“As far as I’m concerned NSPCC’s Face to Face is an amazing service. I first used it to help build my confidence and, through the work I did with the team, I felt able to go back a second time and address some of the problems I’d never been able to talk about before. Now, for the first time, I’m talking openly with my foster mum about my problems, and taking steps to stop my self-harming.
“I first heard about Face to Face through my social worker, as an alternative to counselling. They thought that an 8 session programme might be enough to get me to where I needed to be, and I was willing to give it a try. You get to work however suits you best. You don’t have to do it week after week after week. You can do a couple of weeks and see how you go and, if necessary, pick up again.
“In the first session I did wonder what on earth I was doing there, but by the second week I had a good idea what would be happening and I was more accepting of the help being offered. I realised that I did need help, and importantly that there were people all around me willing to give it. Four weeks in, I felt I’d got what I needed – I felt more open about a lot of my issues, and was ready to try dealing with things myself.
"I realised that I did need help, and importantly that there were people all around me willing to give it."
“That’s the great thing about Face to Face – you decide what you need from it. The nature of the service makes you feel more in control and more independent.
“The second time I asked my foster mum to speak to my social worker and get me referred back to NSPCC. The very day that mum mentioned it to the social worker someone from the NSPCC came back to me. I was delighted it moved so quickly and was so straightforward. I know it mightn’t always be just so quick, but the fact that I wasn’t kept waiting when I had reached out for help meant so much. To be sitting waiting for people to ring when you’re in need of support, and when you’ve been brave enough to speak up, can be awful.
“To be honest, the fact that I had enough confidence to go back was really good progress. The difference it made seemed like a miracle to me.
"I see the change in myself – and so do my friends and my foster mum."
“I talk to people more now, especially my foster mum, about some of the difficulties I’m dealing with. I see the change in myself – and so do my friends and my foster mum. They say I’m happier, more upbeat, and more open.
“Face to Face helped me to discover what’s inside me already – the skills and strengths I didn’t even know I had. It helps put things into perspective.
“It’s a really good service, and I wish more people knew about it, because I think it really makes a difference. Face to Face gives you a real boost and, I think especially for teenagers, it’s a really good way to get help in a way that fits with our needs. I’d say to anyone, don’t let anything get you down – reach out for help.
“I am grateful for all the help that I have received, and in future I would definitely like to see many more children and young adults making use of it. If I needed the service again I wouldn’t hesitate to ask, but – fingers crossed – I hope I won’t have to. To any young person who is hesitating or afraid of asking for support, I would say that everyone needs help sometimes – reach out and take it.”