Lyle Ashun, 27, from Harlesden in London, was painfully shy and bullied at school because of it.

By the age of 11 he was battling to cope with anger, blame issues and deteriorating relationships at home; by 16, he rebelled, and contemplated suicide. A year later, he was attacked with a knife and nearly killed. 

Lyle says: “The area I was in was bad. There were a lot of killings, daily shootings, drugs, stuff like that. Going outside was always a risk – I never knew if I was going to come back alive.  

After I got attacked, my anger got even worse; I didn’t care what I did or who I did stuff to. I tried to commit suicide a couple of times.” 

Lyle's depression started to get worse, which resulted in him dropping out of university. He was diagnosed with psychosis and severe depression; and later was sedated and placed in a mental health hospital for two days, an experience which inflamed his anger and left him feeling confused and completely lost.  

Shortly after he got out, Lyle started making videos. He loved it and was signposted by his local community centre to a Prince’s Trust Get Started with Film course. It changed everything.  

“I’d been on other courses that hadn’t worked, but The Prince’s Trust guaranteed that if I stuck with them I’d see a change within myself. That’s what made me go on it, and them being there for me made me want to carry on. 

“The way The Prince’s Trust support you makes you feel like you’re never alone, and that makes the difference.” 

Making a film requires trust, which at the time was a major issue for Lyle. What surprised him how quickly he overcame it. 

You have to work together when you’re making a film and that course showed me how to do that – how to extend that olive branch and help someone. When you’re helping someone else you’re helping yourself – you need that to feel good.

Lyle’s film was screened at the Prince Charles Cinema in London and later entered into a number of film festivals.  

Spurred on by what he had achieved, Lyle signed up to The Trust’s week-long boating expedition on the Spirit of Fairbridge with seven other young people. Despite not being able to swim, he was determined to give it a go.  

The first day was the hardest – Lyle kept himself to himself and felt his depression creeping in, but staff on board helped him and on the third day he came out of his shell.  

“I realised I wanted to be part of that team. Then they let me sail the boat, and that was incredible. That was the moment that I knew I’d changed. You reach a pinnacle in life where things can go a different way, and that was it. That experience made me understand that I could be more and that I could do more positive things in my life.” 

When Lyle returned from the expedition The Prince's Trust assigned him a mentor, who helped him get work experience at MTV. He worked so well within MTV’s departments his placement was extended. 

Keen to continue in the media field, Lyle then began helping out on Get Started with Film and became involved with another charity that was working on a commission for Sky One called What’s Up TV. He applied, became a researcher and now sees his name roll up in the credits every Saturday night when the programme airs.  

Once the Sky placement was over, Lyle managed to secure another one, but this time at the BBC. Bosses there have since extended his placement because of his exceptional attitude and talent.  

Today, Lyle’s life is a world away from what it used to be. And he’s loving every second.  

Before I always felt like I didn’t have a voice, like I was in the background and didn’t exist. The Prince’s Trust made me feel like I did have a voice; like I wasn’t a ghost. It’s shaped me as a person and was a spearhead to me realising my talents.

"Right now I am working in TV researching for new TV shows and pitching ideas to BBC1 and BBC2 – it’s amazing.”  

It’s taken a lot of courage for Lyle to get to where he is today; courage to accept his past and courage to challenge his situation and change it for the better. He still has the occasional down days, but the difference now is that he knows how to cope with them.  

You have one life and if you are struggling with it, there are people out there who can help you. The Prince’s Trust really helped me. They can help you to realise your goals – and maybe one day you’ll be in a position to help someone too.