Young People

Owain’s Story

How improving my family’s understanding of my gender identity strengthened my relationship with my mum and dad

What’s going on with me

My name is Owain. I’m transgender and have been struggling because I can’t transition until I’ve been seen by a gender identity service but there is currently a waiting list of a year.

I spend most of my time on social media and have a lot of online friends.

I wanted help so that my mum and I can communicate better and for my mum to accept my gender identity. My mum still refers to me by my previous name.

My state of mind

I was feeling anxious, depressed, and had thoughts about self-harm. I sometimes feel suicidal when there is a breakdown in friendships.

My mum worries about my future. She thinks I don’t know what I want to do in life, and that I have no goal or motivation to want to do anything.

I want to be able to manage my emotional wellbeing so I can live a happy life.

Looking after my well-being

I was referred to the Family Help service after an incident involving the police when I felt like I wanted to harm myself whilst out with friends. My mum agreed to make an appointment with a GP while we waited for an appointment with Emotional Wellbeing & Mental Health.

As one of the main reasons for my struggles was my parents not accepting me as transgender. Family Help took steps to make this better.

  • My mum was made aware of Trans Awareness Training and the team helped her to support me by meeting with us to discuss what we needed from each other.
  • I also wanted to speak to my dad about my gender identity, so my mum and I were given support to write a letter to my dad explaining the situation. By writing the letter together, it helped my relationship with my mum.
  • I was referred to Umbrella. They supported me and my family with my gender identity. My college supported me, and now I receive weekly counselling sessions and meet with a well-being officer.
  • Family Help also supported me to make a plan of what to do when I feel suicidal. I keep this on my phone so I can see it whenever I need it, wherever I am

Through receiving help, I now feel better able to manage my emotions and feelings of self-harm, and my relationship with my family has improved.

As I am about to turn 18, I have had an adult’s mental health assessment. This makes sure I will continue to get the help I need when I become an adult.