When Rosie was 11, things were really difficult. Her dad had already been in and out of her life, but now he was gone entirely. Rosie turned to self-harm to cope. She even attempted to take her own life. Finally, she got the support she needed and now she feels like a different person. In fact, she has worked with us on advocacy projects, using her voice to help other young people and make change happen.
Feeling cut off
A few years ago, things became really tough for Rosie. Her dad had always been in and out of her life, but when she was 11, he left for good. It was a big shock. She didn’t understand why he didn’t want to be a part of her life any more.
She blamed herself. She thought she’d done something wrong. Why didn’t he want to be involved? She just wanted him to care, and his sudden absence deeply affected her emotionally. At Christmas, it was even harder because her sister’s dad was there, but Rosie’s wasn’t. It was a reminder of what she was missing out on.
Feeling cut off
Rosie's unhappiness extended to school. She felt angry all the time and she didn’t have any friends to talk to. Not knowing what to do, Rosie tried to run away from home more than once. She even started to take things out on her mum because she was scared that if she told her dad how he made her feel, he’d never contact her again. That made things really stressful at home. Rosie felt alone.
"I used to take it out on my mum because she was the closest person to me, and she was there for me. My mum would get the backlash from it."
I just wanted to cry and scream.
The longer Rosie went
A waiting game
The longer Rosie waited for support, the worse things got. She thought no one would listen if she tried talking about things, and her self-esteem hit rock bottom. To try to cope with the pain, she started self-harming and her mental health spiralled. She even tried to take her own life. Rosie’s mum was really worried about her, and her social worker was too.
"The reason I didn't want to be around people is because I thought they wouldn’t listen if I tried speaking to them."
Things took a plunge when a group of older men tried to befriend Rosie online, asking her for images and encouraging her to meet them. Rosie thought she’d made some new friends who understood her, but they were known offenders, preying on her.
Facts and figures
children in the UK were estimated to be struggling with their mental health overall last year.
3 in 4
parents say their child’s mental health got worse while waiting for support.
Help she needed
That’s when Rosie was referred to Alex, one of our specialist practitioners. This was the turning point. This was when she started to be able to breathe again.
I made it clear that she could talk to me about anything right from the beginning.
"She could rant and rave, and knew that I would listen. That was a big thing for Rosie. Being able to talk everything through with someone outside her family, to have that different perspective, helped her to work through the hurt, anger, and loneliness she was feeling."
"Together, we worked through different booklets about staying safe on the internet and talked about how she could stop self-harming. I also referred her to a therapy service run by The Children’s Society, so she could have additional, tailored support, and gave her different phone numbers she could call if she ever needed help, too. I focused on making sure Rosie got the support that was right for her, offering advice and a listening ear without telling her what to do."
She knew we were here for her, no matter what.
Changing the narrative
It’s still hard for Rosie not having her dad around, but today she’s in a much better place. She’s a lot more confident. It’s been incredible to see. She’s found new hobbies, like baking, that help her stay calm and she’s starting an apprenticeship, too.
Rosie wants to take her experience and use it for good. She'd like to help other young people and do for them what Alex was able to do for her. She wants them to know that they don’t have to change themselves for anyone. She wants to tell them that even when they are facing difficulties in life and when it feels like they can’t keep going, there is always hope.
"Alex was the one that helped me through everything. She let me speak and do what I needed to do. She helped me realise I can make my own choices."
I can tell you, there's a light at the end of the tunnel.
This Christmas, children can't wait.
Your gift could help a child like Rosie be heard this Christmas – giving them the support they need, before they reach breaking point.