“My anxiety first started when my grandad died during my GCSEs, which impacted my schoolwork. The anxiety then started building up again during the pandemic. I had to finish college at home during lockdown, and I struggled without one-to-one teaching.

“After leaving college, I got rejected from hundreds of jobs. I was looking for retail work, and I felt frustrated that I was putting a lot of time and effort in for people to just look at my CV and never reply to me. It felt like I wasn’t wanted anywhere and that I wasn’t going to have a future.”

Jack finally found a job in a local warehouse, however he had to leave after two days due to the workplace’s negative environment causing him panic attacks. After struggling to find work for a year, he signed up for Team with The Prince’s Trust in Spring 2021, a 12-week personal development course delivered by South Yorkshire Fire and Police Service.

“Team really helped me gain confidence and make new friends. All the different activities we did helped me build up my strengths, as well as identifying my weaknesses.

The things I learnt on this course have truly made me into the person that I am right now. I learnt that I shouldn’t be afraid to try new things like facing my fears by doing different types of activities. I’m also more confident in what I do, I’m more self-motivated and now I tell myself every morning that it’s a brand new day and I can do this.

After graduating, Jack changed his plans from working in retail when he realised he could try working at a day care centre for adults with learning disabilities where he completed his community project with The Prince’s Trust. Jack thrived in this role and is now undertaking an apprenticeship with the centre, where he will gain a Level 2 qualification in Health and Social Care.

“It’s been really awesome. Everyone I work with is friendly and we work hard to make sure everyone’s happy and that visitors to the centre get a warm family welcome. I feel I’m giving a lot back to my community.

“Before starting the job, my anxiety kept building up, but working here I feel calm. I don’t ever want to leave - I’m learning and progressing on my apprenticeship.

I used to always be the person at the back of the line that never stepped forward, but now I feel like my shadow has gone, and I’ve stepped into the light. If you’re struggling with your mental health, don’t give up – go for opportunities you want that will help you stand up on your own two feet.