Understanding Mental Health


Case study drug and alcohol.

Peter is a 26 year old man from Kenya who left due to persecution and civil war. He moved to London with no family, Peter was married with four children. His 2 children and wife were murdered by militia and he left his 2 of his children with his mother who moved to Tanzania. Peter was very isolated and had no family or friends in the country. He was also grieving for his wife and children. Peter was housed in supported hostel with key workers and support workers. The hostel housed men and women ages 18-65 who had complex needs ranging from substance misuse, mental health and ex offenders. Peter started to use alcohol because it helped him relax and block out the trauma from the past. It also provided him with a way of engaging with others who drank alcohol and lived in the hostel.

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Peter felt while he was drinking he was happy. He started to use cannabis and crack; this was readily available within the group he was engaging with. He started to use crack more often and friends gave him some for free. He stared to use crack every day and was then asked to start supplying it so he would continue to get some for free. Peter stared to feel very anxious and irritable; he stayed up for most of the night using. In the day he found it difficult to sleep because of withdrawal and the preoccupation with getting more. Peter stared to feel very paranoid and aggressive; he fell out with the original group he was hanging out with. At this point Peter was heavily indebted to the dealers and was forced to supply even though he didn’t want to, but the pull of free crack was too much to resist. Peter started to experiences flash back of the war and violence in Kenya; he would wake up in cold sweats, tearful and scared. He also started to hear voices and felt that people were talking about him and trying to get at him. It was at this point that Peter realised he needed help he spoke to his key worker who said he should consider residential rehabilitation and a referral into mental health services.

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