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Mike’s story

Mike first came to The Passage after abandoning his flat because he was paranoid and afraid.

On arrival at The Passage, Mike was assessed by our Resettlement Team and was quickly referred to our Dual Diagnosis Worker, Katie. Mike divulged that he had a diagnosis of depression and was taking prescription medication (Mirtazapine), as well as a substitute prescription of Methadone, while still using heroin and crack cocaine on top.

Mike's Story Cover Image

Katie wanted to establish why her client had abandoned his previous accommodation, and why he was so reluctant to pursue safe housing solutions. It took several sessions building rapport until Mike felt comfortable enough to explain. Katie discovered significant paranoia – Mike believed that the close friend he was living with, had become an informant to the Police and was attempting to incriminate him for drug dealing.

Consequently, Mike abandoned the flat and started rough sleeping across London. Over time, his paranoia led him to believe that information about his criminal history and drug habits, was being spread online and through WhatsApp and was available to the public, the police, the government and other enforcement groups.

Katie’s initial interpretation of Mike’s mental state was that he might be suffering from Paranoid Personality Disorder or drug induced Psychosis from regular use of crack cocaine. Katie helped Mike to focus on practical things that he could control. Mike was reliant on begging to fund his addiction to heroin and crack cocaine, so she encouraged Mike to work towards reducing his substance usage. However, Mike struggled to accept this more logical way of viewing his paranoid thoughts. He did not believe that altering his lifestyle would change his idea that someone was trying to incapacitate his life.

Katie continued to meet and support Mike, monitoring and assessing his behaviour and looking at new ways to help him. However, his mental health worsened, and he started reporting auditory and visual hallucinations. This caused Katie to suspect a form of Schizophrenia so she has recently made a referral to the Joint Homelessness Team, a multi-disciplinary community mental health service so that Mike can see a specific specialist.

Mike and Katie continue to have sessions to catch up regularly, and Katie is slowly making progress to reduce his drug intake. Mike is also more open to exploring accommodation options to get him off the street, which will reduce detrimental street activity and aid with his treatment and recovery.

Treatment and recovery takes time. Navigating statutory health treatment structures can be very complex with many barriers blocking the path. The key to success is a trusting relationship with a Key Worker like Katie, who doesn’t ever give up.