Visiting YMCA DownsLink’s Youth Advice Centre (YAC) in Brighton was a good decision for Susie who had been sofa surfing after being asked to leave the family home.

At her first session the YAC worker encouraged her to talk about her situation. Susie* admitted she was having issues with drug and alcohol use.  She was also feeling depressed and struggling with money.  She was referred to the support and advice drop-in (also at YAC) for help in these areas.

At YAC’s afternoon drop-in Susie spent time with an advice worker deciding which areas she wanted to prioritise. She concluded the alcohol and drug dependency was the most pressing matter, so the worker explained what support is available and suggested ways to reduce the risks.

Alongside this they spoke about Susie’s feelings of depression. The YAC worker suggested ways in which she could keep safe, using various support networks.  Susie also learnt about other help on hand at the YAC drop-in.  She was encouraged to book an appointment with her GP to discuss her mental health.  The YAC worker also made an appointment for her at another drop-in where her drug and alcohol use could be assessed.

Working at Susie’s own pace and suggesting several options, the YAC worker was able to offer a positive way forward.  Susie left feeling confident that there was support when she needed it. Good connections were made with other specialist agencies that Susie would have struggled to access on her own.

Susie herself says, “The service at YAC is good. They have good links with other services in the city and my experience has been good.  They’ve really helped me.”

Susie has since gone on to live in supported accommodation and she is now looking to rent privately.

Read more about YAC here.

YAC also offers Housing Advice.

*Name and photo have been changed to protect the young person’s identity