“Having no previous experience of accessing support, contacting YMCA DownsLink Group’s Youth Advice service has been one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life… I felt welcomed from the get-go and quickly felt comfortable talking to my worker. I always feel listened to and feel that she’s investing her full attention in my sessions; being told my feelings are valid is so relieving and encouraging.”
Nathan (18) had been struggling with his family relationships and mental health for several years, especially so after coming out to his family at the age of 15. Nathan found the confidence to reach out to YMCA DownsLink Group, Youth Advice Service after speaking to his friend who had previously had a positive experience with the service.
Nathan explained that his parents were not accepting his identity as a gay man. Nathan explained that he wanted independence, boundaries, freedom & privacy with his parents, but did not feel that he was getting this from them. Nathan felt undermined and unsupported by his parents, particularly since he had come out to them. Nathan explained that his relationship with his older sister was quite tense and that they weren’t really talking despite living in the same house.
Nathan was offered support to refer into Allsorts’ Youth Project, a local LGBTQU+ support service for young people, but Nathan felt that he didn’t need this support as he felt confident in his own identity and wanted to focus on his mental health and relationships. Nathan was offered support sessions with his YMCA advice worker to focus on improving self-care, listening to his own needs and making sure that he responded to those needs.
During the sessions, Nathan was able to explore his anxieties around lockdown, his relationships with his family members and uncertainty around exams. Nathan was also able to consider how he could set boundaries with his parents, to start working towards a relationship where his personal choices were respected. Following on from the sessions, Nathan felt more confident in feeling able to handle the lockdown, maintain a positive state of mind and felt more comfortable communicating with parents.
Find out more about our work to prevent family breakdown and keep more young people at home (where possible). You can help us reach more young people struggling with their mental health by donating today.