Story 5 - Blog

David's Story

David is the Contract Manager at Look Ahead’s Tower Hamlets Crisis House, a short stay service offering people an alternative to extended hospital admissions.

I’ve worked in social care for around thirty years now, and I’ve spent more than ten of those at Look Ahead since I joined in 2010. I ran several other mental health services too, before becoming the Contract Manager at Tower Hamlets Crisis House.

The service is very collaborative. We work in tandem with Tower Hamlets’ Home Treatment Team, the East London NHS Foundation Trust (ELFT) and other partners. Together, we support customers as they prepare to go home from hospital or move forward into lower acuity supported housing. We can also be an alternative to hospital admission altogether. Our five Step-Down beds target hospital patients who are clinically ready for discharge from the psychiatric wards, but not quite ready to go home yet. Instead of the hospital, they get a homely place to stay with recreational facilities, while continuing to engage with the trust’s Home Treatment Team and psychiatrists.

Our customers come from all walks of life and a variety of diagnoses and experiences.

Our partnerships mean we learn to understand someone’s life from every angle. It’s not just about treating symptoms; we build trust, learn what someone’s triggers and underlying issues are, and then support them to address these so that they’re better able to cope when they move on. Engagement is key and once a trusting relationship is established customers may disclose difficult issues and causes that they have never shared with anyone before.

The results speak for themselves, and it’s rare that people disengage or leave the service prematurely. It’s amazing how even a few weeks with us can impact a customer for the better.

Since starting at Crisis House, I’ve also gotten more active in Look Ahead’s staff LGBTQ+ Network. It means a lot to me as I initially joined up with a Crisis House colleague who was transitioning at the time but didn’t have a support network in place – it’s important to be there for your team as well as your customers. Now we both meet regularly with other colleagues from across the organisation, to discuss issues, support one another, and work on strategies to make sure Look Ahead stays ahead of the curve as an inclusive employer.

When you work at Look Ahead, there’s always a way to make a difference.