It is good to share the realities of our work when possible. Below is an update from our CEO Andrez Harriott
I am currently working with a young person who has had multiple friends fatally harmed this year. Understandably, he is suffering and without medicalising his feelings, it would be obvious to see how this is affecting him emotionally, psychologically and behaviorally.
His parents asked if we could help with suggestions. We agreed that he should be referred to a counselling service. Unfortunately, due to a lack of cultural competency and professionalism, the approach of the service infuriated the young person and he became aggressive towards his parents and refused to speak with anyone again.
I agreed to conduct a home visit, we spoke and he politely asked to be left to handle this alone. As a practitioner, I understood but told him that I will not allow him to isolate, we loved him, I am expecting you to finish the final year and achieve greatness, I do not want you to find comfort in other distressed young people and justify risk taking behaviour or disengagement with school and finally, you have direct access to me when you are ready. The following day a knife went missing from the family kitchen, thankfully they intercepted.
Yesterday, he refused to go to school and stayed in bed with his parents unable to get him up. We had been commissioned to deliver work within a school to a group of children at risk of permanent exclusion. With consent from his parents and the management of the school that I was attending, I took him along to a session. As we travelled I explained to him that this is my work and I need you to be respectful and greet people correctly. He came, and below is the message sent from his mother this morning.
Morning, hope you’re good. Just to let you know he’s up and out to school, no anger, no rudeness and he even came to hug me before he went.
I was thinking about things… It might not seem like much, although I think you’ll get it, but the change I’ve noticed after a couple hours of being around you and in your session yesterday is possibly the biggest and quickest turnaround in his behaviour and attitude since the start of September. He even tidied his room, again maybe not a big deal to anyone else but it’s a big deal to me.
He spoke with me, in the front room and not locked up in his room, he kept telling me he loves me, he just seems like he has something to keep him going in the right direction now. So, when I keep saying thank you it’s because I really am grateful. We don’t have much support because the people around us, although they may want to help, they don’t know how to. So, thank you again.
As always will keep you updated.
Our next step will be to introduce him to a trusted clinical psychologist, which we will support the family to pay for privately.
This is one account of one child and one family. Just think of the thousands of children nationally who have lost friends this year or know of a young person fatally harmed and cannot access support due to thresholds and resources.
Let’s just chew on that for a second.