FG – ESF Case Study

Participant's starting situation

FG joined the program due to behavioral concerns in his previous academic year. FG had very good prior attainment and is a very diligent student with his academic studies with good reports from his previous and current tutors.

Largely FG was referred as a student who was at risk of becoming NEET and would benefit from a mentor keeping an eye on him over the academic year as his behavior had a fluctuating pattern that coincided with exam/assessment stress.

FG had good academic attainment so far in this academic year and his attendance and punctuality were not of concern. There were no mental health concerns at all at this stage of FG’s mentoring program and no reports that he was struggling to cope.

In FG’s first meeting with their mentor they were reluctant to enter the room due to being a little distressed. However, FG actively wanted to seek out their mentor to begin the program as he stated that he felt like he would benefit from academic mentoring regarding upcoming assignments.

Barriers

Barriers that FG faced were a lack of a support network, feelings of isolation, mental health difficulties, self-harm, anger management, cultural changes and a fractured family life and stability. Due to his previous behavioral concerns in the previous year it was noted by College staff that if these behaviors were exacerbated in this year it could lead to the student being expelled.

FG expressed feelings of loneliness and isolation at the beginning of the program surrounding the idea of having friends and talking to friends. FG disclosed that he felt like a burden to the friends that he did have which prevented him from reaching out to them.

  • NC asks YP why he thinks that is and YP states ‘I guess if I messaged them they would message back just to get me off their back.’ NC asked YP what he meant by ‘off their back’ and YP explained ‘so they don’t have to deal with me.’

FG disclosed that the friends he would communicate with were from his previous schools in different countries and not from Kingston College. FG had previously spent eight years living in Namibia with his Father and had moved to London last year with his Mother and Step Father. FG had struggled to integrate socially with his peers during his first year in college and with a fractured family life was lacking a comprehensive support network.

FG had stated that he had previously been referred for counselling when living in Namibia due to his aggression:

  • YP stated that when he lived in Namibia he was ‘unreasonably’ sent for counselling by his school. NC asked YP what he meant by ‘unreasonably’ and YP stated that they sent him for counselling because they felt he was ‘aggressive in dealing with situations.’ YP stated again that he was sent to counselling for ‘aggression.’

FG became increasingly distressed throughout the mentoring sessions and would state that he felt ‘lost’ or that he was scared of ‘loosing himself in his mind.’ FG’s mental health and anger management were intrinsically linked and this was beginning to be disclosed during the program. FG was struggling with violent thoughts and urges and once he had built up trust with his mentor he very clearly asked for help.

  1. YP stated to NC that he has ‘violent urges.’ NC asked what he meant by this and YP stated ‘if someone is encroaching in his space I get a violent urge to hurt them.’ YP also described the urge as ‘a hot rod through his whole body.’ YP stated that these ‘were thoughts as opposed to physical actions’ and ‘he had never followed through on the action.’ When asked by NC ‘what is the urge to do’ the YP said ‘it is a violent urge.’ NC asked YP ‘is it to push someone or a physical action like that to immediately remove them from your space or is it something greater.’ YP answered that his ‘physical demeanour does not have enough strength to push someone’ and stated that if he was physically matched against another person to push another person would put him in danger of retaliation. YP stated that instead his thoughts are about ‘smashing their head open against a wall or something or using a weapon to hurt them.’ NC asked YP how frequently he has these thoughts and the YP stated ‘daily.’ 
  1. YP states that he watches ‘a lot of violent movies and sometimes thinks what it would feel like to be the perpetrator of the violent crime.’ NC asked YP what he meant by this and had he thought about the consequences of such actions. YP stated that ‘worst case scenario I murder someone I would get into trouble and have to spend a long time in prison.
  1. NC asked YP if he had ever inflicted any of these ‘violent urges’ on himself. YP stated that a few years previous to being in college he had taken ‘a pair of scissor and cut off the skin on each of his knuckles on one hand a put them on my teacher’s desk.

Interventions

FG was very clearly suffering from severe mental health difficulties. During the mentoring session in which FG disclosed that he was distressed by the violent urges he was feeling it was clear to his mentor that he needed to access more appropriate support for those specific concerns. At this point in the program FG was referred to the relevant safeguarding team within the college. It was decided that the student needed medical attention and an ambulance was called to the college.

FG was put on academic suspension pending an investigation in which FG’s mentoring records were used as significant evidence in his future decisions. It was decided that as the student came to the college voluntarily asking for help, after building trust with his mentor, that he would receive work from his course during the investigation to prevent him from falling behind with his study.

The investigation found that the student could return to college in January providing that he is engaging with the college services. FG’s mentor suggested that the student should receive a gym membership from the college and encouragement to attend classes such as boxercise or kick boxing.

Outcomes

Ambulance was called, and relevant medical support was contacted.

Student has been referred to CAHMS and now IAPT and is awaiting appointment.

Student was engaging with his mentor, so his suspension was an academic suspension where he was provided with work to prevent his from falling behind with his course.

Student has agreed to engage with college services and is returning to college.

Student thanked his mentor and the college services for their support when he asked for help.

Future plans

The student is returning to college with the intention of finishing his course and would like to go on to university.

Student knows that he is academically capable of securing a place in university but is committed to improving his mental health.

Have an enquiry?

Contact us at Cultural Capital by pressing the button below.

Our students are now well positioned to continue their journey beyond their time here at Leytonstone School and we are particularly grateful for the fact that you stepped in at such short notice.

Raza Ali
Acting Head Teacher, Leytonstone School

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