Nick is 19 and like many other people his age, is looking forward to his future. He has his own flat, goes to catering college, and dreams of becoming a chef one day. In his free time he sees his friends and likes to practice his catering skills, in particular making his favourite dish, lasagne.
However, just two years ago, Nick never would have imagined he would be living independently and training to be a chef. Aged just 17, Nick developed severe depression and as his behaviour at home and school deteriorated, he ended up committing a serious crime. As Nick explains, ‘I felt such shame and remorse afterwards with what I had done that I was suicidal and admitted to a mental health rehabilitation unit’. Nick stayed there for a year and received intensive support to help him deal with his depression.
Once Nick felt ready to take his next step towards independence, he decided to move to Advance’s local supported living scheme. Nick says ‘when I moved in, that’s when everything changed’.
Supported living Nick the opportunity to have his own flat, whilst having the support he needed from experienced Support Workers, Kate and Paul. Nick received help with things like shopping, cooking, writing a CV and preparing for interviews; helping him secure a place at college.
After a year in supported living, and having completed his first year at catering college, Nick felt ready to move on to a place of his own. Because Advance offers a range of housing options, Nick was able to move into an independent, modern flat owned by Advance, where he could be close to family and friends. Nick has grown in confidence, and explains ‘I only need one hour of support a week from an Advance Support Worker now, and soon I won’t need any support at all’.
Reflecting on the help he has had, Nick is clear that he would never be where he is today without Advance. ‘Advance gave me the chance to turn my life around. It’s amazing when I sit and think that two years ago I was in a mental health establishment and two years later I’m in my own flat and going to college’.
Nick now wants to use his experience to help other people who are overwhelmed by depression and unable to see a future for their self. "I want to help other people see that things can be better."