Mental Health Champions

Our mental health and body image projects and campaigns

Donate to our mental health crisis appeal

The number of young people struggling with mental health difficulties has more than doubled in recent years, which means providing adequate support is a growing concern for YMCA.

Please donate today and help ensure that someone like Sophie gets the specialist emotional and psychological support they need from YMCA?

  £25 could help pay towards an hour’s session with a key worker

  £50 could help pay for an hour’s support with a trained counsellor to help a young person with mental health difficulties.

Mental Health Crisis Appeal

Sophie’s story

When Sophie first arrived at YMCA, she was 18 years old and clearly distressed. Her mental health problems had forced her to leave her family home and, when the council-run accommodation where she was staying was sold, she had nowhere to call home, no stability in her life, and nobody to turn to.

Thankfully Sophie found a safe place to stay at YMCA, where we offered her support and a keyworker, Marcia. Through regular meetings, Sophie has gradually been able to open up about the mental health difficulties she has struggled with since childhood.

By the age of 14, she had begun self-harming; cutting herself because she believed that she was worthless. Feeling that she was different and ‘not normal’ led Sophie to miss a lot of school and by age 18 her life was spiralling out of control. She suffered with anxiety, depression and mood imbalances, which were only made worse by her dad leaving and an insecure, tense home-life.

When her anger and depression eventually forced her to leave home, she was placed in shared housing, amongst people of all ages who would come and go. She was fragile, vulnerable and alone. With no support and no one to turn to, Sophie’s mental health continued to deteriorate.

“It was horrendous”, Sophie said, “I became closed off. I didn’t ever leave my room. I was a mess.”

Since arriving at YMCA, Sophie is finally learning to manage her complex mental health difficulties. YMCA provides a safe supportive place for her to stay, and finally, somewhere that she can call home where she can get the expert help that she needs. She has been able to make the most of all the opportunities that we offer at YMCA, like re-entering education and taking an English course, making new friends, and pursuing her ambition to write poetry.

It has been so rewarding to see this brave girl rediscover her hope for the future. But there are so many other young people like Sophie who need our support, and that is why we have launched our Mental Health Crisis Appeal.

By supporting this vital work you could cover the cost of a specialist counselling session with an expert at a YMCA, which is just as vital as providing accommodation and practical support to enable a young person to get their life back on track.

In Sophie’s own words, “the support I’ve found at YMCA has given me a sense of confidence that I’ve never had before.”

Please send a gift today to offer another young person like Sophie the supportive environment where they can begin to address their mental health difficulties, increase their sense of self-worth and move on to a brighter, healthier future.

*Sophie’s story is true, but we have changed her name and used a model to protect her identity.

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