'Student A'

I Battled Mental Health But My Experience at Killarney Youthreach Changed My Life

Youthreach changed my life…

I left school at the age of 15 after I had been diagnosed with depression. I found it really difficult to get along with my peers and became very solitary. I got work in a local hotel and attended an ECDL course, but I found it increasingly difficult to cope with my depression.

Killarney Youthreach interview

I was growing tired of the hotel and had heard of a program called Youthreach running in the KDYS Killarney that offered an education to early school leavers and a way forward, something I felt I badly needed.

I met the Coordinator John Adams and he interviewed me. It felt more like a chat and I felt very calm and comfortable. It was a non-judgemental setting. Later on that same evening I was told I had a place on the program.

Killarny Youthreach was life-changing

The amount of support I was given over the next two years was astounding. My teachers at Killarney Youthreach were so friendly and helpful despite, I’m sure, how difficult I could be at times. They always helped me as much as they could. Despite my worst moments, the Youthreach team guided me through and helped me excel and provided me with lifeskills so I knew what to do in any circumstance.

They ensured I received counselling from a quality professional next door at SouthWest Counselling, and helped me through numerous bad spells with depression, alcohol misuse and trying to find medication that worked for me. I remained shy through my years with them but my teachers gave me confidence and I slowly came out of my shell.

I was far from an ideal student and pulling a “sicky” on a Monday was not above me, but I saw the course through and did very well. In fact, I did well enough to move on to a course in Co. Cork were I studied Social Studies. I did incredibly well and moved on to study Social Care in third level university.

Killarney Youthreach helped me see my future

It was while in Killarney Youthreach, during my work placement phase, that I found I loved working with people in need and it helped give me purpose in life.

I’m currently living with my partner of two years and studying to be a care assistant. I’ve learnt to manage my depression without medication and instead I take regular exercise, pursue healthy living and I love music. I’ve completely come out of my shell thanks to the Youthreach staff and have many close friends who never seem to believe I would once just sit in a corner with a book rather than speak with anyone. Instead they see a strong, confident person who can be a little too outspoken, many would say, if only to make up for the quiet years!

Killarney Youthreach gave me back my life and I owe the staff every good thing that’s happened since then as it was their time and effort that made it all possible for me.

Student ‘A’,

(Name and some details have been changed in order to protect the identity of the young person.)

Kerry Youthreach Programme
A Partnership Programme between the Kerry Diocesan Youth Service (KDYS) and the Kerry Education and Training Board