A tale of kindness

Helen, a staff member at St Mungo’s, has recently published a children’s book called Elvis.

Elvis challenging damaging stereotypes

Helen draws on her ten years’ experience in the homelessness sector to challenge damaging stereotypes.

“In the past I have worked with people sleeping rough and people at risk of homelessness after leaving prison.

Now I work for St Mungo’s as a Move On worker on a mental health ward. I work with hospital staff to create a plan for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness after they are discharged.

I have often been upset by the way the people I support are judged. Many people who have been admitted to hospital face losing their tenancy because of their actions whilst they were very unwell.

Some people use drugs and alcohol as a coping mechanism. It’s a real challenge to make people understand the difference between anti-social behaviour and poor mental health. They are too quick to assume the worst of homeless people.

I have often been upset by the way the people I support are judged.

Elvis challenging damaging stereotypes

So when my four year old son started asking questions about people he saw sleeping rough, I wanted to help him understand homelessness so that he wouldn’t grow up to make the same judgements.

One day I was at home and it was pouring with rain outside. All of a sudden, I had an idea for a children’s story about an elephant called Elvis.

Elvis becomes homeless after he loses his job as a mechanic, but the support he receives helps him to recover. I wrote a book draft and saved it to my laptop.

I didn’t expect it to go any further than story time with my son. But I just couldn’t get that elephant out of my mind! I felt like it was a story that needed to be told.

Above all, I hope I have shown children that compassion and kindness are important and that there is always hope, even in the toughest situations.”

Profits from Elvis will be split between St Mungo’s and another homelessness organisation. We are so proud of Helen’s achievement and her commitment to dispelling myths around homelessness.

If you’d like to support Helen and St Mungo’s, you can buy a copy of the book at www.helenbrian.co.uk