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Suffering domestic violence led to subtance misuse – It’s time to see the full picture

This Christmas, Jamie Driscoll, North of Tyne Mayor is joining the Northern Inclusion Consortium to raise awareness of the National Lottery Community Fund’s Fulfilling Lives campaign #seethefullpicture – reducing the stigma and discrimination associated with multiple disadvantage.

For some people, Christmas can be a challenging time of year, but particularly for those suffering multiple disadvantage such as mental health issues, addictions and homelessness. This is only accentuated by the associated stigma and discrimination.

The Northern Inclusion Consortium, a northern charities partnership driving social change, supports #seethefullpicture which encourages all of us to see the full picture around why people find themselves experiencing homelessness, addiction, poor mental health and other complex needs.

NIC Director Jessie Jacobs says “We are delighted to have Jamie’s support for this vital campaign. Abuse. Neglect. Trauma. Bereavement. Family breakdown. There can be many triggers and causes as to why and how someone finds themselves homeless, suffering addictions or displaying other risk taking behaviours. Often though, people look at the issue and don’t see the person or the bigger picture around why someone may find themselves suffering these issues. This is why it is incredibly important to raise awareness of people’s story”

One story that highlights the bigger picture well is Jessica from the local Fulfilling Lives programme working across Newcastle & Gateshead.

“Jessica describes her upbringing as fairly normal.  Towards her late teens she had a child.  She suffered domestic abuse in her relationship with the father of her child, which led her to use substances – a behaviour that has continued through her adult life.

“Jessica has since had struggles with mental health, psychosis, PTSD, and several mental health inpatient admissions. She has also been dealing with epilepsy and mobility issues from an injury. Jessica had her child removed from her care, and is not currently in contact.

“Jessica’s adult life has been chaotic, and she has found herself cycling through mental ill health, substance use and associated risky lifestyles. The cycle tends to be that she suffers trauma, which impacts her mental health, she will then use substances to block out the trauma. This leads to risky behaviour to support the substance addiction. The shame of the behaviour also impacts on her mental health, which leads back to substance use to block out feelings of shame. On a day to day basis, she has felt that she does not have anything to live for.

Jessica has tried to seek help, and has a history of sporadic accessing of drug, alcohol and mental health services. When her mental health is poor, she struggles to keep appointments. This has led to being signed off from using some services through non-engagement. Jessica does not feel safe, and feels she does not have the help she needs to move forward in life.

Working with Fulfilling Lives, Jessica feels she has someone on her side working with her, for her. She feels her dedicated Fulfilling Lives Worker is often the only person doing anything for her, and is frustrated by other services’ boundaries and thresholds.

Jessica does have hopes for the future, and would like to be able to have a relationship with her child.”

Jamie Driscoll says

“Life’s tough enough for many people.  If you’ve got multiple disadvantages, the last thing you need is stigma and discrimination.  We need to encourage people to #seethefullpicture.  When people find themselves on the streets, struggling with addictions and taking risks, they need support.  The only way to real change is to see the person behind the issue.”

Jamie Driscoll delivering speech at NIC relaunch

 Who is behind #seethefullpicture?

This campaign has been created by 12 projects across England that form the National Lottery Community Fund’s Fulfilling Lives Programme: Supporting People with Complex Needs, and it has been fully informed by people who have or are currently facing complex needs.

For more info head to https://www.multipledisadvantageday.org/

Local Fulfilling Lives Project http://www.fulfillinglives-ng.org.uk/

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