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. And this has enabled her to make the most of all the opportunities we offer at YMCA, like re-entering education and taking an English course, making new friends and pursuing her ambition to write poetry. It’s been so rewarding to see this brave girl rediscover her ambition and hope for the future.
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.’
*Sophie’s story is true, but we have changed her name and used a model to protect her identity.