Our guide to supported living for people with mental health conditions
What is a mental health condition?
Mental health conditions is a general term for a range of disorders that can affect a person’s mood, thinking and behaviour. Some examples of mental health conditions are depression and anxiety.
What causes mental health conditions?
It is often hard to find the exact cause of a mental health condition. They are often due to a combination of biological, psychological, and environmental factors that can include:
- trauma or abuse in early childhood or later life
- conditions such as learning disabilities, autism, physical disabilities and people with acquired brain injuries.
- chemical imbalances in the brain, which are often genetic
- substance abuse
- low self-esteem, feelings of loneliness, or isolation
- changes to a person's life, for example, a death or divorce
Is poor mental health the same as a mental illness?
Even though the terms are used interchangeably if a person has poor mental health it doesn’t necessarily mean they will be diagnosed with a mental illness. It’s common to have periods of poor mental health throughout your life, especially during times of stress or big change - but that doesn’t mean you have a mental illness.
If you feel like you’re struggling with your mental health and it is having an impact on your daily life, please make sure to talk to a healthcare professional.
How can a mental health condition affect a person’s life?
A mental health condition can affect a person’s life in many different ways. It has an impact on how a person thinks, feels and acts, which means it can affect how a person handles situations, interacts with others and the life choices they make.
Long periods of untreated mental health conditions can begin to affect a person’s physical health too, for example, depression can increase a person’s risk for heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
What is supported living for mental health?
Supported living services provide additional support and guidance to individuals with complex needs who require extra support with managing their mental health. Supported living allows people to keep their independence and live in their own homes, and have support on hand as and when needed.
The amount of support provided depends on the individuals’ unique needs - it could just be a few hours a week, through to 24-7. There are several different benefits of support living, from greater independence to tailored support and care.
How Lifeways can help support people with mental health conditions
At Lifeways, we support people with a range of complex needs including learning disabilities, autism, physical disabilities and people with acquired brain injuries. Often when someone is living with a complex condition, it is common for someone’s mental health to be impacted as well.
When someone is living in our supported living or residential care accommodation, we believe it is important to look after all areas of their physical and mental wellbeing, meaning that if someone is living with a mental health condition, like depression or anxiety, alongside their complex needs condition we can help provide further support.
Diagnosed with a personality disorder and depression a few years ago, Emily had been in and out of the hospital. Working alongside her community psychiatric nurse and psychiatrist, our support team employed cognitive behavioural therapy techniques which enabled Emily to develop positive coping strategies and take responsibility for staying safe.
With increased self-confidence and self-esteem, Emily moved from 24-7 supported living to a housing association flat where she is now able to identify her triggers and manage her condition independently.
Today, Emily can drive, is a volunteer and is carving out a career as a trainer, helping care workers and prison officers gain professional qualifications.
Emily says: “I’m really proud of my achievements. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the support of my Lifeways support team who believed in me all the way. Now I also believe in myself.”
Does Lifeways also offer support for people with complex mental health needs?
SIL, which is part of the Lifeways Group, provides specialist support and recovery services for people living with complex mental health needs, supporting the transition from hospital and institutional environments into their tenancy in the community. Find out how SIL has helped Shannon with her mental health after she came to SIL in 2018.
How we can help
If you want to find out more information or have any questions about support for people living with mental health conditions, please get in touch and our friendly team will be happy to help.