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Eleni's story

10 Sep 2015

“ We are a family from Ethiopia now settled in Dandenong. There is nothing like Partners in Recovery (PIR) back home.  People with mental problems just stay inside. Growing up in Australia with two siblings and an Aunty living with Schizophrenia, I was young when I had to help Mum care for our family. It was really hard not knowing where to go or what to do if there was a problem.

After injuring her back whilst working in aged care and being in great pain, Mum became mentally unwell herself.  She began to be frightened of people, thinking they would attack her and she had hallucinations that they were trying to kill her.  She also took to wandering around until late and was not helping at home.

We only had 2 bedrooms so with a child and a new baby it was crowded.  Mum went to live with Aunty but Aunty cleans at night and sleeps during the day so Mum had to be quiet all day and was warned ‘not to touch things’.  Living like this was too stressful for Mum so she went to live in her car. I was very worried about that and tried to get Disability support but was rejected.

When we got into the PIR program, our support facilitator wrote a letter supporting our Disability application and it was accepted. The support facilitator also helped with securing a rental and got rent assistance for Mum.  She is now in the KEYS program at Ermha. We are all amazed at Mum’s progress. She is now being social and helps me at home. She lives only 10 minutes away from me and can come over every day to help with the kids.

Our support facilitator also helped us by with making a relapse prevention care plan.  Each of us has a copy that tells us what to do if we are in trouble. We now have a backup plan.

Mum has been on medication for one year now and is much better but has requested to come off soon.  I am concerned about this so having the relapse prevention care plan and support in place is really important to me.

For me as the carer, our support facilitator gave me good ideas for things to do to help myself.  She asked me what helps me to relax and was able to organise vouchers to do it. I now attend a women’s group once a week in Dandenong.  I am a person of faith and love to sing in Church. Now I have some time to do that again. I need to take time for myself.

I have 100% satisfaction with PIR and wish to see it keep going.  It is a good service, quick and easy with recovery.  I wish that for others. ”

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