Ashley’s story

Teenage girl with scarfWhen Ashley (16) felt in need of extra support with her low moods and lack of self-belief, she turned to an already familiar face in Children 1st.

Ashley had been diagnosed with depression four years earlier, but didn’t like being labelled in this way. She was getting support from CAMHS but didn’t feel this gave her the time and space to open up about what had happened to her and how she was feeling.

Ashley asked for one to one sessions with a Children 1st worker to help with her feelings. Ashley’s Mum was ill and while they had a really close and trusting relationship, seeing her Mum in a lot of pain was causing Ashley a lot of worry. She found it hard to open up to her Dad and argued a lot with her older brother which made Ashley feel even lower. Ashley couldn’t sleep at night and didn’t always have the energy or feel strong enough to face school or enjoy time with friends. While Ashley had ideas about her future, her low moods and negative thoughts meant she felt her ambition to go to university was an impossible dream.

Because Children 1st already felt like a friendly and comfortable space, Ashley found it easier to talk to our family support worker Jane than to her CAMHS worker. Together Ashley and Jane agreed to work on two things – her relationships and her moods. Jane helped Ashley explore how she saw her family and to think about how she wanted to improve her family relationships. Jane also helped Ashley to identify what could be causing her low moods and negative thoughts and consider different ways to address them.

Knowing that Jane wouldn’t put pressure on Ashley if she couldn’t make a session, or that there weren’t a set number of sessions before her ‘case would be closed’ meant Ashley valued the support from Children 1st even more and made an extra effort to be there.

Through working with Jane, Ashley’s moods have improved. Ashley feels better able to express her feelings, with both her family and her friends, and this makes her feel more secure and stronger. She feels really positive about her relationships, particularly with her brother. They spend more time together and enjoy hanging out and listening to music. Above all Ashley feels confident and happy about her future. She is eager to start college in August and now believes that her next step could be university.


*To protect the confidentiality of the young person, identifying information has been changed.