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Phil first came to the youth service due to chronic mental health issues, primarily anxiety and depression. At 13 this meant he never left his house and had constant thoughts of suicide. The worker visited him at home as he wouldn’t leave the house. The ongoing little steps over 10 years included getting him to sit on his doorstep to talk, getting him to walk to the gate to the worker’s car, getting him to meet at the youth service, then at a cafe and so on. He gradually developed the experience and evidence that he could do these things even though he was feeling extremely anxious. Over the years he gained his driver’s licence but only after two years of sitting in a car in the driveway and talking, driving on the beach with the worker, and eventually going for lessons. He learned that his feelings of anxiety did not mean he couldn’t do this.
After about 8 years of working with the youth service and with many little steps both forward and back Phil enrolled in a two year course at a training institute. He graduated near the top of his class even though he never spoke to anyone over the time there due to his anxiety. He now has a job. His employer was made aware of his anxiety and adjusted the work arrangements for him. The employer thinks he is an excellent worker. He still has thoughts of suicide although not as often and now has the evidence that he can achieve and do well in spite of these thoughts. He now also helps one of his siblings by driving them when needed.
Resilience Research Centre NZ - Youth Research Site 2013