Prisha came to Love4Life when she was 14, referred by another programme in a community centre in Leicester.
Prisha had dropped out of school and had been home schooled for the last two years. Incessant bullying had made her depressed and anxious, and unable to bring herself to go to school. However, she was worried about her GCSE’s and whether she could achieve all she wanted for herself without going back into school. She saw school as a toxic environment that had made her suicidal in the past.
To complement her home schooling, Prisha was going to her local community centre for mentoring, working on building her confidence and self -esteem which she had found helpful; however the workers there were local (and some even family friends) so it was hard for her to be truly open and honest. She still felt she had lost her drive and ambition and become complacent with life. She started to come to the centre less often for support, choosing instead to stay home on her own in her small flat, often oversleeping or missing appointments. She realised that the bullying she had experienced was the cause of this, as she felt anxious in groups of young people, and she was becoming isolated from the world. It was clear that her motivation was fading fast, despite the steps taken with the community centre, so they reached out to Love4Life.
When we began our sessions it became clear this was the right help for her. As she opened up we were unable to unpick that it wasn’t that she didn’t want to return to school, but that she didn’t feel able to, due to what had happened in the past and her anxiety and mistrust of schools. She has a passion for STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) and can talk forever about anything remotely scientific! With dreams of going into a STEM career, Prisha needed to accept that she held the keys to her future and that her dreams were possible; all she needed to do was believe in herself enough to take the first step. We spent time talking with Prisha about her dreams - what would they look like, how it would feel to be a scientist, would she travel while she studied? Anything to encourage that excitement for education that is in her. We channelled this excitement and passion into visualising what success would look like, and what it would enable her to do, such working in a lab, or getting a new place to live for her family who are very close to her heart. Working back from the big picture made her goals more achievable for her, and she realised that small actions taken now could have a big influence on her future, even if she couldn’t see the impact right away.
After we built our relationship, we spent time discussing the bullying and how she felt about it now. Using tools, such as card games about relationships, really helped as we could talk through all sorts of situations, and what she would do. She feels more confident now about spotting unhealthy friendships. We worked out which coping mechanisms Prisha could use if she found herself in a tough situation again.
She is now in a small alterative school setting completing her Maths and English GCSEs in her ideal environment, with small classes and more focus on her wellbeing and future, beyond her grades. Prisha reached the end of our sessions feeling much more empowered to take a step back towards education after being away for so long, saying she is “hell bent on going back” which sounds very determined to us!
As she explained to me during one of our sessions “It’s like science, scientists identify a problem and work until they find a solution, even if you need a few trials first”.
She simply needed to find the best solution for her!