John Mawman from Stoke was interviewed by staff at ASIST. he speaks strongly about the importance of support for friendship:
‘What is the point of supporting people to get in touch with their friends when they leave a day service, say just for 6 months, when that person may need to have support to keep in touch forever?
If you lose their telephone number you may need more help but if your support has gone then you are on your own… It is like when ————— left. I don’t see her now unless I bump into her and her sister in town. I knew her at the day service for a long time and I know her house is number six and that she lives near the pub but that’s about it.
Staff need to understand that people need friends just as much as they need food and they need support to keep these friends just like they need support to eat. Food makes your body healthy and friends make your brain healthy.
Friendships cant just happen they need a lot of hard work done by staff and carers. If staff disappear you are snookered unless all the other staff know the whole picture. Many times I have found out a friend from the day service has died and no one told me or they didn’t know and I have to find it all out myself.
I have to reply on staff a lot, this can make me feel like I am dangling on a string.