Mental wellbeing for young people

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Getting in with a bad crowd...?

Gavin McKenna photo Gavin McKenna · 05 Aug, 2020

Since lockdown I’ve been hanging out with mates more, with no school and stuff. Thing is my Mum doesn’t like them. she’s started saying I’m in with a bad crowd, getting into stuff I shouldn’t. And its true I’ve done some stuff maybe I wouldn’t have normally but there’s nothing else to do and it is a laugh. And I don’t see anyone else, where I live you have to get on with them who are around you, there’s not a big choice. So what else am I supposed to do?

Jay, 14

Hey Jay,

Firstly, thank you for your question. I respect your honesty and ability to identify that your mum was right, that isn’t easy when you're 14 lol.

So, when I was 14 that’s when my life changed dramatically, I started hanging around with the older guys and did things I shouldn’t – Smoking weed, carrying knives and fighting, within a year I was facing 7 years in jail (at 15)! The friends you have can determine the rest of your life man, I know at 14 and with lockdown it feel like you have no choice and friends are important but you need to take a minute and think outside the box. Don’t think about mum moaning, or me preaching, think about how these friends will or will not benefit you! Think about what your goal is within the next year, then 2 and ask yourself, do these friends seem like they will help me achieve the goal, or at least the foundation to build my goals on?

For me, 14 smoking weed, fighting, carrying weapons, robbing people, getting arrested – that was leading me to prison and trust me that was not my goal in life! My goal was to be successful, have a family and children, I realised my friends were not going to help me achieve this so I needed to be selfish and do what was right for me.

Football was good for me because I had friends with similar goals to mine, wanting to be successful and they stayed out of trouble which made it easier for me to keep out of trouble. It's not easy man, but its possible – keep seeking help and asking the right questions. Happy to help if we can.

Stay blessed



I just don't fit in ...


Rejection: How do you put your all into something without feeling lost if you don’t get it?