Stacey's Story

Stacey is an 18 year old girl parents referred her because they felt they had tried all options and had nowhere else to turn.


Stacey was being seen by CAMHS (Community Adolescent Mental Health Service) and First Steps (a charity that support young people with eating disorders). Stacey had low self-esteem, no confidence, an eating disorder and would self-harm regularly. Stacey also really struggled to get on public transport and would rely on parents to give her lifts when needed.


When Stacey first began her sessions with us she would not really engage in conversation, there wasn’t much eye contact and she just kept repeating “I just don’t know what I want to do. I don’t want to be in education but I don’t know what else I can do”. We quickly understood that Stacey was worrying about her future, but we realised that she also needed help with her other ongoing struggles before she could consider having help with her future decisions in education, training or employment.


We explained to Stacey that we understood her worries about the future, however, we needed to look at the present and concentrate on her well-being first. Each week we talked with her about how her week had been, discussing things she had struggled with, and what things she had been able to achieve. After a few sessions Stacey began to open up more and we built a trusting relationship.


We would end each session talking about Stacey’s achievements within the week to ensure we ended our session positively. I would always praise Stacey on these and also ask her how it made her feel. These achievements would vary from getting on public transport, talking to people or eating a meal. Stacey would start to tell me “I enjoy our sessions, it’s like you actually listen to me and together we work out what is best for me, everyone else just tells me what I should be doing. “They don’t understand it’s not that easy”, “they also ask me things in front of my parents and I don’t want to be honest with them as I don’t want to upset my parents, if they spoke to just me I could be honest, like I am with you”.


As the weeks went by we could see Stacey’s confidence growing. Then one week she announced she was ready to apply for an apprenticeship, explaining “I just want to work and earn some money, I don’t see the point in doing any more education, I do not enjoy it and feel I don’t gain anything from it”. She applied for an apprenticeship at a large food chain and we helped her prepare for the interview as she was very nervous about it.


A couple of weeks later Stacey told us she had been accepted for the apprenticeship. She was nervous, but looking forward to starting. During her apprenticeship Stacey would often talk to us about her struggles whilst there, and each week we would set little tasks together that she felt she would achieve (we never set tasks too high as this would set her up to fail).


Each week Stacey’s confidence grew and new tasks achieved - talking to customers with confidence, talking to other staff members, questioning wages that were wrong, and arranging her transport to and from her workplace. She started eating lunch in front of others, even making her own meals. These were all things Stacey had struggled to find the confidence to do before coming to Love4Life.

Stacey is now managing her eating and anxiety well. She is discharged from the other support she was having and is looking forward to a career in retail.