Sitting alone at her living room table, this was it.
Struggling after losing her husband Mike to a brain tumour, battling depression and with debts mounting up, Barbara took a handful of pills and closed her eyes.
The night is still fresh in her memory - she remembers her son’s desperate cries as he told her didn’t want lose his mum.
Six months later and Barbara is still here, still recovering and still fighting – thanks to the help of Diane Bond and our support and wellbeing team.
“I regret taking the pills but at that point I thought it was the only way out,” Barbara said
“Everything just got on top of me. Mike was my world – we had been through thick and thin together and now he was gone.
“When Mike was here we were on top of everything – especially our bills and rent. But things began to mount up – there was the funeral and cemetery costs. The debts ran into thousands and I just couldn’t afford it. My son had to give up his job to help care for his dad so we no money coming in.
“It got so bad that we had the bailiffs knocking on our door at 6.15am in the morning. I told them I had no money whatsoever – we had to sell pretty much everything.”
Worried about losing the roof over her head, Barbara got in touch with her income officer Ben for help.
“Ben was brilliant,” Barbara said.
“He told me not to worry and helped me get on top of things financially. He helped me apply for a Debt Relief Order which stopped the bailiffs knocking on the door.”
Following her overdose, Ben also put Barbara in touch with Diane for further support.
Diane was no stranger to Barbara and her family – she had previously helped them after they were affected by the bedroom tax. Diane also referred Barbara’s son to our Employment Horizons team – who helped him towards securing employment.
Diane said: “Barbara had hit rock bottom. She had asked people for help but there is a real lack of mental health support out there for people like Barbara who are grieving.
“We applied for a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) which cleared Barbara’s rent arrears.
“She needed help now – not 6 or 12 months down the line. We had managed to get Barbara’s finances in order but she needed further support.”
Diane added: “We had a chat with someone at the Salvation Army – she told us she provides a counselling service and that Barbara could go along for support. It has made a massive difference - Barbara now has someone who she can talk to and get things off her chest.”
Diane calls in on a weekly basis to check up on Barbara and also takes her to her counselling session. Diane has also helped Barbara get a new TV, as well as furniture for her property.
Barbara admits that she still struggles, but is determined to now focus on getting better.
She said: “Diane has been fantastic – I don’t know what I would do without her. I know she is always here if I need anything.
“I’m happier now – on top of my finances and paying my rent. It means I can focus on getting better. I need to be for the sake of my family.”
If you are struggling and need our help, get in touch by calling 0300 303 9848 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org