Turning to the streets
Kyle had a good childhood, growing up in a loving home with his parents and sister until the age of 13.
‘After starting secondary school I was bullied and as a result of this my behaviour changed, and I started to get in to trouble at school.
‘I was expelled on a number of occasions and after a while this started to cause problems at home.’
Kyle and his parents were arguing every day. They told him to leave.
‘I was 13 years old and it was a cold October night, I had nowhere to go, no friends that I could go to, so I was out on the streets.
‘I was scared. I did not know what to do or where to go so I decided to go and sleep in the park near to my home. It was so cold. I tried to sleep but I couldn’t.’
Daylight came and Kyle went home, but his parents wouldn’t let him in.
‘I went to a friend’s house. They let me in and I got warm and went to sleep for a couple of hours. I woke up and had a shower and my friend gave me some clothes to wear.’
Kyle stayed with his friends for a few nights before his parents let him go home. Things went well until he turned 16, when the fighting started again.
‘Me and my mam started to argue and fight again and I couldn’t cope with it, so I went and stayed at my step sister’s house.’
Kyle stayed there for four months. After trying to move back again in with his parents it became clear that the 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 16 and being in an unfamiliar place had a huge impact on my mental health.
‘I tried to take my own life with an overdose.’
Kyle was sectioned and treated in hospital before being sent to a secure unit for young people, where he stayed for two months.
‘During this time I was back in touch with my parents and they travelled to see me and came and got me from the hospital to bring 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 yet again found myself with a bottle of vodka and four boxes of paracetamol.’
Kyle woke up in hospital two days later. He tried to discharge himself but the police were called. After another stay in a mental health hospital he went back to his parents’ home.
Their relationship still wasn’t working and Kyle was placed in Bed and Breakfast accommodation before getting a place at Centrepoint.
‘My second experience at Centrepoint was great, the staff were really helpful. They were always there for me whatever I needed. They even came with me to appointments with estate agencies with me, helping me get a bond to move into my own accommodation.’
‘Through the support of my key worker and the paper bond scheme I moved out of the hostel and into my own property within two months.’
Getting some space helped Kyle to rebuild the relationship with his parents.
‘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.’
Kyle wants to work in mental health support.
‘I’ve just been put forward for an apprenticeship in mental health, which came through one of the support workers at Centrepoint. She’s still helping me out, even though I’m not living in Centrepoint anymore.’
‘I’ll be doing assessments with people over the phone and providing some telephone counselling too. I’m really excited about it!’