When mum, Jess, and her son, James, felt there was no way to communicate, let alone get back to being the loving family they once were, Llamau’s Family Mediation team stepped in to help.

Jess' Story

Growing up, James could be very difficult but we coped. He struggled in school, getting involved with some minor issues like smoking and falling in with a bad crowd. Things became a lot more serious when he turned 16. He was doing harder drugs and committing crimes. I think he may have been targeted and possibly groomed to do the things he was doing.

Home life became so hard. I feel very emotional about that time when I think back to it. James made some accusations against us, which led to Social Services being involved and he moved out of the family home. It tore our whole family apart. I couldn’t see a way back from the accusations he’d made against us. How can you get the trust back?

James reached out to Llamau directly for housing support. Talog from Llamau got in touch with us to find out more about what was happening to us as a family. He came to visit us at our house together but I don’t think James was ready to make any changes in his life, so none of us could see a resolution. Talog was fantastic throughout and Katy was, when she took over our support from Talog.

James could be quite volatile back then so we couldn’t have Family Mediation together: Katy would speak with James and myself separately. Katy became a lifeline for me. I’d call her when things were bad because I didn’t know what else to do and she’s always help. James would do the same. He began to look for her help and step away from the people he once called friends.

Over time James started to come home. He’d come over for dinner and stay the night until slowly he moved back in with us. I think he began to appreciate what he had with us at home.

There are times when things are still hard at home and emotionally it’s still a struggle because relationships within the family have broken down but there’s a big difference now. James feels much happier and he’s going to University this September. He still speaks to Katy when he needs help.

I can’t thank Katy and Talog enough for their support. I never knew Llamau existed before but I think if any family needs help they should get in touch. James and I needed someone to speak to, outside of our family, that could see things from a different perspective and not judge and that’s what we got with Llamau.

James' Story 

I used to get in a lot of trouble when I was in school. I hung around with the wrong people, had a bad break up, spent a lot of time partying and taking drugs. I was kicked out of school for not turning up to lessons. When I did turn up the teachers could tell I was high.

Me and my parents were arguing a lot, almost every week there seemed to be a new issue. They’d sometimes ask me to leave the house, even if just for a few hours but in the end I felt like I had to walk away. I moved in with family members, which has caused issues for the whole family but I needed my space.

I felt alone a lot of the time and didn’t speak to my family for about two months. I tried to get away from the gang of people I hung out with but when I tried, they beat me up. There were drugs involved but I managed to get off them in January this year. First time I’ve stuck with not taking them, which I’m proud of.

Talog and Katy and another Llamau Support Worker called Kath, all helped me when I was living away from my home. They kept in touch with me the whole time. I felt bad because I ignored Kath for ages when she was only trying to help me but I wasn’t in a good enough place to accept her help. I know it was disrespectful though and I’m sorry.

Llamau have been amazing. Katy has always been there to talk to and help me get back to my family. She helped link me in with a Drug Advisor and referred me for mental health support. She’s not someone who just sits there and says it’s all ok. She does her best to explain why something may have happened to you and what the next steps could be if we all try. I don’t like opening up to people but I found it easy with Katy. I think it’s because I don’t know her personally and it can be hard to talk to friends and family when you’re worried about being judged.

I started going home to my parents slowly. Sometimes I will admit I’d go home and be on drugs and mum would call Katy for help. Katy would help calm me down as well. Things started to get better overtime and I stopped feeling as depressed as I had felt before. Things with mum and dad have now improved and I’m living at home again.

Living back at home feels good and I’m trusted to have a key now I’m 18. I write music and now I’ve taken drugs out of the equation I have new friends now. I’m also part of a political group and I’m getting ready to go to University. I’ve stopped being the kid I was and started to be a person my parents can someday be proud of. My worse fear is people being right that I’ll always be a drug addict or an alcoholic. I want to prove them all wrong.