aliI started self harming after the death of my best friend when I was 17 years old. I had no support and I turned to self harm as a way of relieving my emotional pain. Alongside self-harm I discovered that alcohol numbed and took away the hurt, the confusion and the self-hate. But the alcohol also took my self-harm to terrifying levels. What started off as a scratch on my arm at school, culminated in multiple hospital visits, being sectioned many times and taking near death overdoses.

Thirty years on I finally received the help I needed and now my life is rich and fulfilling. By getting the right support and working hard on my recovery I haven’t self-harmed, taken drugs or drink in over two years. I now work as a support worker for Westward Housing, I am a peer supporter with RISE and help other people in their recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. In addition to this, I also help to deliver training to nurses, doctors and psychiatrists in order to raise awareness and understanding around addiction and mental health.

I am truly passionate about the work we do in schools. If I have helped, inspired, or made just one young person think about seeking help for themselves or a friend then it’s been worth every moment. I am very proud to be part of the Five Lives Team.