YouCanBe is one of our newest projects and operates in and around Ipswich, Lowestoft and Suffolk Coastal. It works with women from the age of 15 who are facing challenging life circumstances.
My name is Jade. My life has been a whirlwind of adventures and traumas. My mother passed away when I was very young, taking away any memories we shared. After living with my Grandmother I went into foster care.
A few years later, I was adopted. My adoptive family were very traditional and strict and this clashed with my rebellious nature. The strain of being a teenager and enduring emotional abuse took its toll. My adoptive placement broke down when I was 14 and I was sent back into care for the next couple of years. I found this very hard and after a brief return to my adoptive family I began sofa surfing. This was less than ideal, and I was lucky to quickly find a room in supported housing.
I put myself in extremely dangerous environments and friendship groups. Drinking and drugs were common and all this eventually led to me being raped. I couldn’t cope with what had happened to me and I was in serious debt. Friends were constantly chasing me for what I owed them, and the pressure become too much at a time when I was suffering from the trauma of the rape. I wasn’t pregnant but my mental health deteriorated along with my ability to say no or care about myself. My suicidal tendencies grew to the point that I tried to take my own life.
Ormiston Families’ YouCanBe service bought me back to life. Now aged 18, I have a better understanding about sexual health and the importance of being safe, both sexually and physically. I was encouraged to use the contraceptive implant which I agreed to as believing that I was infertile was in fact untrue.
YouCanBe worked with me to improve my self-esteem and thought patterns. I realised that most of the dangerous situations I had found myself in came from the feeling that I wasn’t worth being looked after and feeling safe.
I have received weekly sessions from YouCanBe which covered self-soothing, managing difficult feelings, building up a positive and honest self-opinion and challenging my negative thought patterns. I was taught how to manage money better, budget and use a spending plan.
My self-esteem has now increased, and I feel much more assertive and in control of my life, thanks to YouCanBe. I am more responsible with sexual relationships, money and my own self-care. Ormiston Families’ YouCanBe service has inspired me to be the best I can be, even letting me know the best me is healthy and safe and inspiring in my own right. I am slowly paying off my debts and have started college.
To find out more about YouCanBe, visit: https://www.ormiston.org/what-we-do/our-programmes/the-connect-programme/youcanbe/