Kintsugi Hope Youth Stories

A collection of stories from our Youth Wellbeing Groups

We hope you find these uplifting and inspiring. If you would like to apply to run a youth wellbeing group, then email:

James' Story

We were into week 2 of the Kintsugi Hope programme, running as an after-school club. My assistant (from the secondary school staff team) let me know before the session started that there was a yr 9 student, James, * who had been signed up to take part by his dad but had been extremely anxious about coming to the group. However, the teacher had managed to get him to the room where we were meeting.

When I arrived, he was sitting in the corner of the room with his coat on and his hood up, and said he was too anxious to join the group and wouldn’t be taking his hood down as he never did when he was anxious.

I welcomed and encouraged him and said that, if he felt like he could join us for the group activities, he could do so at his own pace and could keep his hood up. He gradually joined us halfway through the session on anxiety, as he wanted to draw what his anxiety felt like.

As we did the ‘grounding technique’ towards the end, he quietly took his hood down and he didn’t wear his coat or have a hood up at all for the remaining weeks.

As he gained confidence through the weeks, James opened up to the group about his best friend dying the year before, and how he was still the only person he felt he could talk to while sitting at his grave. James said he felt he had no other friends.

He also was living with his dad, who was struggling with his own mental health, and James hadn’t spoken to his mum for quite a while as they had an argument which had ended their relationship.

One of the other group members had been through something similar with a parent, and in the week covering anger, when James shared his feelings of anger towards his mum, the other group member shared their experience and how they had eventually reconciled. The whole group suggested ways James could have an honest, calm conversation with his mum, and the following weekend he took their advice and started rebuilding his relationship with his mum.

At the end of the programme, James was visibly different and more confident (even his tutor had noticed the difference), and it was clear he had formed lasting friendships within the group, which I was able to encourage by enabling them to set up a snapchat group where they could continue to support each other.

As a church, we have a mobile youth bus and James has also connected with that when it has been out at the local skatepark.

A few weeks later, I saw James in town and he said he was still in touch with all his friends from the Kintsugi group and that he wished the programme had gone on longer as he missed it!

*Name changed for confidentiality
Youth highlights poster

Sarah’s Story

Sarah* had been attending one of Kintsugi Hope Youth Wellbeing Groups in one of the local schools we work in. As part of the group, each participant receives one of Kintsugi Hopes “okay” youth participant guides.

One day, Sarah was on the field on her lunch break and started to have a panic attack. She remembered the grounding technique she was taught in the previous week in her youth wellbeing group. Due to the panic attack, she couldn’t concentrate on reading, so she handed her “okay” participant guide to her friend and got them to go through the grounding technique with her right there on the school field. Taking the steps in the booklet successfully calmed Sarahs down and grounded her.

*Name changed due to confidentiality
Youth Quotes poster