Kai suffered from long-term serious mental health issues, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), stemming from childhood abuse. He faced homelessness following the breakdown of his relationship with his family. Kai moved into our 24-hour supported accommodation to give him stability and a secure home from which to begin his recovery. He continued to suffer from complex mental health issues, including suicidal ideation, sleep problems and night terrors.
With the help of our staff he began to get the extra support he needed. They realised he needed professional mental health care, and were able to refer Kai to a mental health recovery centre where he received intensive support for his PTSD, GAD and Borderline Personality Disorder. He was then matched with a volunteer mentor to help him work, who worked with him to discover his passions and gave him the confidence to start volunteering and get back into education. It was the first time Gary experienced having a stable, consistent adult in his life, helping him to work out what he wanted for his future.
Kai started volunteering at a council-run country park. The team really supported him there and understood his mental health issues. With the support of his mentor and the country park team he applied to do a Diploma Level 2 in Environmental Conservation at college… and got in! This is something Kai never thought he could achieve. He is now thriving, living in his own flat and working towards becoming a tree surgeon.
I was a homeless and a real mess before I came to the YMCA. I just didn’t want to be here anymore – everything felt hopeless. I felt worried all the time, couldn’t concentrate on anything – I hated school. I’d stress about going to bed as I was having terrible nightmares.
Looking back now I realise it wasn’t my fault – it all stemmed from the abuse that happened to me when I was a kid. But at the time I didn’t realise that – all I knew was that I needed to get away from home and what was happening.
The YMCA changed my life. The staff are amazing. Living here was like the first time I felt safe. I was still having terrible nightmares but the staff made me realise that it was normal because of what I’d experienced. They got me the help I needed for my stress and anxiety.
Thank you so much for your support. From where I was when I started the mentoring, to now, it’s unbelievable. I am still in shock that I got the diploma and now I know I am where I need to be. It’s going to be a long process but I would not have got to this point without my mentor. I will get there, it’s been so up and down but my mentor persevered and no one else ever did.”
Kai’s volunteer mentor worked with Kai for two years, he said:
“I am so proud that Kai persevered and the way he handled his mental health team was amazing. Together we have got to a point where he has the right support in place. Kai’s aim was to start his journey to heal his mental health so he can get a job and cope with everyday life. I am so pleased that now Kai is sleeping every night, walking his dog every day, attending his recovery centre three times a week and still volunteering.”
*Name and photo have been changed to protect the identity of the young person.
If you would like to support a young person like Gary why not sign up to our ROOM SPONSORSHIP scheme. For just 40p a day you could make a long-term difference to a young person needing support at this crucial time in their lives. You can put them on the path to a brighter future.