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Case Studies

“Listen – especially to your young people. You will be amazed at what you can learn.”
Glen O’Hare

Taking a person-centred approach to help a young person manage their mental health and grow into a thriving future:

RC was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, depression and anxiety, and was a care leaver who had been in lots of different placements. They had previously stayed in mental health facilities as a child.

When she moved into Coops Foyer her mental health was poor and she was engaging in a lot of self-harm, often presenting at A&E with numerous injuries. This quickly culminated in RC attempting suicide, and over a four-day period, similar incidents led to both the police and ambulance services being called to her as an emergency. After a short stay in hospital, RC returned to Coops Foyer where referrals were made to the appropriate agencies to help support her in the community.

While working with RC it became apparent that she was very unhappy at the apparent lack of control in her life. She felt that since being a child and having social care involvement, she had always been told what to do and could not make choices for herself. I encouraged to take the lead on her own support plans using the online Outcome Star system, empowering her to set her own goals and allowing her to see improvements on reflection.

We established that RC felt isolated and vulnerable and that she was very self-conscious about the labels and preconceptions that people had about her, particularly in relation to her diagnosis. We supported her in finding voluntary placements at a local amateur sports team which was identified as an interest of hers and provided her with a meaningful use of spare time. She was linked with a local young women’s group to socialise with others and developed coping strategies for when she was struggling with her mental health.

RC expressed a great interest in being creative and supplies were purchased as part of her ‘toolbox’ that meant she could explore these activities and her artwork was displayed around the building. She had ambitions to attend university and was encouraged to complete her studies with support to ensure she achieved the necessary results. As she was very self-conscious of her self-harm scars, funding was sourced to purchase make-up to cover these which boosted her self-esteem and meant she became a lot more confident.

RC was able to manage her mental health independently and sought staff support when needed rather than relying on the emergency services as she had done previously. This negated the need for continued crisis intervention and involvement with other statutory agencies and services. “RC was successful in obtaining a place at University and left us to study a BA in Early Childhood Studies at the University of Chichester.

“You are there to help, support and guide. It seems like a simple point but one that is sometimes forgotten, especially when you have challenges in your own life.”

Providing opportunities to help a young person overcoming grief to achieve his goals and ambitions

It was having the opportunity to send a young man to Hawaii for a three-month sports coaching summer camp which was a dream that he had written off as never going to happen.

The young man had lived for all things sports related – in particular Rugby League. However, his dream and whole outlook on life started to evaporate shortly before coming to live at Ravenhead due to the very sudden and untimely death of his father. By his own admission, he had given up on his goals, his life and himself. His role model in life was now gone and his mother started to suffer from bouts of deep depression. He had fallen into a quite destructive mindset and had settled into a lifestyle that was becoming very harmful to his health. He was not interested in anyone or anything and his stock response to most suggestions was either “So what?” or “What’s the point?”

To cut a very long story short, we managed to re-engage him by arranging a work placement with Saints Community Foundation, which is part of our local Rugby League club that delivers health promotion and coaching programmes to the young people of our local schools and youth groups. During this time, I spoke to him about the work we were doing as part of our Healthy Conversations programme and discussed the possibility of sending him to a sports summer camp. I can honestly say that was a pivotal moment in his development and I saw him start to shine from that day forward.

He eventually realised his dream of going abroad to undertake his Sports Coaching course and vowed he would not let that be an end to his dreams. During his final months at Ravenhead, he worked tirelessly to gain as much experience and as many qualifications as possible. This, in turn, led to him being accepted onto a Sports Science degree course at University of Central Lancashire which he successfully completed. He is now not only the coach of a local rugby youth team where he lives but also works as a personal trainer and is in the process of going back to university to train as a teacher.

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