Mental Health Recovery Unit


The team at Woodlands recognise that everyone’s journey is unique. We provide a recovery-based approach to support people with mental health problems to live meaningful and satisfying lives.

There is a strong emphasis on supporting individuals with a mental health disorder to achieve their own aspirations and goals. We act as a Recovery and Resettlement unit meaning that the support we provide doesn’t just stop at the door. We work to help tenants settle in to the community when they move on from Woodlands.

This approach enables people to achieve their own life goals supporting them to manage their own condition, gain employment, make friends and maintain safe and secure housing of their choice.

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Andy’s Story

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I would be dead by now without New Directions. Now, I am engaged to be married, about to move into supported accommodation (not 24-hour care like I have now) and most importantly I am now back in contact with my two amazing children again.

My story is familiar – mental health issues (‘catastrophic depression’ a health care professional said once) combined with alcohol dependency. However, unlike too many people in similar circumstances to mine, my story is still being written with the help of the team at Woodlands in Bootle. And I can’t wait to see how the story turns out!

In terms of time, my journey to Woodlands was relatively short but I seemed to have packed a lot of heartache, misery, loss and destruction into it.

In 2017 I had a great job, was on good money and living with my partner and our two young children, a boy and girl, in a three-bed house in Southport.

Then in a couple of months, I lost it all; I had to move out from my family, I lost my job and was living in limbo. This lasted until 2018 when my partner made the split very final, including no access to the kids.

I don’t know if I had issues with my mental health before then, or if my good life was masking symptoms, but depression came on with a vengeance.

So much so I was admitted to the Hesketh Centre mental health service five times – including once for more than year locked up in that place.

During all this, my mum died and I somehow got – and kept – a flat in Southport. It was outside this flat that my journey to Woodlands began.

Not sure what actually happened, but I guess I was beaten up outside the flat; I woke up in the emergency department.

It was while I was in A&E that my social worker rang Woodlands and basically said you either take him in an emergency respite order or he’ll be dead before Christmas.

And it really was just before Christmas when places should be winding down, but the Woodlands team immediately agreed to welcome me – black eyes, broken ribs, bruising and all.

Emergency respite turned into normal respite and then after about a month I became a tenant at Woodlands. And I have never looked back!

It’s coming up to Christmas again now, and I can look back on what Woodlands has done for me and what the team means to me.

From the most basic of things when I arrived, they helped me find clothes – not easy when my favourite colour is orange! – food and personal items; then they worked out what medications I was on and really (really) encouraged me to take them as I should.

They then helped me with my benefits, got me to work out – and pay – my debts and showed me how to manage my money going forward.

The team do regular reviews which give me a great insight into how I am doing and what I can improve – one of things we agreed that needed improving was my impulsiveness (buying those orange clothes…).

The team also encourages a real sense of community at Woodlands, and I have met so many friends as well as my future wife Maria, who is also here at Woodlands.

With their help, I have tried to make the community even better.

The team allows me to organise day trips for my friends and tenants of Woodlands, and we have been to Chester, Blackpool lots of times, New Brighton and Wales.

The other tenants wouldn’t be able to do these trips without me. I have become a mentor to the other tenants.

Which brings me to this Christmas, when I leave in the New Year I am still going to be a mentor at Woodlands because it means so much to me and I want others to have the same life-saving experience I had at Woodlands.

There are some rocks in the garden that need painting in the summer, and I will come back to do that. I will always come back to Woodlands.

Painting a few rocks is nothing compared to the amazing new chapters of my story that Woodlands gave me.

I haven’t had a drink in a year, my progress is so good that my ex-partner has allowed me to text and talk to my kids, and I am going to get married (not until August 2025, Maria wants a long engagement – but that is a story for another time).