We are: Two therapists and a residential home manager, between us, a life’s work of experience understanding the problem’s girls face in society today. Collectively, we came together to provide the types of therapy we knew would help girls in care and developed monthly therapy sessions suitable for their needs.
Everyone on board this project would like to shout loudly and show you how much it means to them. However, most importantly, we take our safeguarding responsibilities seriously therefore only Mandy, Dee and TeenTalkTherapy will be detailed.
- A disproportionate number of teenagers in care are targeted for sexual exploitation. ‘So far, 95% of those girls we have worked with have experienced, or at risk of sexual exploitation’.
- Many, for their own safety are taken from their family to live in another part of the country, ‘85% of our clients are out of county’ ‘imagine how you would feel, aged 12, having to leave all you have known’
- Waiting lists for the right therapy can be up to one year. ‘This is of no use to our service users; some might be moved again after 6mths’ ‘45% of girls we have seen have had brief or short-term therapy’
- Those in the care system have to repeat their experience time and time again, to many different ‘professionals’. For that girl, each repetition is a trauma re-enacted, they learn repetition does not process or resolve so they become dissociate from it, adding to their distress. ‘staff share the girl’s history with us, so they don’t have to’. ‘We help them to unpack it, in their own time and as they are able’.
- Adolescent mental health services are overwhelmed, their services or criteria can exclude all but those in crisis ‘Managers have said 'I have to fight tooth and nail just to get a girl an assessment, not even treatment.’
Dee remembers a 35-year-old woman she worked with recall the moment she had to leave her family; tears streamed down her face. ‘I was 11, no-one ever asked how I felt, everything changed, it felt like my life had ended’.
Our solution: It’s innovative, but not rocket science, we go to them in their own residence; no waiting list, the residence provides a room the young people know and feel safe in. They can have their key worker in with them, or not, their choice. They can have as long or as little as they need and which fits in with their day. They talk about themselves, their problems, their dreams. It’s a space where they are listened to, they can work out how they feel, are heard and feel safe.
We provide the same therapist for the same person. We have developed consistent, trusted relationships. This is our vision, our idea and our commitment to them. The staff know and trust us and encourage the girls to come and see us with their problems, we are part of their team.
We call it a therapy space for girls in care
The Impact: Staff from all our residential settings and the girls said it was beneficial to them. So far, we have helped over 28 young girls to explore their problems.
one girl said 'it’s the first time I've been able to explain how I feel'. Another has been able to speak with her family for the first time in over a year. Small steps can have a big effect.
“In the two years since one project launched, the positive change in the girls involved has been amazing. From mood and behaviour to general heath and school attendance, therapy has helped the girls feel happier, calmer, more balanced, less stressed, less reactive and less reliant on painkillers. They sleep better, are less anxious and are able to concentrate better. They all actively look forward to their sessions”.
We need to raise, £3,500 to continue our tried and tested work with young women in care.
100% of funding will cover the expenses associated with running Teen Talk Therapy for another twelve months. This will provide a monthly therapy session for one residential setting for one whole year.
We want long-term reliability and stability for our project. Having spent two years building relationships and trust with a group of vulnerable young people, we’re determined not to let them down by taking away a service they have come to rely on.