Leah’s mental health struggle and growth.
“I started working with Young Gloucestershire as a young person at the age of 17. I accessed their mental health and support counselling and have been working with YG for over four years and what a journey that has been. I have struggled with my mental health, self-confidence and self-worth. At first, it was hard to open up about the struggles I was in. I was such a stubborn, moody person who didn’t see any point in life. It took some time for me to stop wanting to end my life and to see that I did have a future. I didn’t make it easy for my support workers but that didn’t stop them from helping me. To me, it felt like they were even more determined to help me.
“I got into the Prince’s Trust program which helped me to start socialising with other young people which built my confidence. I carried on accessing YG’s mental health support and counselling and after the Prince’s Trust, one of my support workers suggested I interview for a role on YG’s Peer Action Collective. The PAC is a national project that aims to reduce youth violence. YG has impacted my life so much. They have shown me that I can be who I want to be if I put my mind to it and that I do have the strength and ability to do things. I’ve learnt how to say no. My confidence has got so much better, I never would’ve been able to stand in front of people and speak before but I have done this a number of times now as part of my role with PAC, I have represented the charity and other young people at both local and national events.
“My ambition now is to become a mental health worker and start working towards qualifications to help me do this. I have changed so much from the 17 year old girl that started with YG, now I’m 21and I’m more smiley compared to if you’d known me 4 years ago. I have some bad days, but I can see myself smiling more and wanting to do more. I actually want to go further in life, not just sit there just thinking of it, I’m trying to act on it.”