Daisy* was brought to Heads Together by her Mum following a suicide attempt. She’d been diagnosed with severe depression by a CAHMS psychiatrist and had seen a CAHMS counsellor with whom she’d been unable to engage.
Daisy self harmed; cutting her arms and legs and sometimes rubbing the skin off the backs of her hands on carpets. She was unable to see a future and could only cope with getting through day by day.
We worked to identify what was helpful when she was at her lowest and explored her sense of self-worth. Due to family issues Daisy had ignored her own emotional needs, but with the help of a Heads Together counsellor, Daisy realised that her needs were as important as those of others.
Daisy began to find alternative coping mechanisms to cutting such as writing in her diary and spending time with her pets. Towards the end of the counselling Daisy felt she was finally free of depression. She had the tools to cope if she experienced depression again and found she was looking towards a positive future.
Heads Together offers free and confidential counselling to 14-24 year olds at venues across East Surrey. Counselling allows young people to talk about their difficulties, with someone who is separate from school and home life, and can help them to find ways to cope and to get back to enjoying life.
During 2014/15 Heads Together received over 500 referrals and met with 385 young people. The need for counselling is greater than ever with 1 in 10 children and young people aged 5-16 suffering from a mental health disorder** – around 3 children per class.
Children and young people come to Heads Together with a diverse range of problems. Many talk about family or relationship difficulties, bullying at school, low self-esteem, anxiety and depression, with a number facing abuse and violence.
YMCA’s Heads Together counsellors are trained to listen with empathy and help young people deal with negative thoughts and feelings, enabling them to make independent choices and find their own voice.
Looking ahead, the team has secured funding from the Department of Education and the Lucy Rayner Foundation to provide more rapid response counselling to young people and run short programmes about personal resilience and emotional wellbeing in secondary schools and other youth settings.
* Name has been changed for confidentiality.
** Source: www.youngminds.org.uk (Oct 2014)