From a home, to prison, to the streets, and now in his own home again, John’s story is one that goes full circle and proves that with hard work and determination, it is possible to turn things around for the better.
When John was released from prison and entered into the Breathing Space program, he never thought that he would soon experience homelessness.
“My name was still on the deed of my home, so I figured I would be transitioning back to living there – at least in the granny flat – but my ex didn’t like that idea and I ended up on the streets for a while,” says John.
For some time, John took up residence in caravan parks and was couch surfing with friends, but his mental health deteriorated rapidly.
“I went as low as you can go and I woke up in hospital after an attempt on my life. It proved to me the severe lack of services out there for people with mental health challenges.”
But John struck some luck with the help of a great nurse practitioner who helped him get into some programs and back on his feet again. When he was ready, he put in an application for St Bart’s Future Homes service. He gave up drinking and smoking, and for the next two-and-a-half years, John used his time at St Bart’s to work on his mental wellbeing in readiness to get into a home of his own once again. However, with the rental crisis, his lack of income and references, he soon realised there was no hope in getting a private rental.
Determined not to be discouraged, in 2022 John enrolled at TAFE in a Certificate II in electronics, with the goal of one day heading to the mines to increase his income.
“That got my brain going again and then I decided to sign up for a Certificate IV,” he said. “When I wasn’t studying, I was volunteering with Bikes for Humanity in Midvale.”
After repairing his relationship with his parents, which had been fractured over the years, John’s dad supported him into a home of his own earlier this year, conveniently located close to his 10-year-old son whom he has a great relationship with. It’s an old house, so John is keeping busy by bringing it back to its former glory.
These days, John is much more mindful of taking care of his mental health by ensuring he doesn’t put too much on his plate.
“I’ll only go ahead with something if I’m absolutely sure I can handle,” he said.
Once qualified, John is looking forward to getting a job on the mines to increase his income and provide for his son.
“There’s just no way I could have done it on my own, and I’ve had amazing support from staff at St Bart’s,” says John. “I think it’s important for people to know that practically nobody digs themselves out on their own.”
For us at St Bart’s, we can’t wait to hear what’s next for John!