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‘I got very, very depressed and wanted to die’

Thursday, 17 August 2017

‘I got very, very depressed and wanted to die’ thumbnailRyan Gerrard is one of many young people who has changed their life for the better after taking part in the Trust’s Fairbridge programme. GB33505 p3

A COURAGEOUS young Ballymena man, who was so low he tried to take his own life, has spoken of how a special Prince's Trust programme brought him back from the brink.
Ryan Gerrard is one of many young people who has changed their life for the better after taking part in the Trust's Fairbridge programme.
Before The Prince's Trust, things had become so bad for Ryan, 24, that he tried to take his own life.
He had faced bullying, intimidation and harassment on a daily basis at school because of his learning disability.
As a result he lost his confidence and social skills after being removed from school in favour of home schooling.
Then, when he became homeless he got caught up in illegal activities and drugs.
Ryan said: "Every day was like a dead end. There was nothing good in my life and nothing to look forward to.
“I got very, very depressed and wanted to die. I was in a very dark place."
A hostel referred Ryan to Fairbridge, which helps enhance the motivation and confidence of young people who are struggling in life.
It took a lot of coaxing and one-to-one support from Fairbridge staff for Ryan to feel able to open up and soon after, he began to start setting targets for himself to work towards.
Over time, Ryan forged positive friendships, began building bridges with his family and discovered a talent and passion for working outdoors.
His confidence, communication and resilience improved and he made significant life changes that saw him move into his own flat and develop solid independent living skills.
He started volunteering at Belfast Activity Centre (BAC) assisting instructors and now has an ever-increasing list of responsibilities at the centre.
Happy to put the past behind him, Ryan looks forward to every day and sees his future as an instructor at BAC.
*Read the full story in this week's Ballymena Guardian.

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