Crime reduction
Violence reduction

Declan's story

B Roll Still 8

"My early childhood was chaotic. Social services were involved, and I was moved around the country a lot. My mum wasn’t the best, and my dad probably has ADHD like me.

I got my ADHD diagnosis aged eight, and aged nine I was sent to the other end of the country to live with my dad.

“My ADHD was improperly managed, so when I felt injustice, or looked over, or made to do something I didn’t want to do, I got angry and lashed out. I was completely unable to regulate my emotions.

"I didn’t get any explanations about what my ADHD meant, or given any help or advice on how to manage or cope with my behaviours. I was just left to carry on with life, and I felt isolated. I didn’t understand myself.

 “It was a lot for a child to go through. I don’t think children bounce back from things, I think they internalise everything, and in hindsight I was very vulnerable.

“As an adult I’ve not been great at managing my ADHD and I’m potentially on the autistic spectrum. I was having difficulty with my personal relationships and difficulty with my emotional regulation.”

It was this inability to regulate his emotions that led to Declan’s arrest for assault, and a visit from Causeway’s Plan B team whilst in the police cell.

Despite the charge against him being dropped, Declan chose to engage with Plan B in the hope of finding support, and someone to talk to.

“Plan B offered me avenues to resolve my issues,” said Declan.

“My life is quite isolated, and I don’t have much social interaction, so Mark from Plan B was someone to talk to. We would go for coffee and chat about everything.

"I believe that if things had been better in my childhood, life would be more stable for me now, but luckily for me, Mark was my good advice fairy! He helped put a stop to my cycles of low moods, low self-esteem, and depression.

"All the bad things had been going on for so long that I had internally drowned in all the negativity, but Mark has a way of feeling familiar, and of making the conversation comfortable enough for me to open up.

"Moving forward wasn’t easy. I needed a lot of reassurance from those around me, but Mark helped me feel safe.

"He was someone to help me make the decisions about my life. He was there to make sure I wasn’t homeless, and encouraged me to get a job. He reinforced the idea that I was capable, and he really built my confidence up around job interviews and general socialising.

"I feel I’m in a much better place now. I’m in a different chapter, and there’s a goal and a light at the end of the tunnel.

"Plan B was instrumental in helping me change my circumstances and my life.”