You see Sam's mum Frieda* battled with severe mental illness, as a result of domestic violence. The abuse started on her honeymoon, and never stopped. After Sam was born, his dad began spending more and more time out of the house, sometimes for weeks at a time. Until one day he left, and never came back. Crippled with anxiety and terrified that her husband would reappear, Freida would spend days unable to get out of bed because of depression.
So for as long as he could remember, Sam was left to fend for himself. He took to roaming the streets, searching for scraps of food to bring home so he and his mum wouldn't starve.
Sam tried desperately to hide how bad things were at home. He’d figured out that if people realised how sick his mum was, he would lose her. So aside from foraging for food, he would have to do the washing, put out the bins each week and make sure that their little unit was clean and tidy.
On one of the rare days Sam had actually gone to school, he came home to find his mum lying unconscious in her bedroom. And no matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t wake her up. With his heart pounding in terror, Sam grabbed his mum’s phone and dialled 000, making a call that led to them being separated – tearing his whole world apart.
Sam's mum had accidentally overdosed on her medication. It was only when she woke up in hospital that she realised she couldn’t take care of Sam properly and made the painful decision to surrender him into foster care.
Sam’s worst fear has come true. He’s ‘lost’ his mum – and he thinks it’s all his fault.
While Sam has been placed in a caring, supportive foster home, and despite everyone’s
best efforts, he desperately wants things to go back to the way they were.
“Sam is in a safe foster home, but he feels like he’s been kidnapped,” says Linda, Sam’s Barnardos case worker. “He isn’t coping at all, he’s frantic about his mum and feels crushed with guilt. Whenever his foster parents try to take him to school he just shuts down and cries. If we don’t act now, we could end up with a very angry, self-loathing young teenager on our hands.”
That's why we need your help! Sam urgently needs specialist counselling to help him understand that none of this is his fault. He also needs extra support to help him catch up at school - because he has missed so much staying home to take care of his mum.
Now Sam, struggling with guilt and trauma, has fallen so far behind his peers at school. If he doesn't get the urgent support he needs now, he may never have the chance to reach his potential. Donate now!