2 May 2019

“The YMCA won’t fix all your problems, but it will save your life”.

Meet Oliver, he is 28 years old and has lived at YMCA Exeter for several years. 

Oliver moved to Devon at the age of 7 with his mum, brother and grandparents, following his parents’ separation and his father moving overseas.

Oliver soon began boarding school and despite being head boy and doing well in his GCSEs he was bullied and moved back home to begin studying at Exeter College. However, not long after this transition Oliver experienced mood swings, lethargy and he attempted suicide. He was then admitted to the RD&E mental health unit and was discharged after only one week with a promise of ongoing support never materialising.

By the following Spring Oliver had been diagnosed with Bi-Polar disorder and depression and was learning various coping strategies for his mental health, but he describes how the amount of pain he felt was greater than the pleasure he was experiencing in life.

In a moment of desperation, Oliver left home, but as it was feared he would attempt another suicide the police intervened and sectioned him under the mental health act. However, as there was no room for him in the mental health unit he had to spend the night in a police cell before being moved back to the RD&E where he then stayed for 4 months.

From the mental health ward Oliver came to live at YMCA Exeter where much of his care was transferred to us and we introduced him to a counsellor, who has been supporting Oliver now for 18 months. Describing his experiences, Oliver says how the hospital put a bandage on my wound, the counsellor has been healing it.

Since first moving in to our residential centre on St David’s Hill, Oliver now lives in our stage 2 accommodation at Newcourt and is gradually beginning to think about what’s next in terms of education and long-term renting.

He says: “The YMCA won’t fix all your problems, but it will save your life. I’ve gone from wanting to step in front of a train to looking forward to my future. I’m not at the end of my journey but with support from the YMCA and my counsellor at least I know I have a destination.”

To find out about applying for supported accommodation at YMCA Exeter, head to our applications page.