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Carla Thompson

Health and wellbeing

A Sanctuary Housing resident from Torbay who has suffered debilitating mental health issues credits social housing with helping to turn her life around.

Carla Thompson, who is now training to become a counsellor, went through a devastating family event in 2013 which left her unable to return to work.

She explained: “My seven-month-old baby girl died in February that year, leaving me heartbroken. I was eventually diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).”

Carla’s PTSD meant she couldn’t keep up with the payments on her flat, so she turned to social housing in desperation to provide a home for herself and her son, moving into her Sanctuary Housing property later that year.

She struggled to leave her house, suffering from anxiety and claustrophobia. After forcing herself to get and about, she started to attend a local women’s circle, run by community organisation Imagine and funded by Sanctuary Housing’s community investment fund.

Carla said: “That was the turning point for me. I got a little bit of confidence back and could progress at my own pace. I did some volunteering too, which really helped me to build myself back up.”

Today, Carla’s strength shines through. She has successfully completed a course that will lead towards her becoming a counsellor and is actively searching for meaningful employment.

She said: “For me, social housing provided essential support in some of my darkest times. After losing Isla, it was more important than ever to have a stable home for myself and my older son, and Sanctuary gave us that.

“It’s also through the women’s circle, which is funded by Sanctuary, that I’ve been able to find myself again and am moving forward with my life.

“I’ve been lucky enough to have had another little girl, who’s now a happy and healthy one-year-old. I would love to eventually become a counsellor and help to shape services for other residents who have been through tough times.”