Having been diagnosed with schizophrenia aged 18, 49-year-old Catherine Fairclough from Preston, has also suffered from a personality disorder for the past five years.
After a brief stay at Crystal Hall Residential and Nursing Home in Goosnargh, Preston turned into a six month stint, an introduction to home care specialist, Community Life Choices, completely turned Catherineâ€™s life around.
â€œI was only meant to be with Crystal Hall for three weeks but couldnâ€™t get the funding to get placed, so I was stuck there longer,â€ said Catherine.
â€œMy care coordinator at the time got me involved with Community Life Choices and their care manger, Chantel Oâ€™Reilly, came to see me. I asked her lots of questions and she also wanted to know all about me so she could support me both within and outside my home.
â€œIâ€™ve only been with Community Life Choices for six months but itâ€™s completely changed how I live. The care at Crystal Hall was so different and the people there gave me lots of problems. I wasnâ€™t sleeping in my own bed and wasnâ€™t showering very often, but now with the amazing support of my staff, Iâ€™m going to bed most nights, taking my medication and doing things in the community.
â€œWith their help Iâ€™m now living in my flat on my own and Iâ€™ve learnt to become more independent. Theyâ€™ve given me so much confidence and Iâ€™m willing to socialise with people a lot better than before.â€
Catherine and her carer, Heather Rowlands, were in Blackpool on a day trip when we caught up and she told us how sheâ€™ll be celebrating her 50th birthday with a meal out with her care team.
As her main carer, Heather supports Catherine almost every day. Having joined Community Life Choices at the same time as Catherine began receiving support; it was the first relationship the pair formed.
Heather said: â€œIâ€™ve worked in care for more than a decade, first with children, then adults, the elderly and eventually moving into mental health around six years ago. Iâ€™ve plenty of experience on top of this having assisted family and friends with mental health conditions over the years.
â€œMental health is still a taboo subject to many but itâ€™s come into the spotlight more recently. It had a massive social stigma years ago where no one openly discussed mental health and if you did suffer a condition, then it was almost seen as a bad thing and something to be ashamed of.
â€œCatherine was my first service user at Community Live Choices and itâ€™s my job to put her needs first. Whatever goals she sets, I will support her to achieve these. Change doesnâ€™t happen overnight and Iâ€™ll be here throughout her journey, regardless of how long it takes.â€
Catherine concluded: â€œI would definitely recommend Community Life Choices to other people. I want to thank them for all theyâ€™ve done and for sticking by me through the good and bad. Without them, I wouldnâ€™t be where I am today.â€
©2015 Community Life Choices