Here’s the latest in our #OTRBlog series, where one of our Mental Health Practitioners gives a behind-the-scenes look at life at OTR. If you’ve not already read the previous posts, catch up here: An Introduction / Hectic Christmas / Outreach Day / We love sleep! / Creativity / Why be a mental health practitioner?
It’s been over a year since I’ve had to say my goodbyes and finish up working with any young people. That’s quite a long time to remember how difficult it can be.
Over the past week, I have had ending sessions with four young people who I’ve been working with for seven months. That is a fairly decent amount of relationship forming, right there. Weekly sessions, texts, phone calls, intensive support, family work, meetings at school, onward referrals, risk assessing, safety planning, caring, more caring, talking, listening, tea (lots of tea), walking, playing, dogs, drawing, breathing, tears, laughter.
WOW. That’s not even half of it.
At the end it’s hard to know where to start, but reflection is a key part of the process.
When we first meet our young people, they are often enduring intense distress and are attempting to communicate their needs in some form or another, like young birds calling out for comfort and soothing. Throughout our time together we experiment, explore and build strength, until the day they express an ability to leave the nest and fly solo.
It’s not all rosy when we finish up, and they head out into the world alone.
Effective mental health services don’t work like that and nor does life.
We are often a stepping stone to the next thing, and the best bit is that we can show young people what positive relationships and transitions can feel like; empowering, heart-warming and energising, to name a few. If we kept them cooped up in the nest we would deny them the room to spread their wings and fly.
Don’t let me kid you into thinking it’s us who does all the hard work, of course we try, BUT (big but!!!) as I have told the young people I’ve seen this past week, change is down to their efforts and attitude.
So, whilst it is sad that I won’t see many of these young people again, we also openly hope that they don’t need our services again!