Having experienced homelessness for several years, Neil is currently staying in one of Peter McVerry Trust’s Supported Temporary Accommodation services in Dublin City Centre.
“I’ve been homeless for five years – four and a half I was in hostels, the other half was sleeping rough. I was asked would I like to come over here, and I said “yeah”, because it was a new service, so I agreed to come over,” said Neil.
“The staff are brilliant. Honestly, they give 120%. I’m really, really impressed with the McVerry staff, even the McVerry relief staff. Very pleasant… really good people. They’re good these places, they really are,” he continued.
As outlined below, Neil uses his experiences with mental health to create a safe space where people can talk about their own mental health and progress through any challenges they may face.
“I focus on basically trying keep myself busy all week because I suffer from mental health problems, I have paranoid schizophrenia, and I have depression and anxiety.
“I would’ve had this for years, so now I work within that field. It’s about getting people with mental health issues in the area back into forums, to have a talk and say what’s going wrong rather than saying “I’m not going in” and isolating themselves,” he said.
“So we’d encourage non-isolation – come in and say what you need to say. Even if they just want to come out and blast out what’s wrong with them and run. I don’t care, just once they come,” he added.
“I was in Trinity College, I went through Access and ended up studying philosophy, theology, world religions and humanities, so I try and bring those philosophy to the courses that I do or the workshops that I run. I try and bring that ethos of Socrates’, “keep asking questions until you find the truth”,” he concluded.