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Emotional and Behavioural difficulties, Street Homeless and Paranoid Schizophrenia


Written by Neil Silvester.

“I’ve endured almost a decade of constant mental torture due to my mind being above my consciousness. Now I have the tools to escape my mind and have flipped it so that my consciousness is above my mind”

Sonny is 27 years of age and lives with his partner of 7 years. He grew up in an abusive household and was diagnosed with Emotional and Behavioural difficulties as a child. When he reached 16, his parents made him leave the family home stating they could no longer cope with him. He later lost his job which also meant he had to give up the small flat he was living in. This led to a year of sofa surfing, before the inevitable happened and he started living on the streets.

During these difficult times, Sonny was being assessed by various Doctors and healthcare professionals and being prescribed medications that had no positive effects. He was diagnosed with Paranoid Schizophrenia which came as a heavy blow, caused some of his friends to abandon him as well as Sonny to socially withdraw.

Whilst living on the streets, Sonny was searching for “something”, he had an idea what it was but could not truly identify it. He used various unprescribed drugs and investigated religious and spiritual ideas but could never quite find what he was looking for. He made a self-referral to the mental health charity MIND and was referred by them to the A Slice of Happiness programme (ASOH).

Sonny then took part in 14 online group sessions over 2 programmes. All sessions were 3 hours each and conducted via zoom. Despite them being group sessions, Sonny felt that if he needed it, one to one support was always available. Since completing the programme, he has been living with a dramatically improved state of mind and understanding of his diagnosis.

Here are a few extracts from a Q&A session we had together.

How have the activities that you have taken part in improved your physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing/quality of life?

It has given me the tools to escape my mind, by that I mean I am able to take long breaks from the excessive and intrusive thinking that comes with my diagnosis.

What would you say to encourage others to access ASOH services?

They are extremely patient, professional and personal. It is a safe space to exist in and everyone who takes part comes with an open mind and no judgement.

What do you think would have been the outcome had you not taken part in ASOH?

I would still be trapped by thought and being led by my mind.

What other impacts has the ASOH programme had

Thanks to ASOH, I am on no meds, under no Doctors. I can now live as Sonny and not as my diagnosis.

Would you recommend the ASOH to others?

100% yes. This should be implemented to everyone who is suffering from a thought based mental illness.

As you can clearly see, ASOH has had a hugely positive impact on Sonny’s life. He and his partner are currently saving money and plan to move from Hertfordshire to the West Country in search of a more tranquil life. Sonny is also considering a career in forestry, something that would not have been possible prior to the programme. He thanks ASOH on helping him relinquish control of his mind allowing him to live life in a way that many people take for granted.