New Routes Mentoring

George* was released from HMP at the end of March 2020, right at the beginning of the lockdown. He had worked with the New Routes service before and was used to a certain level of support from the agencies involved in his support plan. George also enjoyed being out and about in his local community.

George struggled massively with the lockdown. Initially, trying to make light of it by advising that he could not “get into mischief” but this quickly changed and he became increasingly suicidal. One day, George’s Mentor phoned him and whilst George was able to have a conversation with the Mentor and make out like things were ok, the Mentor had known George long enough to know that things were not as he was describing. After the phone call, the Mentor texted George to advise that he was doing really well and he should be proud of himself for how far he had come and the fact that he has not used Heroin since his release. George then texted the Mentor back advising that he planned to kill himself and described the method he planned to use. The Mentor immediately tried to phone George but he refused to answer the phone and would only communicate via text. Eventually, the Mentor had to contact the police to carry out a welfare check. This happened a few times over the space of a week. It was imperative to get George the help that he needed.

The Mentor put supports in place for George by making a referral to the Scottish Association of Mental Health who were able to provide mental health support. The voluntary throughcare service in George’s local area were also happy to provide some extra support, and the Mentor spoke with George’s substance misuse worker who was able to make a referral to the service psychiatrist.

The different services worked together to provide George with a holistic, person-centred service. A member of this multi-disciplinary team phoned George every day so that George felt completely supported.

Things slowly began to improve for George. His medication was increased, George talked about how he was feeling, and he was provided with a new phone (George was being harassed by people he has known previously) and he slowly began to feel better about himself.

George has continued to work with the support around him and is now also engaging with an employment agency who are currently working with George on an SQA Employability Award and working on his CV.

George has not used any drugs for two months and as a result of being clean, he has worked on and improved family relationships that he thought would never get better and that “I would never have bothered with if I was still on the drugs”.

George and his Mentor continue to talk every week and the Mentor continues to provide support and guidance when George is unsure of something.

*Names changed to protect identity and location not disclosed