Matthew's Story. A journey of mental health at school and the help from Anna Freud

We have been donating to the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families’ Schools Outreach Service since 2017.  Please see an account of a real life case study below.  It's stories like this that helps you realise there are real people needing real help, and wonderful charities like Anna Freud are there for them.  

In October 2017, when Matthew* joined the family group at school, he was struggling with his behaviour. Despite being highly intelligent, funny, and thoughtful, he found it hard to listen to his parents and teachers. He was impulsive and called out in lessons. In the playground things were also difficult. Matthew would often get into trouble and be given 'red cards', which made him feel even worse and meant that he missed out on the things he enjoyed.

When Matthew and his parents joined the family group he began working hard at school and home to change things for the better. Matthew liked the positive support of the group of other parents and children with similar experiences. He liked the games and activities, but he also really enjoyed talking with the other families. Both he and his parents were surprised about how open everyone was with each other.

His involvement in the family group also meant that Matthew's teacher became more closely involved as part of the review process and daily communication through the group's target system. She grew to understand where Matthew was coming from and to give him more encouragement instead of the negative consequences he had been receiving previously. Matthew began to be entrusted with more responsibilities in school, including teaching other children, and his confidence grew and grew.

Matthew's parents have observed these changes slowly and found the experience of attending the family group has been useful for them too; reminding them of the importance of being positive and giving them the chance to talk with other parents made them feel hopeful that things would get better for Matthew.

After attending the group for five months, Matthew now feels that he understands himself, and the positive choices that he can make, much better. He is much happier to talk about things when he feels angry or upset, rather than bursting into tears or becoming more and more frustrated. He is doing brilliantly in school and has surrounded himself with a group of friends who help make the classroom.

Be Kind, always.  Smith Webb.  

Find out more about the Schools Outreach Service here:

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