My name is Hayley Jones, I came to TwentyTwenty as I had not been in education after recently going through a very difficult move from my mum’s house to my dad’s house. During this move I ended up going into hospital as I was struggling emotionally, it was during this time that I started CAHMS appointments, seeing a psychologist weekly.

Before I started at TwentyTwenty, I wasn’t able to communicate verbally with most people and was described as a selective mute. Because of this, when I first started at TwentyTwenty I wasn’t able to respond to staff or students so I felt really isolated.  In the early days I had periods of high anxiety because it was such a new environment with a group of people I didn’t know. I struggled to feel safe and it was hard to even stay the whole day. During this time I felt really suicidal and went through periods of self-harming. Whilst at TwentyTwenty I was diagnosed with Autism, which for a long time was covered by symptoms of high anxiety. This made complete sense to me.

While on the course I was offered pastoral time with Tyler and we would spend at least an hour a week together. Tyler became really great at finding ways to communicate with me without words, such as writing things down in a creative way. Over time I began to feel less anxious and started to make friends with other students. I also discovered that I was a good photographer and loved Media.  With encouragement from the staff I decided to go College to carry on my studies, something that I would never have considered before.

Going to college was another big step for me, with new surroundings and new people to get used to, but with the support of Tyler taking me to visit the college on a weekly basis it helped me feel at ease.

Nearly a year on now, I have almost completed my first year of A levels at College. I am no longer under the care of the mental health team at CAMHS and have discovered that I can face the next stage of my life with a growing confidence in myself.