heart. I'm always saying don't judge a book by it's cover. You are right about mental health I don't think the people who have it get the help and support they need. Your blogs are really good. Love Francesca xx
It is incredibly nice of you to call Emmaus and offer help. Well done!!!!
I nearly cried reading this, hope Bobby is doing fine now. Such a young age!
Thank you for your kind comment Yvonne. 💜💜I know, I hope the government puts better funding into the NHS and police. 😊🌸xxx

Wow thank you for your kind comment Charlotte! 💜💜 Your kind words mean a lot to me. I’m sure there are lots of people like me out there. 😊

Wow thank you for your kind comment Lozza! 💜💜 Your kind words mean a lot to me. I just try and help people. I hope to reunite one day with Bobby, but I hope at the moment, he is getting the help. 😊🌸xxx

Awww Francessa! Thank you for the sweet comment. 💜💜I hope the government take note, and put more money into the mental health.😊🌸xxx

Awww Ova. Thank you for your sweet comment! 💜💜 I hope Emmaus is continuing the help, and I hope Bobby gets the support he needs. 😊🌸xxx

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