Not many years ago, it was rare to find any worker not employed in a care role who felt confident in supporting people showing elements of unusual behaviour. A recent episode involving someone I know well has given me great hope.

The friend had planned a shopping trip, by train – her first independent outing after major illness. She made all the arrangements herself and got absolutely everything right, apart from one element: she inadvertently set off late in the evening, instead of in the morning. As she’d caught the last train of the day, this could have been a significant problem. 

The guard, however, realised something wasn’t right and chatted about where she was going; he then mentioned that it was late and all the shops would be closed – but it’s what he did next that was so special. He ensured that the lady had a charged phone, the number of a taxi firm and the means to pay for a taxi. Upon arrival, the only other passenger on the train accompanied her to the taxi rank, but by that stage the police had arrived, called by the guard. The police could see that the lady was absolutely fine and very clear on every other aspect of her arrangements, yet they not only drove her home, but also accompanied her into the house and asked for her healthcare notes, then rang the contact number on those to let them know what had happened. Unbeatable!

Whilst this was only a one-off situation, it shows so much combined insight and collaboration that I like to think of it as a sign that society is gradually becoming more attuned to the support many of its members sometimes need. Let’s all keep doing whatever we can to inform and educate!