Richard has a diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder – this is his mental health journey at Whalley Road

Richard has a diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder – this is his mental health journey at Whalley Road

Richard smiling at the camera.

Richard* is a 56-year-old man who has a diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder. His initial contact with mental health services was in 1991, following a psychotic episode, whereby he was detained under the Mental Health Act.

Deterioration in his mental health occurred in 2015 where he was admitted to hospital. Richard had been found by his Stepfather and it was questioned if he had taken an overdose. Richard was then found to have fluid on the brain. His presentation at this time was characterised by low mood, irritability, disorganised behaviour, and lack of insight. It was hypothesised that he was experiencing a depressive phase of his Bipolar Disorder.

Upon discharge from the hospital in July 2017, Richard was transferred to a rehabilitation unit. He remained under the legal framework of the Mental Health Act.

In 2021, he was moved to a residential rehabilitation service. However, Richard struggled to engage with treatment.

In June 2022 he went to A&E after falling and hitting his head on the floor. It was then discovered that Richard had suffered a bleed on his brain. He was intubated and required a period of treatment on a ventilator for pneumonia. Richard spent around another year on a ward in Blackburn Hospital before arriving at Whalley Road.

When he arrived at Whalley Road his behaviour appeared erratic but a month later staff began to see a significant positive change in his behaviour. Richard has been polite and friendly throughout his time at Whalley Road and is always helpful to staff around the house. He spends his time singing and dancing around the service and always has a smile on his face. There have been small dips in his mental health, and he rarely experiences depressive phases of his Bipolar. Richard is always respectful when smoking and uses the smoking areas. This is a huge improvement to his previous placements where it was reported that Richard would not always use the designated smoking areas.  

At first his personal and oral care were not being carried out and he was self-neglecting. Staff have since supported him, and he now carries out good personal hygiene. He showers independently with minimal to no prompts, cleans his room when prompted, carries out daily jobs, and is very helpful with staff around the service.

Before Whalley Road, one thing that Richard was missing out on was seeing his mother who is a resident of a care home in Blackburn, diagnosed with dementia. He had not been able to see his mother for months whilst in the hospital. Staff at Whalley Road now take Richard to see his mother each week and he contacts her regularly via phone call. Richard looks forward to this every week.

Richard has built positive therapeutic relationships with the staff at Whalley Road and often wants their support; this makes him feel safe.

A Support Worker at Whalley Road said:

“Richard has made such good progress. He’s an absolute star and brightens up everyone’s day.”

In the few instances where Richard has acted negatively towards staff, he has taken responsibility for his actions and often apologises. Richard is a very respectful and polite gentleman at Whalley Road, who is well liked by both staff and other residents. He has made many positive relationships with individuals from the service and local area.

Richard is very much looking forward to a 4-day holiday to St Annes with the staff and his peers at Whalley Road. He has not been on holiday in many years and is excited to bond with other residents.

Richard is enthusiastic with getting involved with activities put on by Whalley Road. He enjoys doing creative groups such as weekly arts and crafts group where he shows off his drawing and baking skills.

He also likes to attend the snooker group that is hosted weekly by local charity Red Rose Recovery. Richard is prompted by staff to join more groups such as boxing, dance and bingo, but sometimes he prefers to spend time independently.

Richard is passionate about football, and he supports Blackburn Rovers. Staff will soon be supporting him to go to BRFC matches which is something Richard has been wanting to do for a while and is really excited about.

*Name has been changed to protect his identity