How staff at CENS encourage residents to keep going even when they feel hopeless
People come to CENS usually at the lowest point in their lives. They have often been let down by the system and don’t see the point in trying. But at CENS we are always humbled by people’s resilience and the amazing strength they have when overcoming obstacles – often against the odds. Whether it’s fleeing domestic violence, facing up to crippling debts or overcoming addiction, residents can start afresh if they take the help that’s on offer and decide they want a better life for themselves.
That’s why we’re supporting the national Never Give Up day today. Here are 5 ways we encourage our service users to motivate themselves to make healthier life choices:
Talk to someone
We at CENS are always there with an open office door and a listening ear, but sometimes people need more specialised help. That’s why we encourage people to use other local agencies, whether that’s Open Road, Community 360 or Phoenix Futures to name a few. Having access to these other avenues of support can motivate people to keep going.
As soon as someone arrives at the project, one of the first things we do is introduce them to other residents. Knowing that there are others in the same position takes the sting out of the stigma of homelessness. Isolation can be one of the biggest factors of mental health issues, so forming a social network is vital. We have communal areas where people can watch films together or play monopoly into the early hours! Forming friendships has such a positive impact when it comes to boosting morale.
Often residents haven’t had a chance to get involved with any hobbies or community activities before they come to CENS. That’s why we always encourage them to try out local volunteer projects and opportunities at GreenPath Ventures or through Beacon House. Feeling useful and a part of something, trying out new things and developing skills is character building. Having something to look forward to when life feels out of control can make their situation bearable.
Stick to commitments
One of the tricks to motivation is to meet small, achievable goals. Often people’s lives are in chaos when they arrive but by encouraging them to do simple things like make a doctor’s appointment or filling in paperwork can do wonders for their sense of self-worth. Once they can see that they’re making progress, carrying on seems easier.
Keep the goal in mind
One of the biggest challenges for residents is the time it can take to find more secure accommodation. Nothing is ever straightforward and there are often setbacks and disappointments along the way. It is understandable that people can get frustrated when they’re doing everything that is expected of them and things take time. If there was ever a time to give up, it would be then. In these situations, staff at CENS really encourage service users to keep their goals in mind. We try and reflect back to them how far they’ve come, what they’ve achieved and what could be around the corner if they keep going.
One resident who was 38 while staying at CENS said that he wanted his own flat and a girlfriend by the time he was 40. We were lucky enough to support him getting into a house share during the time he was with us. By his 39th birthday he was in his own flat. Fingers crossed that we all get an invite to a wedding next year!