31 January, 2018

“I’m so much happier than I was a year ago”. Ellen’s Story

17 year old Ellen* began working with the Youth Support Team (YST) in May 2017, after Ellen had difficulties working with social care, housing and mental health services previously.

From a young age Ellen had witnessed alcoholism and violence within her family, and in turn began to have issues with substance misuse, poor mental health and unhealthy relationships.

Ellen began offending and was eventually given a court order following a violent incident.

As part of the court order Ellen was referred to Jon, a YST programme officer. When Jon first met Ellen she had left home and was sofa surfing, she was using drugs and didn’t want to engage with the service. Through Jon’s persistence and Ellen’s honesty they started to build a good working relationship, enabling Jon to create a support plan that focussed on healthy relationships and domestic abuse. With Jon’s support Ellen is now working with the substance misuse team as well as a mental health practitioner, seconded to the YST.

Ellen says she’s:

so much happier than I was a year ago.”

She feels she has her drug misuse under control and recognises she has some way to go but is happy to be working with the substance misuse worker.

She also reports learning a lot about relationships, especially what a healthy one looks and feels like and now knows the signs of an unhealthy relationship, Ellen is currently in a relationship that she feels is healthy and supportive.

Moving back into education and and taking part in a multi skills course at Gloucestershire College, which provides opportunities to learn a range of hands on skills like bricklaying, painting and decorating as well as literacy and numeracy, has been another positive step for Ellen. These skills are helping her for the future as she aims for a career in construction and is hoping to apply for her Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card. Ellen has also completed an English level 1 and 2 exam and has applied to do a painting and decorating level 2 course in September.

Ellen knows she has come a long way from where she was last year, saying:

I feel more confident in facing and dealing with life’s obstacles.”

Jon comments about Ellen’s progress:

I’m really pleased with how Ellen seems much more able to manage conflicts and setbacks.”


*Name changed for privacy.