Mike started his journey with Oxleas back in 2011, when he was admitted into the Bracton Centre having spent 9 weeks in Belmarsh.

“My mental health started to suffer from the age of 16. I encountered many of life’s milestones – finishing school, getting a good job, getting married and having a family.  Throughout that time certain triggers affected my life and I spent 9 weeks in Belmarsh. I was then admitted into the Bracton Centre in 2011 and my road to recovery began.

“I learnt about my mental health condition and with the help of staff - occupational therapists (OT), psychiatrists, ward staff and nurses, I was able to understand and identify my triggers, how important it was to take my medication and develop a routine that suited me.

“The Bracton helped me not only recover but assisted in getting my life in order. Whilst I was here I wanted to make the most of what was available and achieve through these channels. I worked hard in the Bracton and attended activities like ICT, cooking and working the front desk at our café (Henri's). Slowly I felt things were turning around and I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. My hard work and dedication towards my recovery was recognised by staff, and I was granted escorted leave, which then progressed to unescorted leave. The most encouraging part of my journey has been the help and support by staff and also my family. My wife was welcomed and encouraged to visit me often. She was also supported and that made a lot of difference. It’s difficult to be away from your family, especially with a young son, knowing that they were able to visit me only made me more determined.

“I continued to do well, and staff moved to a low secure unit called Birchwood within the Bracton in March 2012 and then into the Farmhouse October 2012. The Farmhouse has 4 self-contained rooms, which enabled me to have more independence and responsibilities in looking after my health. I was then able to move to a hostel and live in a self-contained bed sit.”

At the Bracton Centre, Michael was encouraged to learn and understand his mental health condition, as well as identifying his triggers. 

Staff noticed Michael’s hard work and he became the chair of the Bracton’s User Forum for a year, helping and listening to other patients' concerns and needs. Later, Michael was successful in becoming a Patient Reviewer for the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

Discharged from the Bracton Centre in August 2014, Michael leads a content life back in the community with his family.