09 September 2019
10th September is World Suicide Prevention Day. Lydia Gregory, Occupational Therapist at Tower Hamlets Pathway Homeless Team describes how they worked as part of an ELFT team alongside other agencies to help someone rebuild their life after a suicide attempt: 

 

"Working as part of a multi-disciplinary team (MDT) in ELFT means that it is truly a privilege to have the chance to make a difference to some peoples' lives.

 

An Eastern European gentleman was brought into A&E after sustaining multiple fractures and a mild traumatic brain injury after jumping from a bridge in London.

 

After initially meeting with him, I quickly established that his case was a fragile one, and that he was not ready to talk about the intricacies of how or why he jumped from the bridge.

 

So I decided to get him to start from the beginning of his time in the UK to help piece together why he decided there was nothing else to live for.

 

He’d been working  but  never had a secure base. He had large child maintenance arrears - which resulted in him drinking very heavily to try and drown out his poor reality. His network of friends was minimal and he was unable to recall any hobbies or interests and saw no way out of his terrible situation.

 

He recalled feeling worthless and ashamed of his life, so much so that his family were unaware of his poor existence and also disclosed he felt no one would care if he was gone.

 

After building up some trust, he opened up about the day he decided to end his life and  explained he secretly longed for someone to stop him in his tracks.

 

With the support of the MDT he was able to make a good, steady recovery as an inpatient.

 

Our legal partners and the Salvation Army were able to establish that this patient was actually a victim of modern day slavery.

 

He had been trafficked to the UK, purposefully paid a low wage meaning he would be unable to afford rent and have no means of leaving the organisation.

 

On discharge from hospital he was taken to a safe location and given the support he needed to recover from his injuries, advice around immigration and help find new work once ready.

 

This patient story is a perfect example of how important listening is when someone is experiencing a low point in their life.

 

I think the key message is:  you never know what hardship someone is going though behind the scenes - so be kind, act with compassion, don’t judge and never underestimate the power of listening."