When Brookemorgan’s mum became depressed, the relationship between them began to break down.
“I also became depressed. I think I was mimicking her behaviour. We’ve always been really close so I tend to emulate her. I realised she was sad, but at the time I wasn’t educated about mental health to understand that she was ill. I wasn’t aware that I was mimicking her; it was a subconscious thing. I didn’t want to go to school; I didn’t want to speak to anyone; I stopped eating. All I wanted to do was sleep,” she remembers.
Following a big argument, Brookemorgan went to live with her Nan, but it wasn’t long before that relationship also broke down: “I really needed professional help. My Nan kicked me out and I went back to my mum’s, but we weren’t ready. We were still repairing things, so it was a bit too quick for me to move back. I ended up having to move out after a week or so."
After that, Brookemorgan sofa-surfed with friends for a few months and stayed with her boyfriend for a while. “I had just started sixth form. My teacher worked out that something was wrong and I spoke to her," she says. "Because I was living so far away from college, my attendance was low and I was beginning to get letters. It felt like I was on a carousel and not able to get off. It just became crippling."
Sofa-surfing also began to take its toll on Brookemorgan. “You have no rights to speak out about anything because you’re not meant to be there. You feel like you have to shut up and be grateful. When you think about it though it’s paralysing, because you realise you have nowhere to go,” she laments.
In the end, Brookemorgan sought help from the local authority, who instructed her to ask a parent or carer to write and sign a letter saying she was no longer able to stay with them. “It was one of the most gut-wrenching things you could ask a parent to do. But through that, I ended up at Centrepoint.”
The chaos and instability that Brookemorgan experienced during that time had an impact on how she felt about everything in her life. “The whole experience made me give up on education. I was angry, I was rude. I didn’t want to interact with anyone. I just wanted to learn and nobody to talk to me. I left school with one B in English,” she says.
Despite that, Brookemorgan went to sixth form and did three BTECs, which she not only managed to pass, but showed her to be one of the top achievers in her classes. “I was engaged with the subjects I was studying and towards the end, I had the stability of Centrepoint.
“Centrepoint helped me with the cost of travel to college which meant my attendance got much better," she continues. "They also paid for my laptop and my camera for my course at college. because I was studying media, music and drama. That really helped me."
Support from Centrepoint
The support from Centrepoint brought Brookemorgan to her keyworkers, Bev and Sade: "They were so supportive; they would bend over backwards for you," she says. "It always felt like they would go the extra mile. When I first met Sade, I went downstairs and said, ‘Hi, my name is Brookemorgan and I’m going to be a director. I sing, so anything media or music-related please pass it on to me'. They were quite shocked and impressed by that,” she remembers. “I was taught from a young age how to utilise opportunities. The support is always there at Centrepoint, but you have to make the most of it.”
“Later, I got a job at a film company with Centrepoint’s help – they gave me a reference. The film company wanted to mentor someone and it was awesome. When that finished, I was actively looking for work every day and getting nowhere which was really depressing. I messaged Sade and asked her if there was any work and she told me there was a receptionist job in Centrepoint head office, so I went for it and got it. It was a lovely chance for me to give back to a charity that had helped me SO MUCH! They supported me with finishing university, so I now have a diploma.
“Centrepoint enabled me to reach my potential. My potential has always been there because I’ve had a great upbringing. With my mum, life just ripped us apart and it wasn't anybody's fault, but now we’ve bounced back stronger than before. Centrepoint gave me the legs I needed to stand independently. People underestimate the value of space. My relationship with my mum now is beautiful and has developed even more. Having physical space created that mental space.”
Looking to the future
Brookemorgan onstage at The Roundhouse
So what does the future have in store for Brookemorgan? Well let's just say, you haven't heard the last of her yet: “By the end of this year, I want to have my EP written and recorded because I sing and write songs. I want to be performing by then. I also want to have my charity, She Oath, launched. Its aim is to instill confidence in young women - authentic confidence, internal confidence. You need to be able to laugh at yourself, cry with yourself and pick yourself right back up again and continue to chase the dream, whatever that looks like for you.”
You can listen to Brookemorgan's song here.