New Routes Mentoring has supported over 4,000 customers across Scotland in 7 years through a national partnership. Here, Sacro, our delivery partner in Edinburgh and the Lothians, shares the story of Eric* and how a mentor relationship helped him to come to terms with childhood trauma and is now looking forward to working in his family business.
Eric joined New Routes Mentoring while serving a sentence in HMP Glenochil. Eric was a first-time offender who found himself in prison for dealing drugs. With personal trauma weighing heavy on his shoulders, his mentor, Laura, worked with him to build trust and to understand how his experiences affected him.
Eric’s background is dotted with trauma. His mother had left under traumatic circumstances when he was a child. A year before, he found his older brother dead, after suffering a fatal heart attack. He then witnessed a suicide while on holiday, after which Eric was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Our mentors across the New Routes partnership are experts at building relationships with customers. Through regular contact and support Laura learned how his trauma had affected him, including being childlike and relying on his sister to support him in everyday situations, like getting ready for appointments. Routine jobs like organising his clothes, were stressful which dented his self-esteem. As the mentor relationship developed, he shared that he was unable to go out unless he knew exactly where he was going, how he was getting there and what time he would be back. If things changed, he felt unable to cope.
Eric would drink alcohol and take cocaine in order to manage and avoid these feelings.
A key part of the mentor’s role is to act as the superglue that sticks customers to the services they need. Laura referred Eric to the Job Centre and to New Routes Mentoring partner, SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health), for specialist mental health support to help him deal with his trauma. Walking alongside Eric, Laura provided advocacy support and a much needed confidence boost by accompanying him to appointments.
Through working with SAMH, Eric began to talk more openly about his experiences and, with specialist mental health and mentor support, he was able to view things from another point of view and begin to understand how his behaviours affected those around him.
The emotional and practical support from his mentor, combined with specialist support, helped him come to terms with his past, regulate his emotions better, make positive choices and build on his family relationships.
He said “New Routes Mentoring supported me with my mental health issues, self-esteem, the ability to make my own decisions and made me feel as if I could spread my wings”.
Eric is now receiving Universal Credit and Personal Independence Payments and hopes to join his Mum in the family business.