Michael, a year 7 student was referred to Place2Be for one-to-one counselling because his
parents and teachers were concerned about his expressions of distress.

Michael would often run out of class and bang his head on walls calling himself "rubbish" and "useless". He talked about killing and harming himself and wanted to "be dead."

Michael worked with his counsellor with the goal of managing his anxiety and distress, and to develop and enhance emotional resilience and manage his frustration. A strong trusting relationship with his counsellor enabled Michael to feel safe and explore his fears and anxieties.

In the Place2Be room he often felt able to talk about his fears that he could not at home because he did not want to disappoint his mother and father. Gradually his confidence grew, and he was able to manage his fears and learned how to "keep calm and carry on".

Michael's targeted counselling has now ended and he is no longer a pupil "at risk". Michael no longer harmed himself and was able to engage with his class tasks and his scores for Maths and English were significantly improve.

Michael felt able to make friends for the first time which further supported his confidence and school engagement.

"We have noticed an increase in reports of self-harm. Difficult as it may be to conceptualise hurting yourself as a coping strategy, young people may turn to self-harm as a way of distracting themselves, to soothe themselves from the internal emotional and cognitive pain they are experiencing.

Providing young people with support to consider other coping strategies to deal with stress, is fundamental to our work."

Dr Fiona Pienaar


Read Dr Fiona Pienaar's blog about self-harm

A Place2Be partnership in your school

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