With a colleague I’m going to the station to meet Mr. F. one of our patients.

We find him at the appointed place, chat a bit and discover gradually that he’s not at his usual best. The year 2022 was hard on him. His brother died and he lost his home. But we found a solution for him, and he has again a roof over his head.

We try to find out how best to help him feeling better.

He replies that there is really no miracle cure and that there is nothing we can do except being available and paying him regular visits. He thinks he must find out himself what’s wrong and how to cope with it. Hit rock bottom and then climb up again. It’s then that he’ll really need us.

After this meeting, I’m happy to note that he obviously enjoyed our presence. At the same time, I feel frustrated that he didn’t ask for any specific help. But, on second thought, shouldn’t we have read behind his words the request “give me time to handle this at my own rhythm”?

That morning reminded me of the importance to respect everybody’s personal rhythm in the healing process. It’s essential to give Mr. F. the necessary time, without undue haste, to overcome his difficulties.

By paying attention to his needs and offering him a caring environment, we can contribute significantly to his healing process, even when that is not immediately visible. I’m convinced that Mr. F. will, with our help, but especially through his own determination, get back on track again.

• T., social worker in the Housing First department


(*) We do our utmost to respect the privacy of our patients and our professional secrecy. However, we want to testify to how they must survive and how we are working together to reintegrate them. As a result, the names of places and people are deliberately omitted or changed and real-life situations are placed in a different context. There is no direct link between the photos and the stories above.