‘Scared, nervous, depressed, with severe anxiety, lonely and lost.’
That’s how Arnie* would have described himself when he came to Yellow Ribbon. His whole world was a mess. He had been sleeping rough after being kicked out by his partner. He was anxious about going to live in Yellow Ribbon accommodation; he somehow expected a dormitory full of beds and was delighted with his bright, clean room. He couldn’t eat much when he first arrived because he felt so nervous. He was in trauma and had made a suicide attempt. Unlike most clients at Yellow Ribbon, Arnie had not been to prison, but felt the staff took a chance on him and could see potential in him for change.
In the first week another client walked Arnie back to his house after he attended a 12 Steps recovery session as he was feeling very nervous. That Sunday he went to church. Previously he would have said he was an atheist; he was ‘in the brambles’. But now it seemed that whenever people prayed for him, there were positive answers and soon he asked to be baptized. He is now on the welcome team for his church.
Arnie is currently on a three month mental health course and a counselling course. After these he plans to do a two year mental health course, hoping to help others with mental health issues. Arnie values the stability he has with Yellow Ribbon to work on his mental health before looking for employment again. He is also working on his physical health, going to the gym and losing three stones in recent months.
Arnie thought he had lost everything before coming to Yellow Ribbon, but now feels he’s never been happier. ‘Yellow Ribbon saved my life,’ he says, ‘Before I felt so broken and lost and now I’ve got so much going for me. If Yellow Ribbon hadn’t taken a chance on me, I don’t know what would have happened.’ Arnie lost both parents in recent years, but feels Yellow Ribbon is ‘like the family I never knew I had.’