When Children 1st first met 14-year-old Lucy, she was struggling to come to terms with the serious domestic abuse of her mum by an ex-partner.
Lucy wasn't just a witness - sometimes she had tried to intervene to protect her mother. This experience had left her in turmoil. By bottling up what she was really thinking and feeling, she had turned to behaviour such as self-harming as a way of coping.
Lucy started one-to-one weekly support meetings with a Children 1st worker. Together, they worked towards her being happier and more in control of her feelings and actions. The Children 1st worker met Lucy weekly for 10 months, and was inspired by her enthusiasm and determination to achieve her goals.
The charity helped Lucy find ways to lift her mood, such as practice in positive thinking and believing in herself. They introduced her to techniques to help her calm and de-stress. With their support she began to better understand how her life experiences were influencing her thoughts, emotions and actions. Lucy found she could express her feelings through art materials, writing, and in talk – using phrases such as "I feel angry because…".
Recovery is easier when there's an adult to trust and talk to, and that's the relationship Lucy was able to establish with her Children 1st worker. So they talked a lot about Lucy's self-image, music and lyrics, friendships, and the complicated world of relationships.
Each meeting started with an opportunity for Lucy to check on how she was doing on her journey to recovery. And through this, Children 1st could also see real progress – including that Lucy needed support from Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services less often. But most revealing was that Lucy began to plan for her future with enthusiasm and hope, with interests in travel, and possibly a career as a hair stylist.
"My life is back on track," Lucy said. "I'm liking who I am."