Stories from young people the Amber project
The Amber Project is our Cardiff-based project for young people with experience of self-harm. We hear from some of the young people about their experiences of The Amber Project and how they’re getting on.
I’ve been part of the Amber ‘family’ for about a year and a half now. The first time I came, I was really nervous, but everyone was so welcoming. I soon felt comfortable. The young people here are the best, I’ve made friends for life.
Our drama workshops are lively, we do lots of different activities. The role plays we do have really helped me to put myself in other people’s shoes and see things from a different perspective. The staff members are amazing. You can see that it’s much more than just a job for them. They’ve helped me to have a much more positive outlook. I have dreams for my future now: I want to go to university and I’d like to travel and see the world. I know that whenever I go to The Amber Project, I’ll always leave with a smile on my face.
Ryan C. (20)
I’ve been coming to The Amber Project for seven months. I’ve taken part in the different workshops they run, but my favourite is the drama group. I love the improvisations we do, and I really enjoy acting. By pretending to be a different character, I can forget about my own worries for a while.
I’ve still got things going on inside my head, but I’m working through them. I’m not self-harming as much as I used to. I’ve suffered with mental health issues my entire life, but they’ve never been taken seriously. At school, there’s no information available on mental health. I think that mental health is not understood or dealt with enough in society.
It’s great to come to The Amber Project and see everybody each week. It gives me something to look forward to. We all look out for each other and, over time, I’ve seen positive changes in the other young people who come as well. The Amber Project feels like home to me.
I’ve been self-harming since I was 12. I have 10 hours of therapy a week, but Amber is by far the best self-harm support group I go to. The drama workshops are a lot of fun, we play games and have a good laugh together. We also explore serious issues through role-playing and acting. It’s a really good mix.
You can talk to the staff here about anything, they’re so supportive. You can tell they genuinely care about us. With the other young people, we’re not just in a group together – we’re friends. They’re going through the same things as I am, so I can be myself around them.
It’s good to get out and go to The Amber Project, rather than just lying in bed feeling depressed. It gives me something to look forward to. I know I can come here feeling rubbish and by the end of it I’ll be OK. The Amber Project is the one thing that always makes me feel better.
Ryan E. (22)
I started self-harming for various reasons. My mum had cancer and because I was looking after her, I was falling behind on my schoolwork. I started feeling very low, I wasn’t eating or sleeping properly and felt like I just didn’t have a life anymore.
I’ve been coming to The Amber Project for the last seven months and I haven’t self-harmed once since I started. Before, I was so shy, I found it difficult to speak to people, and I was scared of being judged.
At the drama workshop we do a lot of activities that help us in real life situations, like handshaking and eye contact games. I’ve noticed how much this has helped me outside of the project. Now, I chat to strangers on the bus, joke with them, and enjoy interacting with others.
The Amber Project has also helped me to cope with my problems. Before, I would sit alone in my bedroom drinking alcohol. Now, I’ll go outside for a walk and enjoy the fresh air and nature or watch a comedy to lift my spirits.
I acted in the pantomime last Christmas. After that, I feel I can do anything. Since I was a child I’ve wanted to become an actor and I’m going to try and make that happen. I have auditions coming up next month. I have the confidence now to just go for it!
The project has made me realise what I’m capable of doing if I set my mind to something. It’s no exaggeration to say that The Amber Project has changed my life.
You can support our life-changing work through The Amber Project and help more young people like Fahmida, Channing, Ryan C. and Ryan E. by donating online.
Don’t miss out on hearing stories like these – sign up for free and receive our next Catalyst magazine posted straight through your door.
You can also read more stories of transformation from other areas of our work here.