We believe every young person should have someone they can trust and a safe place to stay, which is why our Housing Support Officers play such a key role in the lives of our residents. Patricia Lumeca has been a Housing Support Officer at YMCA South Ealing for the last two years and is the dedicated mental health officer. She has a caseload of 30 residents at the hostel, all of whom have been identified as having mental health issues. Patricia also supports her colleagues across West London so that they are able to care for residents at other accommodation sites.
Mental health workshops
“I deliver workshops for residents across the area to help them identify their own mental health issues, for example with depression and anxiety in social situations. I arrange external speakers to come in to talk about holistic therapies, and I also offer one to one sessions. I’m keen to empower residents, so that they know they can access help if they need it.”
The workshops for residents vary according to need, and at Northolt Grange for example, Patricia gave information about Post Partum depression for young single mums. For the I am Whole Day on Wednesday 10 October, Patricia is running two presentations: one around Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and another on Personality Disorder. “I’ll also be operating an open door policy for residents, to just come to me to chat about any issue that’s worrying them. I’m here to listen, and if necessary signpost them to specialist services. We have a number of unaccompanied minors here at South Ealing, and they need access to counselling through CAMHs. But sometimes, all people need is a friendly ear and feel like someone has listened to them.”
Patricia has some tips for maintaining good mental health. “I think it’s important to have a hobby, to have meaningful things to do, to set some goals. I also think that you need to be compassionate about yourself, don’t be too harsh.”