My name is Casey, and I am being supported by Extern’s Janus project in Limerick.

After my dad died in 2013, my family and I found it hard to cope. My mother struggled to look after my brother and I and we ended up in foster care. I missed my mother, my friends and my home, and as a way to cope, I isolated myself within my foster home and turned to self-harm. I was also bullied in school.

All of these things had an impact on my confidence and self-esteem. I didn’t feel very good about myself. I felt like I deserved a lot of the horrible things that were happening to me.

Then I was introduced to Extern and they were there for me. I have a great relationship with my keyworker, and we talk about any problems I’m having. And when I’m struggling to cope with my feelings, Extern have helped me talk to my foster carers, so they understand what is going on for me.

My confidence has improved now, and I don’t struggle to cope with my feelings as much anymore. I’m able to ask for help when I need it. Being asked to speak about my experiences at the launch of Extern’s Strategy was a big moment for me, and I felt so proud to be able to share with so many people just how they had helped me.

I can’t thank Extern enough for how they have helped transform my life for the better, and helped me to see a brighter future ahead.

Casey (17), Limerick