Accommodation eases the strain

Zoey Bates, Dean Baylis and Jefferey Calimlim
Zoey Bates, Dean Baylis and Jefferey Calimlim

The struggle can be even more distressing for people living with a mental illness.

St Bartholomew’s Bentley Community Support Residential Unit provides accommodation for people with a mental illness who require two to four hours of support per day to live independently in the community.

Resident of four years, Zoey Bates (24), said the feeling of safety she had at the Bentley villa was important for her.

‘I had a pretty bad childhood,’ she said. ‘I grew up with junkies, had theft and I was worried about my safety.

‘I was in and out of hospital at 15. I was underweight and diagnosed with schizophrenia.’

Ms Bates said living in the villa took a lot pressure off her and helped her get on with life.

‘It’s great here, there are outings, group activities, there is always something going on,’ she said.

‘Living here has really helped my confidence.’

Jeffery Calimlim (37) said he was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 2005 and came to the villa two years ago.

‘I was recommended to come here from Bentley Hospital,’ he said.

‘I was living with people in Victoria Park and the police often came to our house and there was a lot of drinking going on.

‘Being here has really helped me.

‘Now I can save money and not have to worry about things like that.’

Dean Baylis (24) said his hospital visits had decreased and he had not had any major problems since moving into the unit.

‘It’s just a good, friendly environment to live in,’ he said.

‘The good thing is that they don’t tolerate drugs violence or drinking. You feel safe and comfortable.’

Manager of St Bart’s mental health support services Linda Borrison said the villa helped ease the burden of finding accommodation and provided a helpful support network for residents.

‘Perth is expensive, and our residents are usually on a limited income,’ she said. ‘Some of our residents are only here temporarily to help them get back on their feet, but others may live here permanently.’