Jack's story: Homeless at Sixteen
"I had a good childhood. Growing up I lived in a loving home with my parents and sister until I was 13.
But after starting secondary school I was bullied, and my behaviour changed. I started to get into trouble at school.
I was expelled on a number of occasions and after a while this started causing problems at home.
My parents and I would argue over everything I said or did. It got to a point where it was happening on a daily basis and eventually, my parents told me to leave."
"I was 13 years old and it was a cold October night. I had nowhere to go, no friends that I could turn to, so I was out on the streets.
I was scared. I didn't know what to do. So I decided to go and sleep in the park near my home. It was so cold – I tried to sleep but I couldn't.
Daylight came and I went home, but my parents wouldn't let me in. I went to a friend's house where I stayed on the couch for a few nights. I then returned home again and was allowed back in."
Things become too much
"Things were going well until I turned 16 – that's when the fighting started again. I couldn't cope with all the arguments, so I went and stayed at my step sister's house. I lived there for four months, before going back to my parent's house. It didn't last long – our relationship had completely broken down.
I was referred to a Centrepoint hostel in Sunderland, but my first stay there didn't go well. I was so young and in an area I didn't know, living with people I didn't know.
Being in an unfamiliar place had a huge impact on my mental health and I tried to take my own life.
I was admitted to a mental health hospital in Newcastle, but my issues got worse and I was sent to a private, secure hospital for young people. During this time, I got back in touch with my parents and they brought me home to live with them.
I was only home for 24 hours before the thought of being out alone became too much for me. I found myself with a bottle of vodka and four boxes of paracetamol. Two days later, I woke up in hospital again. I tried to discharge myself but the police were called.
I ended up back at my parents' for about 18 months, but our relationship started to break down again. I moved out of home and was placed in a B&B. I was then given a place at Centrepoint."
Moving back to Centrepoint
"My second experience at Centrepoint was great. The staff were really helpful and were always there for me, whatever I needed. They even came to appointments at estate agents with me to help me move on into my own accommodation.
With the help of my key worker, I moved out of Centrepoint and into my own property within two months.
The space away from my parents at that time helped me to rebuild my relationship with them. After living in my own place for a while, our relationship became strong enough that I was able to move back in. Now they have a lot more understanding and awareness about mental health and living together has been going really well.
Right now I have a temporary job that's going great and another role lined up. I really want to work in mental health support and I've put myself forward for an apprenticeship in mental health.
This came through one of the support workers at Centrepoint, who knew that's what I wanted to do. She's still helping me out, even though I don't live at Centrepoint anymore.
I'm really excited as it's what I'd really like to do in the future."
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