06 March 2024

Empowering our young people: Finding purpose and giving back

A smiling woman in a denim jacket and glasses stands in front of a textured stone wall.
When I look back at how I am now compared to where I was, I feel I’m the person I always wanted to be. 

Beth, 19, Grantham

Beth's story 

Where did it all start?

“I was exposed to drugs at two years old as a result of parental use. It was hard growing up around drugs. You see it before you learn about it in school. You know something is wrong, but seems to be normalised around you.

“I started smoking at the age of 13. Just nicotine, fags, and then I first tried cannabis at 13 too. I only tried it once because I didn't have the greatest of experiences. And it really put me off, being sick and everything. 

“I tried it again socially with a few friends. I didn’t want to be the odd one out. Then getting into a relationship, he smoked it every day, so I smoked it every day. That's how it started, really. It did affect my mental health quite a bit. There would be days when I'd struggle and my first instinct would be to smoke cannabis to forget about it. I wouldn't deal with it, I'd just be avoiding every inconvenience, every emotion. It could be the smallest thing and I'd want to avoid it and just smoke my days away, which became a bad habit."

Beth, chatting and laughing with her Key Worker, Angela

What support did you seek?

"I realised I needed support when I got out of that unhealthy relationship. It had become an everyday need - not a want any more, but a need. It was this way for 3 and a half years. So the chance to be the best version of myself really pushed me to want to get help.

“I went to three secondary schools. When I started at the third school, that’s where I got the most support. I felt like I'd found my place and was meant to be there. I was honest about my misuse of cannabis and support came from CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) and then from WithYou.

“When I began working with WithYou it went amazing. I was given the perfect person for what I needed and our relationship was super strong. I felt I could be honest about everything. No matter what I said or how I said it, there was no judgement. I felt very, very supported. I'd never found a relationship with anyone like that over the years.

“One day my Key Worker told me about The Prince’s Trust, which I'd never heard of. There were so many opportunities! So I said yes I'm going for it. I worked with The Prince’s Trust for a couple of weeks, sorting out my CV - getting it to a high standard. In the second week, I made two applications - one for a Phlebotomist and the other for a Health Care Assistant. I got the Health Care Assistant job.

What is life like now?

“When I look back at how I am now compared to where I was, I feel I’m the person I always wanted to be. I just want to help people and put that smile on their faces. I would never see myself where I am now. I didn’t see myself through to next week a year ago, and all I can see is the future for me. I’m 19 years old and I’ve got a job in the NHS - where I always wanted to be.”

Beth, what’s your message to others who may be experiencing challenges?

Don't give up. You will get through it. So much support is out there. You have so much more potential than you realise and you’re way stronger than you realise. I think it’s so important to reach out and get help. 

“There’s not enough words to describe how incredible WithYou are. I can sit here and tell you how amazing it is but you wouldn't know unless you’d gone for it. You’ll find the person who will support you for the best interest of you. I wish it was like magic like a wand - it’s a service I would share with everyone in need.”

Beth, leaning against a wall, smiling at the camera

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