Max was having extreme mood swings. His persistent mood drops in the afternoon meant he simply wasn’t engaging in those lessons at school. At home he showed extremes of both sadness – he might wake up crying and not stop for hours – and anger, which often involved violence towards his younger brother.
We matched Max with mentor Kelly, who helped him channel his energy into positive activities like running. Perhaps more significantly, Kelly also helped Max to see a new world of potential by opening his eyes to possible future careers (they interviewed 5 different professionals), and his taste buds to new foods, including sushi and goji berries!
As the mentoring year progressed, Max began to speak more openly about his feelings, thought more deeply about questions, and became more willing to try new things. The focus on food was important, as the mentor observed that hunger could be a trigger for his low-moods.
Trying new things went beyond food. After showing some interest, Max was encouraged to submit a poster for a competition in Islington. Kelly helped Max work on this during mentoring sessions, and to his delight, Max’s phone safety poster came second in the competition and appeared at bus stops around Islington! He was incredibly proud of his achievement.
Outside of the mentoring sessions we worked closely with the school and helped to ensure Max was eating at lunchtimes. Sharing the positive developments from mentoring sessions with the school, with Child and Adolescent Health Services (CAMHS) and Max’s parents was really valuable in reframing people’s understanding of Max’s behaviour. This helped his family to make positive changes at home as well.
So how did things change for Max? By the end of the mentoring year he was eating lunch every day at school and engaging in all afternoon lessons. He no longer had noticeable mood swings, and his mother told us that he was much calmer, happier and less violent at home.