John's Story

John is a 34-year old who served for four years in a Scottish Infantry Regiment. His time in the military was not memorable and he spent considerable time in conflict with the military authorities.

On discharge from the Army, he moved to the Scottish Borders area and became involved in crime within the local area.

He was referred to the Veterans Mentoring Service (VMS) by a mental health worker and engaged well and appeared responsive to the help and support being provided by his mentor. 

During a visit to see John, his mentor discussed the local support available to help with the issues he was experiencing. However there appeared to be little appropriate local help available.

John decided to move from the Borders to an area where he could access specialist support for his needs. With the support of his mentor he moved to Glasgow to enable him to engage with the range of suitable support agencies and in March 2020 he moved into his new accommodation.

Shortly after he moved to Glasgow, the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown restrictions were imposed which had an impact on the number of available services to provide support to him. The closure of services had a detrimental effect as he was unable to access specialist support.

John self-isolated which had a significant detrimental effect on his mental health. He struggled to sleep due to flashbacks and anxiety. He started self-medicating with non-prescription drugs to aid his sleep and this exacerbated his issues which began to cause problems within the temporary accommodation where he was living.

The problem reached crisis level and John was at risk of being evicted due to his drug use and anti-social behaviour. This would have led to him being at risk of becoming homeless and involved in criminal activity.

Due to the level of crisis, it was agreed that his mentor would accompany John to the accommodation review meeting to advocate on his behalf. The meeting was not held in a virtual environment meaning that all Health and Safety issues were addressed in line with Scottish Government guidance to reduce the risk of infection.

Due to the intervention of the mentor and his assurance that he would provide continuing support, it was agreed that he would retain his tenancy, but this would be subject to weekly review.

With the continued support and encouragement of his VMS mentor, John has stopped self-medicating and is now more settled in his accommodation and his relationship with the accommodation support staff has improved. He has been able to receive online support from an addictions worker and this is having a positive impact on his outlook on life. 

John has recently volunteered at Sacro’s Garden Project within Tollcross Park in Glasgow to engage in positive activity and says that he feels more relaxed being in the outdoors. He has a new positivity about him and has clear goals and plans for his future. He wishes to attend college to become a counsellor enabling him to work with young people within inner cities to help them avoid gang culture and a life of crime.