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Young Merton Together

One young person’s journey into education and employment

Merton’s My Futures Team tells Young Merton Together about ‘ Sandra’ who had been NEET for six months, and was supported by the team to tackle the anxiety and low mood which prevented her from engaging in further education. She has now been in college since September and has a part time job.

Eighteen year old ‘Sandra’ was supported by one of our key workers because she had been NEET for   6 months. She described that she had ‘always struggled at school’ and her parents described her as having low mood and anxiety. She had low self-esteem and motivation, and little willingness to engage with day to day activities; attempts to improve her mood had been met with resistance. At her first session the key worker explained to Sandra that the support on offer would be tailored to her expressed needs, interests and abilities, and that sessions could be held at home. This enabled her to open up and to set a plan to meet the keyworker once a week.

At the next session Sandra discussed triggers for her low mood, and completed a genogram of key relationships and the impact of these in her life. The key worker was able to identify that Sandra’s low mood played a key role in her resistance to discuss and explore employment opportunities. They agreed to go on a ‘dog-walk’ together as Sandra had said that this activity lifts her mood.

During the walk Sandra was able to share her knowledge about the local area enabling her to experience an equal rather than hierarchal relationship with the key worker. This was a turning point for Sandra. She was able to discuss her feelings about being a young women, having money, future relationships, physical aesthetics and how these are all important aspects of an individual’s self-image and identity. At the same time the key work was able to highlight to Sandra the positive impact that education, training, skills and employment can have on her self-identity.

The following sessions saw a change in Sandra’s outlook on her own future, and she was then open to completing job and college applications. By the spring of 2019 Sandra was planning for further education and was clear that she wanted to do a course that she would enjoy. By the September Sandra had enrolled at college, and agreed to retake her maths and English GCSE’s. Sandra has now successfully completed three months of college and has a part time job.

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The next edition - Spring 2020 - will be published in March 2020.