Josh K, who has bipolar disorder, is supported by our South Coast Supported Housing service in West Sussex. This is his story, in his own words, of how he was supported to live independently once more following a serious bipolar episode.

I was struggling to cope with living alone in my flat when I was first referred to United Response’s Supported Housing service. At that time, the support I was receiving was not helping to manage my mental health – in fact, it was actually making it worse.

I moved into the shared house, supported by United Response staff members John and Jackie. I experience bipolar episodes, so engaging with their support was difficult to begin with; however, thanks to their patience and understanding, this was soon no longer an issue.

Personal support

To make things even more challenging, I was also recovering from a bike accident, but – with plenty of motivation and prompting – I slowly began to recover, and made friends with the other tenants in the house.

My debts were managed and I was given support to budget, cook and look after the house. My support workers also regularly prompted me to get active to improve my walking ability following the accident. Setting small goals really helped and my mood increased as a result.

Confidence and a sense of ownership

My relationship with my care team is excellent and we all work together to decide what kind of support I need. I feel, for the first time in a long time, that I have a choice in my support and that my opinion has value. The support I receive has built my confidence to the point where I have even published my first book!

I now have responsibility for and ownership over my life, which is something I never thought I would achieve.

With John and Jackie’s support, I have now moved into my own home with a garden – another dream come true! – and book two is on the way.

Josh was talking to Laura Cook, web and digital communications assistant.

To learn more about how we support people with mental health needs, click here.