For many reasons, life can be difficult for young people living in residential homes and it’s important to try and recognise these difficulties so as to better understand ways in which we can offer care and support. If we take time to consider the experiences they are facing, we can look to offer positive solutions and work towards improving the lives of young people living in residential homes across the country.
We’ve identified below some of the key factors that may effect young people when arriving in a new home:
1. Separation: They may be separated from their families, friends and communities, which can be difficult and stressful. This separation can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness.
2. Lack of control and autonomy: They may have limited control over their daily lives and may be expected to carry out or agree to certain conditions which they aren’t used to. This lack of control and autonomy can be frustrating and may lead to feelings of powerlessness.
3. Struggles with mental health: Many young people in residential homes may have mental health concerns, including anxiety, depression, and trauma-related disorders (Perry, 2004). These mental health concerns can be exacerbated by the challenges and stresses of living in a residential setting and may require additional support and intervention.
4. Difficulty with transitions: They may face multiple transitions, including transitions between homes and placements, transitions back to their families or communities, and transitions to independence (Perry, 2004). These transitions can be difficult and may lead to feelings of uncertainty and instability.
5. Lack of privacy and personal space: Young people in residential homes may have limited privacy and personal space, which can be challenging and may impact their sense of autonomy and independence.
Overall, young people in residential homes may face a range of challenges and difficulties, including separation from family and community, lack of control and autonomy, struggles with mental health, difficulty with transitions, and lack of privacy and personal space. These challenges can be difficult to navigate and may require additional support and intervention.
Looking for solutions
Every young person will experience these challenges in their own way and what will help and support one young person may not always be the right way for another. Our team at Bmindful Psychology work closely with families and care teams to identify the challenges being faced by each young person, how that will affect them and the best way to support them.
Whilst a unique approach should be taken for each child, tailored to their needs, the following solutions are thought to serve as a general guide for helping those working within residential homes to support their young people:
· Encourage regular communication and visits with family and friends where appropriate
· Provide opportunities for young people to make choices and have a sense of control over their environment
· Provide guidance on how to best support their mental health by seeking advice from trained clinicians
· Provide resources and support to help with transitions, such as transitioning to adulthood or back to family or community living
· Provide recreational and leisure activities that promote socialisation and self-expression
· Encourage and support the development of life skills
· Provide education and vocational training opportunities
· Encourage and support the young people to be involved in decision making processes that affect them
· Provide mentoring and positive role models
Moving into residential care can be difficult for young people, but with the right support and guidance they can settle in, look to develop positive relationships and focus on exploring ways better themselves. The above are just some examples of things to do, or areas to focus on, which can have a positive impact on a young person’s wellbeing and development while in a residential placement.
How can bMindful help?
We recognise that it may sometimes be the case that homes have attempted to incorporate the above solutions into the young people’s lives, but difficulties continue to arise, and positive change not achieved.
At bMindful Psychology we can look to provide clinical and therapeutic support to the young people, their families and carers to help with these kinds of issues. This, along with consistent trauma informed guidance, can help to support the young person to thrive. If you would like to know more please visit our website www.bMindfulpsychology.co.uk or call our office on 0161 510 0111.