Amber Howard-Jones, YMCA Exeter
Amber has lived at YMCA Exeter for the past two years. During this time, we have witnessed her work exceptionally hard to overcome her drug addiction, so that she can fully engage with mental health services and beat her personality disorder.
Amber’s background is extremely broken, and she experienced many different kinds of abuse as a child. Before coming to the YMCA, Amber even spent time rough sleeping because it was safer than her living at home. She knew she needed mental health support, but she also knew she needed someone to champion her to accept it, and that’s why she decided to come to YMCA. In the first few months Amber was nearly evicted several times, for anti-social behaviour but as she kept demonstrating determination to make changes to the life we kept offering her the support she needed.
Amber has now been drug-free for 18 months and is engaging really well with mental health services, self-harming less and reacting well to challenging situations with the adequate level of emotion.
Day to day Amber uses her love for art, not only as positive coping mechanism for mental health, but also to create mental health awareness posters around the residential centre, as she really wants to help other residents to have a more positive life experience. She also recently took part in our anti-loneliness project, helping other residents to overcome loneliness by creating a team to refurbish our communal kitchen.
Amber is still beginning her journey of recovery but is making such long strides, that we want to celebrate her exceptional achievement.