The Collins' were referred to CYCA from ‘Home Start’ due to mum’s emotional health; she was struggling with anxiety and depression, which impacted on her ability to cope with new challenges and uncertainties.
This was compounded by the premature birth of her youngest child Lewis who has several health problems. Mum also highlighted concerns around her daughter Bethany’s behaviour – she was presenting as being anxious, complaining of headaches and tummy aches and also exhibiting outburst of anger and aggression particularly before bed. Mum expressed that Bethany was very adult like in the way she behaved and was worried she was taking on unnecessary worry. Mum was also feeling guilty that Bethany’s needs had unintentionally been pushed aside due to Lewis’ taking up much of her time and energy. Mum was evidently struggling emotionally and feeling overwhelmed with responsibility.
The identified support package was for mum to follow a stress management programme and for Bethany to have a mentor to explore her feelings and to enjoy some fun activities. Mum fully engaged during family support sessions and was motivated to make positive changes for her family, by setting realistic goals. Mum spoke openly about her experiences as a parent and a wife and over time was able to find positive solutions to the things she wanted to change. Mum identified historic issues within her marriage; as her confidence grew she did her best to address them in a manner which didn’t expose the children to arguing which was causing distress for Bethany.
Mum has made great progress in ensuring she spends quality one-to-one time with Bethany. One particular activity which parent and child enjoy is story time before bed. As Bethany now knows she has her mum’s undivided attention for an hour at night she goes off to sleep relaxed and happy. This has also reduced stress levels for mum as she isn’t battling for hours getting Bethany to bed. As a result Bethany’s aggressive outbursts have minimised and she no longer complains of feeling unwell, and she is taking to mum about her worries. I feel mum has more energy, motivation and confidence - she is accessing a local family centre and has enrolled on a ‘social care’ course, and Lewis is attending nursery. When I started working with mum she was always tired and didn’t leave the house unless she had to due to her anxiety.
The mentoring has enabled Bethany to build a relationship with a person she can trust to open up about her feelings; which has helped increase her confidence and self esteem. Ultimately the support offered to this family has helped strengthen family relationships and promoted a stronger connection between parent and child.
Nia, Families Co-ordinator, Securing Futures project