Mental health

Cooking & sharing food inspires recovery at Equinox Brent

22nd February 2015

Gerdy Grafendorf, Equinox Brent service manager: “Equinox Brent is a service for people who have previously been in long term residential care or hospital due to mental ill health. Over a 2 year period, we work with our service users to help them move on to lesser supported accommodation or complete independence. “Over the last year, […]

Equinox Nine Lives, David’s story:

Equinox Brent logo“My name is David and I am 45 years old.  I like music. I love listening to music. I’m learning to play guitar. I like to draw as well. I like to draw abstracts.

“If my mind and mental health was a colour? Brown, as in going round and round and round, cycle of life, no matter how it try to escape it, it’s there you know.

“A sky, a sun in the middle of the sky. There’d be like, natural formed columns, like mountain columns, side by side, and a bridge connecting them. It’s something that seems impossible to understand and overcome but there’s a path and assistance to getting across.

“I remember the voices said, ‘don’t tell anyone or they’ll lock you up in a psychiatric unit.’ That’s what they said. I actually told my family that I was hearing voices but that sort of went over their head.

“If I’m aware that I’m hallucinating about something or my mind is going in one direction it shouldn’t be going in, then I can stay on top of it, you know. It’s finding somewhere quiet, where I can be alone, to gather my thoughts. The first thing to confront in overcoming your mental health is accepting it.”

  • Find out more about Equinox Nine Lives, an audiovisual project celebrating the distinct voices and experiences of people who have experienced mental ill health and recovery

Equinox Brent:

  • Equinox Brent is a service for people who have experienced mental ill health and have previously been in high supported accommodation or hospital. At Equinox Brent, we help people over a 2 year period to prepare for moving on to lesser supported accommodation or complete independence.
  • Read about how Equinox Brent supported people to move on to greater independence in 2014.

More stories from Equinox Brent:

Equinox Brighton logo

Harvey Webb, Equinox Brighton housing support worker:

“I’m Harvey Webb. I’m a housing support worker for Equinox Care, running the Stanley Road project in Brighton. It’s a 5 bed house for men with a history of homelessness and alcohol misuse. They stay here for 2 years and I help them to stabilise their alcohol use and then work to move on to independent living.

“We had a good outcome last year where one of my residents found a little studio flat in Hove in the private rented sector, which is very difficult in Brighton due to nobody wanting to take people on Housing Benefit. But I’ve made a few contacts in that area. He’s very happy – of course I give some aftercare – he’s very happy and settled there near his family.

“The rest of the residents are all in voluntary work, as well. They are positively contributing, which means they get a positive contribution status on Brighton’s home move scheme and then they can start to bid on affordable housing in the city. I help them tactically bid, so that the process is quicker than if they were doing it on their own.

“I’ve got 2 clients who are now working at the Woodstore, voluntary work. I’ve got another one who is working for the Brighton Food Partnership, up on the allotment up in Whitehawk. They all love it. I’ve got a fourth who is volunteering in the PDSA charity shop.

“One of the clients who’s actually gained positive contribution (he’s been bidding on properties for six months) recently viewed his first property in Hangleton. He’s nearing the top of the list, so he should be moving on pretty soon, which goes to show that it does work. It always motivates people in the house if somebody gets housed – so they think, ‘yeah this works, I can get myself a flat, I can get myself somewhere to live.’ Everybody now is working towards that end.

“We’ve been trying to create a culture of motivation, where people can see a way out of the cycle of homelessness and alcohol misuse. I’m very happy with what’s been happening over the last year.”

 Read more Equinox Brighton supported housing stories:


“I call it the invisible poke. Harvey motivates me without pressure”

21st February 2015

Wayne, Equinox Brighton: “I came to Equinox Brighton in June 2013. My marriage had broken up and where I was living in emergency housing, there were loads of people using drugs. I ended up sleeping in the park because I couldn’t take where I was living. “The rough sleepers team found me sleeping out and […]