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The impact a Youth Zone can have on a young person’s mental health

10th October 2019 by OnSide

This World Mental Health Day, we meet Danny whose life has been transformed since becoming a member of Inspire Youth Zone in Chorley.

Danny*, 16, had a challenging time at school. He had undiagnosed Asperger’s Syndrome and found classrooms a difficult environment to work in. His behaviour was deemed unacceptable and ultimately, he was excluded from school when in year 7. This was a crucial turning point for Danny.

Already contending with issues at home, the lack of structure from school left Danny in a tough position. He was stuck and the circumstances he found himself in took a toll on his mental health. Danny tackled depression which led to long periods of time hauled up in his bedroom. He was becoming more withdrawn from society and it became harder to see how he might find his feet.

Once Danny finally visited his GP for help with his depression, he was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome.

Along with a group of friends, he visited Inspire for the first time in 2018.  This opened his eyes to new possibilities, and he settled into a place where he could pursue things that he enjoyed, meet new friends and reach his full potential. Danny soon became a regular at Inspire and his confidence continued to grow.  He threw himself into new activities and made new friends – working with the Game Changers from OnSide to represent Chorley on a national stage.

From being unable to leave home for months on end, to find a place he could fit it, Inspire has undoubtedly changed Danny’s life. He is now a regular at the Youth Zone and has even secured an Apprenticeship through a programme at Inspire which youth workers encouraged him to he take part in early this year.  By giving Danny the support, help and guidance he needed, Inspire Youth Zone has helped Danny to look towards a very positive future.

*names have been changed.