The Cultural Capital Mentoring program is funded by the ESF to allow registered students to access available academic support in the form of various relevant workshops based around current issues college students are/will face and one to one confidential mentoring sessions.
The one to one mentoring between myself and the student commenced on the 13thNovember 2018 and the main objective of the activity is to provide emotional/behavioral support through conversation and creating a SWOT analysis to ensure the student feels supported throughout their college course and remains in college until the end of their course.
Participant's starting situation
My initial meeting with this young person was after she had experienced a severe panic attack in college. When the participant began engaging in one to one mentoring sessions with myself they were suffering with extreme anxiety.
Our first session together was very brief as the student was rather reluctant to open up and express herself. The student revealed they had had low self-esteem and confidence and was finding college difficult as most of the time she was not attending certain classes or being very withdrawn within the lesson due to feeling other students were talking about her.
This particular student had various barriers such as poor mental health (anxiety and depression), minimal parental support/understanding, PTSD, negative thinking, previous self-harm and fear of being alone.
I arranged to meet with this student once a week for up to 1 hour confidential mentoring sessions in which various options on how the student can move forward with her life positively were discussed between herself and I.
In these meetings, we discussed writing and expressing herself through writing in a journal so that the student’s anxiety and worries do not build up inside. A free mindfulness app called breathe 2 relax was recommended for the student to download on her phone and use in times of distress and panic.
In addition to this we discussed the importance of being resilient and not allowing other people’s thoughts and actions to deter her from achieving her goals. Other people’s thoughts and perceptions were very important to this student and she was more concerned with other people than herself.
A Child & Adolescence Mental Health referral was made for this student however the appointment given was for the new year. This waiting time was not practical as the student required professional mental health intervention as soon as possible and because of this CAMHS was contacted again and the appointment brought forward to before end of term.
This was a vital course of action on our part to prevent the student’s mental health deteriorating and an untoward situation occurring over the holidays when no mentoring support would be available to her. The student was extremely pleased about this as she understood the importance of the referral.
Student was also accompanied to lessons by myself and another member of cultural capital to ensure she attended lessons as felt supported in doing so. Student understands that in time she will build the confidence to attend lessons independently and therefore making her feel more empowered.
This student was also reassured that in addition to her scheduled one to one mentoring sessions she could always come down to the office and see myself or another member of staff if I was not available at the time. She utilized this service often when she had anxieties within college and could not bear going to lesson. In such instances, she was supported and encouraged to attend her lesson so she did not miss any work.
The following session after the student downloaded the mindfulness app and started to use it she reported a real difference in herself. I could see a great improvement in her whole demeanor, she was a lot more talkative and spoke of positive things in her life.
She reported confronting situations which she previously found uncomfortable which triggered her anxiety leading to panic attacks. She reported that she visited a place known common to her which triggers her anxiety and used the app and positive thinking to overcome this fear.
Student is now beginning to engage more in lessons and communicate with her peers as opposed to excluding herself from social situations which in turn makes her feels alone and out of place.
Student is building a positive relationship with her father where she is more open and honest with him about how she’s feeling. She is also beginning to form positive friendships and is now able to walk into the canteen by herself which is something she has not done since starting college last term.
This student hopes to continue demonstrating this new positive mindset and attend psychiatric appointments in addition to counselling where she can be better supported with her mental health issues.
Student plans to continue to use the app appropriately and writes in her diary in times of distress although student reports she has not written in the diary for a while as there has been nothing negative to report.
Student’s end goal is to complete her health and social care course with a good grade so she can go on to enroll in higher education or employment.