• Steph Stephens, SJC Community Worker

Getting to the root of the problem

During the week Bill (not his real name) came into St John’s Care with what we thought at first was a housing problem. He was on a disability pension and was having trouble supporting his thirteen year old grandson who is living with him.

Bill talked about the boy’s father, Gary, and his inability not only to parent his thirteen year old but also to take responsibility for the challenges in his own life, including his personal wellbeing. Gary is currently living on his friend’s couch and, as Bill explained his son’s situation, I realised that he was describing someone with a mental illness.

Having trained and worked with people who are unwell, I was able to ask Bill certain questions which highlighted to me that Gary was indeed very unwell.

Bill told me that he had reached the same conclusion some time ago, but Gary would never accept that he had a mental illness. I gave Bill some information on mental illness and referred him to various services and help lines that he could access for both himself and his son. I also gave Bill some food from the pantry to help feed his grandson for which he was very appreciative.

So the initial request for help regarding housing for his son ended up not the main problem. It was a mental health issue.

We always need to be aware of our own mental wellbeing. If we ever feel that we aren’t coping as well as we should be, we need to book an initial appointment with our GP. It is important to look after our mental health.

This month SJC have seen approximately 268 people. We have assisted them with food, bills, medical expenses, referrals, emotional support and bus tickets.

Wish list: Nappy cream, olive oil 500mls, tissues and conditioner.

Steph Stephens

Community Worker


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