Karen's story


Until recently, Karen lived in an Advance Supported Living Service in Essex with five other customers all of whom have long term mental health conditions. Support staff were on site throughout the day on weekdays and most of weekends.

In 2022 Karen moved on from the supported living service into her own flat in the local community. She still receives a few hours weekly support from Advance.

In her own words:

"I first became mentally ill in the summer of 2005. Several personal setbacks led to depression and as these escalated, I was admitted to a Psychiatric Hospital where I stayed for two months. My symptoms returned in early 2006. I was moved between hospitals in the local area which wasn’t much fun. I was then moved to another unit, much further from home, for a further three years, then back to a unit nearer home. Eventually I improved enough to be discharged.

It was June 2012 when my social worker said a bed had come up at the Advance service which was good as it was near my family. I had a couple of visits, and I was really happy with it. The staff were nice and the residents I met were nice as well. I moved in at the end of June 2012. Moving there was the best thing I have ever done."

Karen spent a total of seven years in and out of psychiatric hospitals across the country. At an average cost of approximately £3,003/week her care cost just over £1m pounds. During the time that she lived at our supported housing scheme Karen’s housing and support costs became considerably lower. Now she has moved into her own place, those costs are lower still. Over the last few years Karen’s life has turned around.

Karen has been supported to and has re-established a close relationship with her two grown children. She has also developed personal interests and hobbies including crafting and knitting. She has also been a mentor to a younger woman who moved into the supported living service, encouraging and supporting her with her own recovery.

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