Case study: Change Direction, North Yorkshire

Scenario: Setting the scene and who did you engage with?

Child A 13 was referred into Change Direction for having low self-confidence and was known for violent and aggressive outbursts in school, at home and in the community. This behaviour presented itself because of the trauma experienced by Child A growing up, they had been removed from Mum’s care and placed into the care of other family members and suffered with a high level of separation anxiety and remained in fight or flight mode daily.

Actions: What did you do?

In the first meeting, Child A said that they would never speak to anyone about things that were serious in their life. The Youth Mentor explored Child A’s interests and hobbies. As a result of this initial work, the Youth Mentor was able to build a positive rapport with Child A and spent some time playing football this developed trust and allowed time to build a relationship.  Over the course of the next few meetings, Child A began speaking to the Youth Mentor about things from their past and would often ask when they were going to see the Youth Mentor next.

Over the next few months the Youth Mentor worked with Child A on anger management by enabling the young person to recognise trigger points and put in place self-regulation tools. The Youth Mentor worked with school to get the young person a time out card so when they had a trigger point, they could leave the classroom before the situation escalated.  The Youth Mentor also worked with carers to help them to understand the effects of the trauma the young person had been through and how the Young Person was feeling when things were triggered for them.

The Youth Mentor supported Child A through many things such as creating a safety plan for when Child A was self-harming and made comments of taking their own life. The Youth Mentor also supported Child A whilst transitioning schools which was a time of high anxiety for this young person.

Success: What was the impact?

Child A has transitioned to a new school and is doing much better there.

Child A no longer self-harms.

Child A can regulate their anger much better than they could in the past.

Some great progress had been made, and family members have told the Youth Mentor that they are grateful for the work that has been done with them. They recognised the value that mentoring gave this young person.

Issues: What barriers and challenges did you face and how did you overcome these?

Unexpected Changes in circumstances:

Child A makes good progress but will often fall back when things in life get more difficult. Recently, a significant member of Child A’s family had passed away. Needless to say, this has had an enormous negative effect on Child A, and this is something the Youth Mentor, school and family are trying to work on collaboratively to give coping strategies and support in regard to the mental wellbeing of Child A.

Lessons Learnt: What would replicate moving forward? What would you do differently based on the learning?

This young person’s story highlights not only the genuine need for mentoring support, but also the nature of the type of young people Change Direction are working with. There are many other young people like Child A that need longer interventions and require an even higher level of support, particularly around their mental wellbeing. Mental health services are already stretched, and with long waiting lists sometime young people can not access the support they need quickly. Change Direction allows young people to get professional support whilst waiting for additional intervention form specialist services.

In this particular case study, the work with the family and school was paramount to success for the young person and this would be replicated moving forward.

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