A man from Wick who has travelled the world helping children with mental health problems wants to change the way the authorities deal with the issue.
Stephen McCullough, 28, of Seaton Road, Wick, advocated a practical approach rather than a medical one, based on his ten years of experience working in care homes and schools.
Since moving back from Hong Kong a few months ago, he has begun starting his own business working with families across the south.
He said his ‘dream’ was to train teachers, police officers and other authorities in his methods and to help as many families as possible.
He said: “The message I want to get out there is that there is support available that doesn’t have to be the typical therapist way, and won’t cost thousands of pounds.
“I’m in quite a unique situation in that I’m not the typical behavioural specialist; my qualification is my experience. Every family I have worked with, I have been able to help.”
Stephen said he specialised in working with children with autistic spectrum disorders and behavioural issues.
He is currently working with a 16-year-old boy in Guildford whose family reached out after getting his help five years ago.
Stephen claimed that before working with him, the teenager, who had autism, ADHD, depression and anxiety issues, had not been to school for four years.
But Stephen said he had not had a violent episode for seven weeks and left the house for the first time in a long while thanks to his help.
A personal issue in his childhood set Stephen on the path of wanting to help children with mental health problems. From 18 to 24, he said he worked in homes across Kent and Sussex for the most vulnerable children, including those who were sexually abused as babies.
Two years ago, he moved to Hong Kong to be a snooker coach – but ended up working at St Gavriel Kindergarten where he helped change perceptions about autism in children, which he said had stigma there, and did several seminars for the Eureka Organization, which helps train English teachers.
Readers can email Stephen at firstname.lastname@example.org.