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Darren is a 56 year man who, when his marriage ended badly, found himself unwell and in hospital. He then spent several years living in an old hostel, a period he struggles to remember as he continued to be unwell. When the hostel shut down he was moved into a supported independent living house. At the time Darren wasn’t ready for this transition and when he found it difficult to manage he relapsed and was admitted to hospital again.

During this time, Darren was appointed a State Guardian, someone who could make personal decisions for Darren when he wasn’t able to make those decisions for himself. Upon leaving hospital, he was able to move into another hostel and recalls that this was a time when he felt so anxious that he could not stop himself from shouting and he would do that most of the day. Darren’s clinical team was able to work with him, and when Darren started to feel better he decided to move into The Village, a recovery focused service that is part of Vinnies Mental Health services.

Darren moved into The Village in the middle of 2019 and engaged in the recovery program offered, which for Darren, meant that with help from staff in a safe environment, he could start to build on his capacity for independence. He no longer shouts and has been working on strategies with his clinical team to manage his anxiety. The Village staff were able to work with Darren on many of his goals such as cooking in the kitchen on the weekends and were able to advocate and help Darren plan his travel to Darwin earlier in 2020 to see his father. Darren now volunteers two days a week which keeps him busy and the work gives him a sense of purpose with his desire now to find paid part-time employment.

The biggest goal for Darren was to have his guardianship order reviewed as he feels he can make decisions for himself again. He was able to put in the application with the full support of Vinnies staff and his clinical team, and was incredibly excited when he was successful in having the order revoked.

Recently, Darren was also accepted onto the priority housing list with the Department of Communities and now has the confidence to look to moving into one of the Vinnies Mental Health shared houses soon, while still building up skills like cooking, before he moves into his own place.

Through Darren’s stay in the Village and the recovery focused model of support he experienced, he is now looking forward to what the future might bring, with renewed confidence, autonomy over his decisions and skills to transition to his new life as a single person.

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