Funding from the Inequalities Microgrants Programme was awarded to Neurodivergent Safe Space, which is a free community mental health support group. They provide support for neurodivergent (ND), autistic, PDA, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) teens and young adults, between the ages of 13-20 years who are experiencing mental health difficulties.
Creating supportive spaces for young people
The group provides a place for members to socialist, take part in activities, talk about their mental health with others who understand, have sessions with a free counsellor and learn how to manage and improve their mental health. The support enables them to provide a space where neurodivergent teens and young adults can relax, be themselves and hang out with each other. There are also activities every week and access to an Xbox, as well as a pool table.
They don’t have to worry about being judged or misunderstood, they’re able to talk about things that are bothering them, or personal things that they would not feel comfortable to speak openly about elsewhere. Their members just really appreciate having this safe space to be themselves and be teenagers, without being judged.
Grace is a lovely, caring, intelligent and compassionate young woman who has really benefitted from joining the group and becoming a part of a new friendship group. She was diagnosed with autism, PDA, ADHD, Tourette’s Syndrome and has, in her recent past, experienced issues with her mental health, suicide ideation, and self-harming impulses. She was self-harming, cutting and ingesting harmful items and substances since she was 13 years of age and has continued until the present day when she joined the group. She also had an eating disorder and has spent times in psychiatric units.
Although Grace does still spend time with school friends this happened infrequently and it has caused her anxiety and low mood. Since joining the group, while she is still struggling with depression, negative self-image, she has not self-harmed, suffered from suicide ideation and ingested harmful items or substances in two and a half months, which is a real step forward.
Instagram: Neurodivergent Safe Space
It’s wonderful to see that in such a short amount of time the benefit that the group is having [upon Grace] and the supportive friendship group they have created, and this is so positive for Grace’s mental health. Neurodivergent teens and young adults with mental health issues often feel isolated and misunderstood, which can lead to suicide ideation or taking their own life.Jo Richardson, Neurodivergent Safe Space