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A Waterloo man who overcame bullying and substance misuse to thrive as an artist is sharing the story of his journey as part of Mental Health Awareness Week.

Stephen with his art

Stephen Moran is a resident of Sanctuary Supported Living’s (SSL) Church Road supported housing service in Liverpool, which provides accommodation for people with mental health needs.

The 45-year-old has chosen to talk about his experience as part of Mental Health Awareness Week, which runs from 8 to 14 May, and this year carries the theme of ‘Surviving vs Thriving’.

Prior to his referral to Church Road, Stephen had lived in 11 different places over a two-year period and a number of different foster homes as a child.

In some later accommodation, he’d experienced bullying and, by the time he first moved to Church Road seven years ago, he was in the grip of substance misuse and was overdosing on paracetamol.

Since arriving at the SSL service, however, Stephen has been able to draw up a personalised support plan, tailored to his individual needs and has received support to take the steps needed to turn his life around.

With support from SSL, he has since made friends, attended house meetings and organised holidays for himself and his girlfriend.

Over the past year, staff have supported Stephen to pursue his lifelong ambition to become an artist by researching a suitable art group in Southport and joined him for his first session.

After one year of attending the art group, Stephen has had his art – a mixture of portrait and landscape works – displayed twice at the group’s workshop and has made firm friends with a fellow artist neighbour, who’s been able to share his advice.

Stephen said: “When I first arrived at Church Road, I was in a very different state of mind to that of today.

Staff were great at getting me the help I needed, but it’s all the extra things like helping me to chase my dream of taking up art that have helped me to thrive. I’m happy, confident and secure here – my life’s been transformed in the last seven years.

Stephen Moran, Resident

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