Open Access College - Senior years student

“S” was referred when she was a 16 years old with a history of very poor attendance (less than 10%) and engagement. She demonstrated suicidal tendencies, PTSD, severe depression, symptomatic of an eating disorder as well as agoraphobia. There was a strong family history of mental health issues. Her father had tried to hang himself in front of the entire family 5 years ago and a long history of domestic violence.

When “S” started at OAC she was disengaged, had poor attendance, would not talk to or email teachers and just wanted to leave school at 17. She had no concept of a “future story” and no goals or aspirations. She was refusing all psychological services and prescribed medication, and would not get out of the car in the carpark at the G.P’s surgery.

The Student Wellbeing Leader and OAC Psychologist had multiple weekly meetings, emails, phone calls with mother, who felt at a loss despite all the strategies we tried.

The SWL liaised with an external agency (CAMHS) to initiate a referral. Constantly rescuing and enabling the situation to continue was not helpful or healthy. In this case – we stated what needed to happen, and withdrew from the constant cycle of crisis and rescuing. Once the mother realised what had happened, she sought outside expert help.

Crisis and end of support advice from both SWL and Psychologist led to mother eventually feeling able to convince “S” to commence therapy at Headstart.

Last reports from mother:


“I hope your well! It's ………… here, “S's” mum. Just wanted to let you know how things are going. I’m really pleased to say that we have a wonderful therapist named Gemma thanks to you, that “S” ha connected really well with and have seen her four times so far.

“The change I see in her for healing and getting her life back has been nothing short of phenomenal. Still a long road ahead but she's illuminating a light I haven't seen in a long time. So very grateful for all you have done to get this ball rolling for us, thank you! You are a gem.

“Warm regards”

“S” now has an 82% attendance in her OAC Cert 3 course.

Last updated: 04 August 2020