Leanne’s Story - Scared to talk
Leanne wanted to live with Chris. But her anxiety and fear was stopping her from getting the right support to live the life she wanted. Building a strong, trusting relationship with her advocate meant that professionals now understand Leanne and can help her get the care and support she and Chris both needed to stay together.
Leanne loves her boyfriend Chris but wasn’t able to live with him as she was being cared for at a residential home. Although she was supported to manage her mental health condition at the home, Leanne made the decision to run away from her home and move in with Chris, cutting all contact with the services she had been using in the community.
Leanne was very fearful of professionals, and was really anxious about speaking to anyone who might make her move back to her residential home.
Leanne knew what she wanted; to live independently with Chris, but supported with an appropriate care package. But, as she was scared of talking to the social care team, they didn’t know that. Her voice wasn’t being heard and her wishes couldn’t be considered.
The social care teams were worried that Leanne was at risk of neglect. They were also worried about possible repercussions if she were to become pregnant. Leanne was referred to a VoiceAbility advocate so that they could find out what she wanted and help her go through assessments to see what options she had for care and support.
It took a while for Leanne to speak to the advocate because she thought they were just another professional. But when she received a Court Order to attend a Court hearing, she was really scared. She called the advocacy service as a last resort, and they helped calm her down and understand what the letter meant. After speaking to her advocate for a little while, Leanne was happy to meet.
The VoiceAbility advocate met with both Leanne and Chris several times, first in a neutral place that they chose, then at their home after the relationship became more relaxed. Leanne started to confide in her advocate more and more. She told them that she didn’t have enough money to buy food now she had moved in with Chris, they had been relying on a food bank. They were also struggling to keep on top of household chores and keep themselves clean.
“My advocate sat and listened to it all. I was really frightened at first and I didn’t want to talk to anyone but she really helped. I was able to find the words to get people to take me seriously. She gave me confidence”
Because Leanne now trusted her advocate, she asked them to attend safeguarding meetings with her, and to attend the court appearance. The advocate helped Leanne think about what she wanted to say and helped Leanne through all of her meetings. They spoke to Leanne about meeting with her social worker so that they could look at her finances and, with the advocates support, she agreed.
Leanne also needed needs and capacity assessments but refused them because she would need to meet with professional assessors and she still did not trust professionals. The advocate reassured her that they would be there the whole time and would make sure that the assessors listened to what she wanted to say.
With the trust that the advocacy relationship had built, Leanne has a plan to manage her finances. She has attended court and met with her support team. She has had the assessment of her needs and a capacity assessment.
Without advocacy support, she would not have had these. Professionals may have decided that Leanne needed to move back into residential care. This was what Leanne feared most, but the fear of such repercussions meant that she was isolating herself, stopping her own voice from being heard and not receiving support that would enable her and Chris to live independently.
Now Leanne has a support package that allows her to remain living with Chris, with the knowledge that she is safe and protected, and that nobody is going to take her away.
Her relationship with her advocate will continue, with Leanne able to contact the service whenever she feels that she needs to.