Meet Matthew Broadbridge, SWYS Youth Counsellor. Matthew's position is funded solely by your generous donations to Sir David Martin Foundation.
Matthew is a tireless advocate of the rights and wellbeing of young people. Speaking with Matthew is an enlightening experience – he is welcoming and patient, with a wealth of information on how to help young people in crisis. Here, he offers an insight into his world.
"At SWYS we all play a part in changing the direction that each young life is taking. By offering consistent support and respect to the young person and their immediate home environment, we see evidence that most risks will reduce."
When meeting a new person for counselling, Matthew's initial approach is to establish respect for the young person's goals for help.
He will then isolate potential risks or issues, then create whatever supports around the young person that will build stability in their immediate circumstances or relationships. This could mean family counselling with one or both parents.
Matthew will help them build the capacity to name their feelings, develop insight and manage their strong emotions. If self-harm is a risk, Matthew will support them to talk about their distress, instead of acting it out in their body.
"If home is not a safe place I'll help them make a safety plan or find another place to live. This could be as easy as providing them with a bus pass to go to a safe place when there are risks at home.
Sometimes we discuss thought patterns that are associated with criminal behaviour, such as assault and stealing. Sometimes the young person will request help with reducing their substance use or addressing their mental health concerns.
Trust stands out."
Matthew often starts from a position of mistrust and must bridge the gap of isolation from society, to offer hope, stability and skills to enact a more happy future.
SWYS plays an incredibly important role in the community.