Wednesday, 3 June 2015

No Picture, Just a Sad Story

A guy came into the hospital begging for a mental health assessment.  He was homeless, had no family or friends and had fled the last place that he'd lived because he was frightened.  He had nothing but the clothes that he stood up in, a space blanket in one of his pocket, a lighter and a few butt ends that he'd picked off the street. No money, no phone, nothing! Our lovely hospital receptionist didn't know what to do so she called upstairs to our office.  My colleagues and I didn't really need to get involved. After all we're a team for people over 65 and he was a youngster. It would have been easy to wash our hands because he was outside our remit. After all we are very, very busy.  But  what do you do when something like this happens?

Sod the proper procedures!   After spewing out his story he was knackered so I ran off to beg bedding from the ward upstairs so he could have a kip on the therapy bench.  Another person made a big mug of sweet tea.  Someone stayed with him until an ambulance took him to be assessed by the 'right' people.  He responded well to just that teeny bit of kindness. I wondered how much of that there'd been in his life.

We don't know what happened to him and probably never will. Let's hope he received the help that he was asking for.  I've never come across someone so needy and it's left me terribly shaken.  Of course it's also heightened my awareness of how blessed that I am.  So much richer in every way. But how many others are there out there like him, devoid of everything in this supposedly rich country of ours? I shudder to think.  And it got me thinking.  Do I brush the memory under the carpet or do I use this as the wake up call  that's telling me to focus away from myself and give a little more to those who are at most need?


  1. When I hear stories like this my first thoughts are that he MUST have family somewhere. A brother, sister, aunt or uncle; very few people have absolutely no-one. Let's hope that someone comes forward and gets him back on the right road.

    1. I come across people quite often who have no-one. There may be blood relatives with whom they've lost, or chosen to break contact. It's pretty common. We who are lucky don't realise.

  2. Oh, that poor man. I really hope he gets what he needs. He is so vulnerable.

  3. Families break down in the most awful ways and many who are already vulnerable fall between the gaps. If a young person is taking drugs they won't be able to stay at the YMCA. Many couch surf so don't show up in the official stats. I came across this all too often in my last job- youngsters of 16 staying in tents in the middle of winter. The Salvation Army are brilliant and in our area the local churches have come together and are running a night shelter. They've set up a charity and yes, I have put my name down to help in the Autumn when my time as secretary for my morris side comes to an end. Arilx

  4. LG you might find this programme interesting

  5. As a person who has been loved and cherished all of her life, I feel dreadfully sorry for that man. I hope he can heal.