Matt’s Story: Getting to know young people as they discover themselves

I came to Manchester Mind following time working with young people in Sheffield. In that role we offered mental health support that focused not just on therapeutic intervention, but also on building social connections and support networks for at risk youths. I enjoyed this work but was keen to leave Sheffield after having spent a few years there, and a position at Manchester Mind came up, which suited the direction I wanted to follow.

My role is Community Mental Health Practitioner. I provide low level therapeutic support for thirteen to eighteen year olds, who do not have access to support directly through their school. My work in schools is reactionary to the young person that I am working with. Rather than following a strict counselling framework or guideline, I tailor the sessions to the needs of the individual. A lot of the focus is helping the young person identify and understand what their own mental health concerns are and what they want to get from our time working together. It is about identifying key triggers and difficulties, and offering interventions specific to the young person. The aim is to empower the young people I am working with, giving them the skills and confidence to continue their journey once my time working with them is over.

I also give workshops and training in areas like mental health support and consent workshops. These are either presented to students themselves, or aimed at school staff with the goal to build a whole school approach to mental health support. We are keen to foster a supportive community for young people in Manchester, working alongside other services for young people to build a network of connections.

“We take self-referrals for our services, and want to remove any barriers to accessing help as much as possible. The way I view any community service role, it has to be about bringing a service to people and making it as accessible as possible.”

I came into charity work by chance, through a part-time role I had during university, but I cannot see myself leaving the sector any time soon. I love working for at Manchester Mind. I feel I get opportunities here that I would not in any other work, I am respected by my colleagues and have chance for my own personal development too.

“It is always really nice seeing a young person come into their own during our time working together. Over that journey, the young person’s personality comes out more; I get to know them whilst they get to know themselves.”

Seeing their personal growth during our time working together is really nice. It is also good to hear, through interactions with parents, how their relationship with that child has improved too. By the end of my work alongside a young person, I do not expect to have fixed everything, but I hope to give them the skills and confidence they need to continue their journey without me. If I have done my job well enough, that young person has the support and tools they need without having to rely on me; if they feel quite happy to end our time working together, that tells me I have achieved what I wanted to.

Find out about our services for young people.


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