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One might wrongly assume that former mental health nurse Lisa* was better equipped than most to deal with the debilitating impact that stress and anxiety can have on a person. 
After all, the 48-year-old had spent 30 years working in NHS and private healthcare settings and the last 14 of those working in a hospital with older adults suffering from a variety of mental health conditions. Yet just months before the pandemic hit the UK, Lisa suffered a serious breakdown brought on by the stress of her job and was consigned to a stretch in hospital herself, this time as a patient rather than carer. Unable to pay the bills, Lisa eventually lost her home and was registered homeless. Photo showing woman recovering from mental health issues

“I loved my job and for most of the time it was hugely fulfilling but the stress eventually caught up with me and the mental breakdown I had was just dreadful, it brought me to my knees,” she explained. 
“I was living in a B&B and out of bags and boxes when my support worker and I saw this Bromford flat come up, so I was really keen to go and view it.” 
After liking what she saw, Lisa was given a 12 month starter tenancy and with the support of her new neighbourhood coach, Janice Small, was able to make a fresh start with her own roof over her head. 
Janice said: “I quickly learnt that Lisa needed to be ultra-prepared. We talked through the process of her taking on a tenancy with us and what her responsibilities were within that tenancy, and also looked at how myself and Bromford could support her and the dynamics of the area she was moving to. 
She felt extremely anxious, but she was determined to manage it with our support. Lisa moved into the property and, with a little encouragement along the way, she furnished her home, managed her rent account, met her neighbours, and reported her repairs. 

A year on and Janice has just extended Lisa’s tenancy for another five years, giving her added reassurance as she gets back onto her feet. Lisa now volunteers at a nearby woodlands centre and as an animal lover, has sought out further voluntary work at the local Riding for the Disabled Association. 
She went on: “It wasn’t until I got my Bromford flat that I really started on the road to recovery. It felt like a real privilege at the time and I loved having my own space and being able to cook my own food, the simple things really.” 
And in the run up to World Suicide Prevention Day on 10 September, Lisa has a message to others struggling with their own mental health. 
“Never give up hope would be my main thing. Mental health can happen to anyone but I’ve got a much more positive head of my shoulders these days. Every day is a new day and it’s important to know that often it will be better than your last. Things do get better and there is help and support out there if you need it,” she added. 
Janice said Lisa was now considering how her home could be a stepping stone to buying her own property in the years ahead. 
Gone is the anxious soul, seeking support. Lisa is now a confident and happy lady who is using her volunteering as a stepping stone to returning to full time work. What a transformation and I am proud to have been involved in her journey, Janice added. 
*name changed to protect identity 

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