10 October 2020


Joel writes about mental health struggles. This post is part of a series of thought-pieces loosely inspired by the music of our youth.

Suffering with mental health can often feel like a hole in the head; continuing to grow by manifesting from the tiniest trigger.

What was once a taboo topic – something that was to be kept private and not shared – mental health is now becoming a national conversation that we are being encouraged to have with others. Especially since the COVID-19 pandemic, most of us have had to confront our own mental wellbeing more than ever as a result of the lockdown restrictions. More widespread campaigns are being funded to force us to face the reality of living with mental health, highlighting how it can impact our day-to-day wellbeing and the support that is available.

Each of us experience mental health in a varying degree: some people are able to manage it effectively, whereas others may struggle to complete simple everyday tasks. Thanks to our current understanding of mental health, there are now a variety of ways that can assist with keeping it under control, such as medication and therapy. What is often a fundamental factor in helping somebody that is experiencing mental health issues is by surrounding them with a loving and supportive network. By having a family network around you that understand and sympathise with what you are going through, it can reassure you that everything will be okay.

However, some people may struggle with their mental health in a toxic, unsupportive environment.

When people are trapped in an environment like this, it tends to exacerbate – or perhaps cause – the mental health struggles that they are facing. With no immediate support network surrounding a person, they often feel isolated and that they have nobody to turn to when they most need help.

Take Lizzie for example. She explains that because her mother and father have had no experience of depression or mental health issues, they would often call her lazy and miserable; not being able to understand what she was going through. Due to this lack of awareness, it negatively impacted her mental health even further. She was then advised by her counsellor to move out of her parents’ home and it was here that Lizzie found YMCA Doncaster.

For those that are wanting to escape these kind of situations, we want to provide a safe and supportive space for you. A space where you feel like we are by your side with your best interests at heart. A space where you are free to be yourself without judgement. A space where we will reassure you that what you are going through is okay.

In addition to our Charity Shop and Community Centre, we have our Supported Accommodation building where we are able to house up to thirty young people and give them a place to call home. During their stay here, each of our residents receive weekly one-to-one keywork sessions where we address any issues that they may be facing. For those that are experiencing difficulties with their mental health, we are able to signpost them to the appropriate services and support them throughout this journey; working alongside them to look at effective ways of managing mental health triggers.

When an individual is ready to move on from living with us, we want them to have the necessary skills and knowledge for moving into independent living; such as money management, maintaining a job, and basic house maintenance. Beyond these skills, we want to ensure that they will be able to create a positive space for their mental health to thrive.

We want YMCA Doncaster to be a place that the vulnerable young people of Doncaster can turn to if they need to escape a toxic environment; a place where they can finally put their own wellbeing first. After providing this support for over 160 years, we hope that we can continue doing so for many years to come.

If you’re aged 16 to 30 and want a safe place that you can call home, click here for more information about our Supported Accommodation.