Skip to main content
father son playing sitting at bus stop

That's what I am now - just hopeful That's what I am now - just hopeful

Daniel and Sam's Story

No one wants to believe it will happen to their child. But when Sam's son Daniel took two overdoses in a week, he knew they needed help. His son nearly lost his life to depression, anxiety and substance use. He would do everything to stop it happening again. 

boy in black t-shirt looking at camera

Donate

Across the country, young people like Daniel are not getting the mental health support they need because of complicated referral processes and long waiting lists. 

Your donations mean that our project workers can be there for families before a child reaches crisis point. 

Growing up

Growing up, Daniel had always seemed happy enough. He did well at school. He enjoyed hanging out with friends. But as a teenager, his mental health began to spiral. His dad, Sam, felt powerless as he watched his son become more and more unhappy. 

facts about young mental health

52%

of 17 to 23 year olds have experienced mental health getting worse in the last five years

Since 2019

there has been a 50% increase in likelihood of young people having a mental health problem

daniel's depression growing up

Daniel: 'I didn't even see the future. I didn't see myself wanting to be alive a week from now. I was struggling with depression and feeling low. This went on for years.’

Sam: ‘Over time, I realised that it was his mum’s anti-depressant tablets were missing. He was taking whatever he could get his hands on to numb what he was feeling.’

We’re looking at overdose, suicide, rage, anger, all of that playing out in front of me.

boy head on wall casting long shadow behind him

I was trying to be someone else and it brought me down. I was trying to be someone else and it brought me down.

– Daniel

Overdoses, hospital, rehab

Feeling shattered and broken down, Daniel took two overdoses in the space of a week. He was taken to hospital and then urgently admitted to rehab.  

I hit rock bottom, I needed support

Sam was living every parent’s worst nightmare. He knew he needed to find a way to help his son and fast. But he didn’t realise he needed support too.

daniel finding The Children's Society

two young men walking side my side eyes down smiling

Family support

After searching online, Sam found our family support group. Then when Daniel got home from rehab, they started sessions with Steve, our project worker.

Steve could see how much pain they were both in. He let Daniel get everything off his chest. He saw him for more than the challenges he was facing. 

He built on Daniel’s interest in martial arts and yoga. Using meditation and movement, Steve supported Daniel and Sam to grow together and recover.

three men sitting outside a cafe talking

It just opened my eyes. I felt like I'm going to be alright It just opened my eyes. I felt like I'm going to be alright

benefits of the sessions

Sam:  ‘The program gave us a routine. At a certain time each week, we would be chatting to Steve and doing yoga, learning martial arts and focusing on breathing and mindfulness.’ 

‘Initially I thought, why would it help me? It’s my son that’s got the problem. But then I realised I needed to talk about things too.'

Daniel: ‘I would definitely say Steve was a teacher for me, pointing me in the direction that I needed to go.

He gave me the tools that I can use in my own life He gave me the tools that I can use in my own life

– Daniel

Future possibilities

Today, Daniel is full of energy and enthusiasm. He laughs easily, his smile wide and eyes crinkling at the corners. He looks free. 

And the same goes for Sam. The road hasn’t been easy. Not long ago, he feared for his son’s life. Now he's looking ahead into a future of possibilities.

daniel and sam's future

boy at bus stop smiling at camera

Daniel: ‘Compared to the place I was in then, it feels like a different part of my life’ 

it’s like comparing the moon to the sun

‘Where my mind is at and what I've learnt is all thanks to Steve’s sessions. They have done so much for me. The next thing I want to do is get a cruise ship job. I want to continue to enjoy existence and learn.’ 

'What made it special is that it got the family together'.

boy lying down head in daisies

the light is
stronger than
the dark
the light is stronger than the dark

– Daniel

Fighting for hope

Sam: ‘Hope is keeping the light on no matter how dark it is. Even if you've only got a little bit of light, just keep it on, don't ever extinguish that flame.’  

That's what hope means, keeping the lights on and never giving up.

boy looks sad at the camera

Donate

Across the country, young people like Daniel are not getting the mental health support they need because of complicated referral processes and long waiting lists. 

Your donations mean that our project workers can be there for families before a child reaches crisis point.