Case Study 8
Reason for the referral
Tanya’s mum has a long history of mental health problems exemplified through suicidal thoughts, low mood, negative states of mind and, an inability to maintain lasting relationships. No formal mental health diagnosis has ever been made. It is known that Tanya’s mum experienced trauma and domestic violence in the past through her links to social care for a number of years. Following concerns over mum’s poor mental health, social care decided to refer Tanya to Cheshire Young Carers as mum had been supported by a family support worker from Core Assets in addition to family support provided through CAMHS.
Young Persons background
Tanya is a 14 year old female who lives in the Chester area and attends a local high school. Academically she is doing well and is openly willing to engage with services. She lives with her single mother, who works at a local primary school. Tanya knows her father but does not have a positive view of him.
Issues prior to service engagement
As a result of Tanya creating a fictitious Facebook account stating her age as 18 and that she worked in Matalan, she was followed by an older male. Her mum discovered this Facebook profile and reported it to the police. This led to the involvement of social care who were aware of mum’s emotional/mental health problems and how this impacted on Tanya.
Tanya’s relationship with her mum was difficult, fuelled by mum stating that she did not wish to be in the same room as her daughter. They argued frequently with mum requesting that Tanya did not bring any of her friends home because she didn’t want them to see her when in a negative state of mind. Consequently Tanya rarely socialised outside of the family home as a result of which she displayed signs of poor relationship skills with her peers at school and during a PGL residential trip. Tanya began to worry and became anxious about leaving her mother alone on account of mum’s self-harming and suicidal thoughts. She too admitted that she attempted to self-harm evidenced by some slight scratching which according to CAMHS did not leave visible markings.
Support offered by Cheshire Young Carers
Tanya now has access to fortnightly group activities held in her local area including taxi transport to and from the sessions. Here she is able to mix with other young people her own age from across Chester outside of the usual school setting. Tanya also engages in structured activities like crafts, cooking and art projects which boost her communication, self-esteem and inter-personal skills.
In addition to the regular activities noted, Tanya has also taken part in an evening of Para -Olympics organised by professional coaches from Greenbank Sports College where she met and engaged in various forms of sport with people with a physical disability. She also attended a one-off event at a local attraction called Paradise Island Crazy Golf and, just before Easter Tanya went on a night out ten pin bowling.
Within each session there are a number of volunteers and staff including her Cheshire Young Carers caseworker on hand whom Tanya can approach to talk to about anything she is struggling with.
Tanya has recently raised concerns to her Caseworker about starting to self harm again. Tanya’s caseworker consulted with her mum to discuss various support options for her daughter and as a result, contact was made through ESAT to refer Tanya to Quarriers. The Cheshire Young Carers caseworker felt Quarriers where best placed to provide the additional help and support needed for Tanya which had been highlighted through their one-one meetings at the sessions. It was subsequently discovered that a new referral to social care had been made via a ‘back to work’ officer who had been working with Tanya’s mum. It was reported that mum was having more suicidal thoughts and experiencing low mood. It was mutually agreed that the lead social worker would refer Tanya to Quarriers.
Most recently, Tanya was invited to the Easter residential outward bound week in Aberdovey but she was unable to attend due to being away on holiday. She will now be put forward for the May residential trip.
Tanya’s mum is reassured that her daughter is getting the right level of support to cope with her personal challenges and that she has a safe place to go with Cheshire Young Carers where she can socialise with peers and make new friends. These respite sessions for Tanya also gives mum some personal space of her own and time to relax away without her daughter. There has been an improvement in the relationship between the two as a result.
Also, Tanya can access one-one support from volunteers and staff in and out of Cheshire Young Carers sessions when needed. This gives her confidence knowing that she is not alone, and she feels cared for and understood.
Exposure to new experiences and social groups outside of her usual frame of reference, will encourage Tanya improve her personal development, confidence, self-esteem and explore new ideas and opportunities.
Cheshire Young Carers maintain open lines of communication between school, Tanya, her mum and other services such as social care, to ensure consistency and regularity of help and support for Tanya. This reassures Tanya and her mum that support services are a positive factor in their lives.