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MetiNews.Com - Hannah Green's book about trauma, homelessness, and the healing power of the sea was released today
Breaking News ! If in 2019 you had told Hannah Green that in little over a year she would be celebrating the release of her first book, she would have laughed. Back then she was homeless, moving from place to place and using drugs and alcohol to handle her situation. Today her book, My Journey Home: Overcoming Homelessness and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, was published. It tells the story of the Scarborough author's period of homelessness, and how she was able to escape it through the healing power of the sea. Hannah became homeless in 2018, aged just 21, as a result of severe PTSD stemming from a sexual assault university and sexual abuse as a child. For 403 days, she was among the 121,00 homeless young people in the UK, moving between hostels, sofas, a supported lodgings placement, and other forms of temporary accommodation. Hannah says that young homeless people in the UK are often overlooked by the media and the general public because they don’t fit the expected stereotype, and she hopes her book can shift these perceptions. She says: “People do think homelessness, you know, it’s middle aged men sleeping in the streets, and that happens, but there’s thousands and thousands of people staying on people’s sofas and hostels and temporary accommodation and other forms of really insecure accommodation and the public just don’t see that.” The way out for Hannah came from the least predictable of places. In April 2019 she began a surf therapy course, which helped her manage her PTSD and opened up new opportunities in her life. She says: “When I first started it the PTSD was really bad, you know flashbacks and nightmares and all that kind of thing. Hannah Green's book, My Journey Home: Overcoming Homelessness and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, was released today (Image: Infocus Photographic) “That’s not gone away, but as soon as I was in the sea there was this strange sense of clam that I hadn’t really experienced before, and all the stuff I was dealing with out of the sea just kind of stopped. “I guess the thing about surfing is you have to fully focus on what you are doing because if you take your mind off it for a second you could get stuck in a rift or you could collide with another surfer or end up on a reef, or whatever, so you have to be fully focused on what you are doing.” Through surf therapy Hannah was able to meet some “incredible people”, and while still living in temporary accommodation she began volunteering with the Wave Project, a surf therapy charity helping children in Scarborough. These experiences helped her get out into the world in a way she had not done in a long time, and gave her the confidence to volunteer more widely. Read More Related Articles The places in Yorkshire where dozens of homeless people tragically died last year Read More Related Articles North Yorkshire surfer reunited with beloved surfboard that travelled 400 miles from Runswick Bay to the Shetland Islands She says: “It improved my confidence and my self esteem and helped me meet new people, which before I started surfing I wasn’t doing, I was just... I wasn’t doing anything, basically, I was hardly even functioning.” While volunteering for the general election campaign of 2019 Hannah made more new friends, who helped her find a flat, secure a guarantor and move into a permanent home.
. Before the pandemic, Hannah had been using Scarborough Survivors, a mental health resource centre in the town, which had operated as a kind of drop-in centre. The charity’s resource centre was forced to close due to the coronavirus, and Hannah says that writing gave her a way to process her experiences. “Writing was my way of getting everything out of my head when I didn’t have anybody to speak to,” she says. To get the latest email updates from Yorkshire Live, click here. Today Hannah works as a journalist and a Lived Experiences Specialist at the Centre for Homelessness Impact, an independent organisation that works to bring about a sustainable end to homelessness. She says that homelessness services have a lot of work to do to improve, particularly in how they deal with people who have experienced trauma. She says: “A lot of people who experience homelessness have experienced trauma and especially for women and young women there needs to be more of a focus on single-sex accommodation and services that are trauma-informed. “If you’re not given any control in your situation or where you’re going to be staying or what’s happening to you it can be really triggering and it can trigger things relating to the trauma. “Obviously services are under pressure with money and everything else, but I think that’s something that should be taken into consideration far more than it is.” She adds that better funding for mental health services was crucial for preventing people from falling back into homelessness, and says that she knows a lot of people who have been turned away and told they are not entitled to services. “If you’re homeless, once you have accommodation all your problems aren’t automatically solved,” she says. Enter your postcode to see local issues near you
“Maybe for some people they’ve become homeless because they lost their job, but if you’ve become homeless through trauma or different things, once you then have accommodation, the origins reasons for the homelessness are still there, so people still have to be provided with the support to deal with that. “It’s not just a case of putting someone in a flat and kind of being done with it.” To the many thousands of young people who find themselves in the same situation as she did, she advises that they ask for help: “Find out what help is available, because for a long time I didn’t, I kind of buried my head in the sand. There are services people can access” She adds that keeping busy is crucial for maintaining good mental health when living in insecure accommodation, saying: “When I didn’t have anywhere to live my days were the same, they were really boring, I wasn’t doing anything with my days. “If you can try to keep yourself busy it just helps massively, whether it’s doing something like looking for work - for me it was surfing. “The point of the book is to show people things can get better and there is hope when you think there isn’t any.” If you have been affected by any of the issues mentioned in this article and wish to seek help regarding homelessness you can contact Centrepoint for free on 0808 800 0661 Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm.
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