Case Study


Jamie went through the ‘Worth It!’ programme at the end of year 9.

My initial observations were that she was punctual, intelligent and creative. She had her own style and own convictions that she lived by. She was involved in clubs and extra-curricular activities and had a small group of friends. She did however battle with negative thoughts, self-harm and a real lack of belief in herself.

In exploring some of these with her we found that some of the routes lay in her struggles with her identity, some challenges at home and a experiences of bullying which she was still experiencing in the present.

Hearing someone else’s story which featured self-harm and adverse family experiences enabled Jamie to share some of her experiences and struggles. She would readily tell me that she finds it hard to talk about her feelings and express emotions and that was apparent in the shrugs of shoulders and ‘I don’t know’ answers. The programme constantly encourages the young people to talk about what is going on inside of them, giving them many examples of the outcome of what happens when we don’t.

Jamie had come to enjoy other peoples drama as an escape from her own unhappy life and learnt to use language and insults as humour. We were able to explore some of this and talk about how we all build and create protection mechanisms to deal with our feelings. We explored why it is important to recognize which ones of these coping mechanisms are healthy, and good for us, and which are unhealthy and end up harming ourselves and others.

We focussed on Jamie’s future, looking towards the opportunities and life ahead of her. I would praise and encourage her throughout our sessions, reminding her of her skills, talents and drive. We talked a lot about the power of thoughts and words and how getting control of them is the key to seeing transformation for the future while also reognising that it’s not easy, and it takes a lot of effort and determination to change brain pathways that have been doing and thinking the same thing for the past 6-7 years.

You can see from Jamie’s Star that she made significant progress in all 7 areas of the star chart.

What we noticed about Jamie by the end of the programme:

  • Jamie has gone on to receive further support from a professional counselor through the school and we are believing that through our support and the ongoing support of a counsellor she will start believing in herself, and continue to build and form healthy coping strategies to handle the ups and downs of life.

  • Jamie’s star shows progress in all areas where she marked herself as a 3 or below. We see this as a success.

  • Jamie is a capable and talented individual who has been knocked down by circumstances and other people. She has created some bad habits to cope with the feelings and pressure she feels. Seeing the progression on her star shows that she is starting to believe in herself and implement some healthier coping strategies.

  • We believe that as she matures and develops the ‘Worth it!’ programme will have equipped her with knowledge, tools and hope to give her to grit and determination to keep going, keep talking and keep believing that her future is not defined by her past.