“He told me that it was the only place that he felt that he could turn to when he was in such a desperate state. I know he feels very grateful to you and the team of volunteers who have given him their support.” Mother of a Soteria Housemate.
After many years of development, Soteria Bradford has successfully gone on to support five people and their families who are experiencing a crisis. This far surpasses our original aim of supporting one person, over a year, with our self-raised funds of £25,000.
There is nothing new or complicated about what we do, nor is there a convoluted psychological theory that underpins its ethos. It’s simple really: we provide a home consisting of safety, comfort and warmth, and a community of acceptance and belonging for those suffering distress.
As we are volunteer led, we don’t have the time or patience to try get our heads around labels such as schizophrenia. Instead we put it to better use by ‘being with’ the housemate within our community. And its ‘being with’ that is key to all that we do. It involves sharing a space which encourages freedom of expression, connection and acceptance.
It is through creating an environment of exploration that we hope people can feel comfortable to process unusual experiences and, with support from the Soteria community, make steps to “just get on with life”. With no pressure, criticism or judgement, housemates are demonstrating that people have the inner resource, no matter the difficulties, to take ownership over the direction of their life:
“It was the normality of being in the house that took away my psychosis. It was the mindful companionship (‘being with’) that set me on the road to recovery. The most productive part of being in the house was that they didn’t focus their attention on me. Their normal living provided a distraction for me. I became an observer of them and that took me away from my own preoccupation with what was going on inside my head.
“Regular contact brought back my socialisation. This was really important for me. My family have begun to speak with me again and what Soteria did for me was normalise this – that speaking with people who have this experience is OK. Soteria showed other people it was OK to speak to me. They spoke to me and showed the greater community it was OK to do that.
“Soteria Bradford doesn’t look at the illness. They don’t judge so you can’t stay in that world. For me this was very powerful. Since leaving the house the continued contact has been so important. It’s now passing over from mindful companionship to being part of the community.
“When I became ill and reached crisis I only had limited options with what I could do. . . The NHS and the medication route or religion which I regard as dangerous for a suggestible mind. Soteria Bradford provided me with a third option. Without the support and care of this dedicated team I don’t believe I’d be here writing this now.”
Only thanks to the generosity of many has providing this community to those most in need been possible. Please help us to continue this support; your donations could really help someone and their families get their lives back on track. Because we take pride in our ethos, we rely on donations to keep our independence and integrity.
If you’re interested in supporting us, please visit us HERE.