Anyone can experience homelessness, addiction or poor mental health - just ask Jade, who as a mental health nurse, never thought her own life would spiral out of control. 

“You have to really hit rock-bottom to realise that things have to change,” says Jade of Finsbury Park. 

“For me it was when I found myself thinking about and using drugs as soon as I came out of a coma I had caused by attempting to take my own life.  

“My mental health had deteriorated to the point where I just couldn’t cope. Being a mental health nurse, I didn’t think that I was allowed to experience these things myself. I even justified living in my car and becoming homeless as it gave me a chance to escape the shame I felt.” 

Now two years into her recovery, Jade says a key element in her success was benefiting from support from a Peer Mentor - a person with lived experience of addiction who draws on their own experiences to help others through a similar journey. 

Now, Jade has become a Peer Mentor herself after volunteering with our Camden Recovery Service.

“When I saw the value of peer mentorship in my own recovery, I knew that I wanted to be one too,” she says. “Substance use can make you very lonely. It is important to see that things can get better. Talking to people who have been through the same thing makes you realise that you’re not the only one.” 

Last year 585 people were supported by SHP’s Peer Mentoring programmePeer Mentors play an important role across many of SHP’s services, from homeless hostels to community-based advice services. 

Jade said: “The support I have received from SHP has been great. There is extensive training and any time you need extra assistance, it’s there for you. When I look at the progress I have made over the past two years I am proud and excited to use my own experiences to help others. 

Jade Wye is looking forward to a better future this Christmas. 

“Two Christmases ago, although I was with my family, I can’t say that I was really present as I was consumed by my substance use,” she says. 

I spent last Christmas in rehab. This Christmas I am volunteering at a shelter for homeless women because I know what it’s like to feel alone and without support during the festive period.” 

Jade also co-hosts an award-winning podcast Hooked: The Unexpected Addicts with Melissa Rice, whom she met in rehab. The podcast aims to destigmatise substance use by talking about it an open and honest way. 

“I knew I was taking a risk when we decided to make the podcast. I had to make myself vulnerable and talk about experiences that would shock people I know. I wasn’t sure I was ready to do that. However, the response has been wonderful. 

“We have received so many responses from people struggling with substance use, people close to them and even healthcare professionals. Knowing that the podcast is giving people hope makes it all worthwhile.”