Tara's Story

Tara* was convicted for assault carried out in the context of domestic abuse and was sentenced to 6 months in prison. She has a diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder and issues with alcohol misuse.

Tara was referred to our specialist Mental Health Through the Gate Service 12 weeks prior to release.  In the weeks prior to release we worked with Tara to make plans for her first few weeks and months in the community, including identifying past triggers around debt, money management and alcohol misuse. In addition we supported her in planning where she would access mental health services in her local area.

On the day she was released we met Tara at the gate and spent the day with her re- applying for benefits, making appointments with the GP and making contact with family members.

In the weeks that followed we visited Tara regularly, taking time to explore all the issues that were coming up for her. We supported Tara to access specialist support in relation to her outstanding debts by referring her to CAB and maintaining contact with her debt caseworker to ensure that Tara was comfortable with the process and understood what was required of her.

As well as practical support we also spent time with Tara exploring her feelings of anxiety and distress at her experiences in prison and her fears for the future, in order that she could feel listened to and less isolated.

Since her release Tara has consistently maintained contact by telephone, we will continue to visit here for the 4 months if she would like that. The support we have provided during this time has made her release from prison a much less traumatic experience than she had felt in the past. In fact her feedback to her worker was:

“I would have been lost without your support. I don’t think I would have coped and would most likely have started drinking again and done something silly”.

*Names have been changed