Part 2 of a series of blogs – read part 1 here:
After sharing my story with the board I was in high expectations and filled with excitement. However my placement within Day Services was going through a major overhaul. The Centre where I was working was closing after many years, a 6 week programme was going to replace the old system. Many of our clients were in shock and disbelief, there was a real sense of hopelessness. This for me was disheartening, a daily struggle, even though many were being referred to 3rd Sector Agencies it wouldn’t be the same. Support networks would be lost and friendships strained. Many of the staff also struggled to adjust to the thought of clients bonds being taken away it was at times Soul destroying.
My one and only work supervision was chaotic. We had already lost one Supervisor who had championed Peers with (a Birmingham NHS Trust). This left a large void, but the uncertainty was clear. In our fortnightly Peer meetings there was no structure, we were all working in different teams around the trust which meant different roles. All of us were lone working so it was difficult to support each other. Exactly a month after sharing my story with the board, I was struggling to cope, problems at home plus disheartening work environment with no real support had a detrimental effect on my mental wellbeing.
I contacted our trainers from Nottingham pleading for help but because of funding issues they weren’t allowed to intervene. An emergency peer meeting with just us peers was clear none of us was happy and felt unsupported by Supervisors. Our then supervisor hadn’t done the peer training tried to understand but her lack of knowledge just made matters worse. Every where I turned seemed hopeless.
Unfortunately I was sectioned for a few weeks, that’s when the contracts for band 2 went out. I remember thinking that was a tactical move, because some of the other Peers wanted and needed job security so felt pressured to sign. Myself and a couple of others refused to sign because deep down we knew we were being pacified. Something didn’t seem right at all. Again another Supervisor left so again our voices would be lost.
Not long after another supervisor was recruited and I was invited by email to come along to introductory meeting where our concerns would be discussed. To my dismay when I arrived I was taken to a side room by the New Supervisor and told I shouldn’t of come because I was on sick leave even though I was invited. Her abrupt tone left me feeling confused and upset. Peer support was inclusive, whether you were working or not we all supported each other. I wasn’t even offered my bus fare back or any sort of apology. The change happened overnight with a division between those who had jobs and those who didn’t. It seemed completely wrong that those people that had done the training but not taken up roles were excluded. This was not what we trained for or expected. It created a clear division and a lack of trust and support, which we were promised…….
Watch out for Part 3 in the series – subscribe to our blog!