Amy, 20, from North Common, Bristol, suffered with anxiety to the point where she would shake with nerves if she had to leave the house.
Amy's life had become so clouded by negative experiences that she grew deeply depressed. She isolated herself from friends, self-harmed, and even had suicidal thoughts.
She says: "I thought about killing myself and had emotional outbursts which were having a dramatic effect on our family life, causing arguments. I just couldn’t stop crying and I didn’t know why. I saw no way out and felt backed into a corner."
Encouraged by her family, Amy began attending counselling and was later referred to our Fairbridge programme, which helps build young people’s confidence and motivation. Barely daring to trust anyone, Amy found Fairbridge difficult to start with, shaking on arrival and begging her mother not to leave.
One-to-one sessions helped and as she learned to trust her Fairbridge support worker, she accepted support when joining group activities, which led her to form friendships and grow in confidence. Soon Amy was a Fairbridge regular. She developed coping mechanisms to manage her anxiety, travelled independently, and began socialising outside of the programme. Then, during a filmed cookery session, Amy got up and shared her story openly on camera. It signified a marked change in her confidence, and within a matter of weeks, she was sharing her journey on Fairbridge with a 30-strong audience.
Amy went on to take part in Make Your Mark - a four-week employability programme run in partnership with Marks & Spencer. She proved herself to be such a competent professional that she was offered full-time employment.
Today Amy agrees that she is a very different person to the one she once was. Bubbly and chatty, she gets a buzz from challenging herself and is excited by her future.