Everything changed for Calum* when he started getting support from Laura at SAMH:
“I used to like school but out of nowhere everything changed, friendship groups got smaller and I was being bullied. Things were bad at home; it was just one thing on top of another and I had no outlet. I didn’t want to talk about it at home because I thought it would be more stress for my parents, and I couldn’t exactly talk to my friends about because you know lads, we just don’t talk about how we feel.
"My mental health got worse and my mood was at rock bottom every day. It got so bad that I'd be writing notes with mum’s signature to get out of school, that time out felt like was the only chance I got to catch a breath.
"The bullying got worse, and eventually my mum got involved. School did say they would help, but nothing improved and I felt hopeless. June 2018 was the last time I went into school, and in the same period I was so low I tried to take my life. In the August I finally opened up to my parents and I did start to get some help through my GP, but I didn’t want to go back to school so I did my fourth year from home.
"I’d done home-schooling for a year and in June 2019 I first started having contact with college. I’d been out of education for a while so it was terrifying to get back into it. But then I met Laura - without her support I wouldn't have gone to college at all.
"On the lead up to term starting it was great having someone to voice concerns to, and even simple things like Laura sitting in for meetings made me way more comfortable in the environment, I finally had someone I could turn to. I settled in, made new friends and gained so much confidence.
"It was all going well but then lockdown happened. At the same time my dog who I loved was rehomed and because of the restrictions everyone was at home 24/7, it was so tense and every time I spoke to my family, we ended up arguing.
"By summer I’d had a really big dip in my mental health but because of coronavirus all my appointments through Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) were cancelled. It was demoralising and I thought, well, maybe no one cares.
"Thankfully, I got back in touch with Laura. She was the only outlet in a professional sense that I had and it was massively helpful. She told me about funding I could apply for to get a laptop to help me to do my work from home, and reminded of all the avenues I could go down for support.
“Without college and Laura’s help I don't know where I’d be. I had no purpose no direction, no qualifications, doing nothing with my life. Now I feel positive about the future, I’m working towards my HNC, and with Laura’s help I’m applying for university next year.”
*Names have been changed.